Most people would agree that the key word for success in work is discipline.
This doesn't just apply to students, though of course it's most obvious there. After all, the good work habits you've developed as a student apply to your job as well, making discipline in work important for a fruitful, productive, and fulfilling life.
But what happens in the lulls in between, after our work's done?
Maybe some of us have grand plans for what we're going to do with our free time----which guilt trip us when we end up spending consecutive hours sprawled before the TV's hypnosis as if we don't have a backbone--
--or hunched in front of the computer's glowing screen like a modern Quasimodo.
Or maybe we happily and unquestioningly drift into the invertebrate/Quasimodo phases, without any guilty feelings to disturb our peace.
Discipline in work is a good thing; oh, of course. But how about in play?
I'm not saying that whenever we sit down to watch TV it has to be a pre-planned, allocated 15.07 minutes. Or that we shouldn't watch TV at all, but devote all our free time to 'useful, beneficial, or edifying' activities along the lines of revising homework, alleviating world hunger, or writing Elgar's Fifth Symphony. That's simply unrealistic for everyone. Obviously, we don't have to drag every piece of truth to an extreme.
Being truly fruitful, I believe, requires a certain attitude/approach to our lives as a whole--rather than just a work formula only applied to the relevant parts of our lives. Just as good health is more than merely taking the right medicine when you're sick--it's how you eat, exercise, live.
A life of true/full fruitfulness doesn't just extend to the parts of our lives we label work. But it's going to be hard to apply this idea practically without falling into the trap of becoming judgmental, legalistic--or unrealistic.
It reflects sadly on our generation and culture, that the first things which popped into your mind were probably TV and the Computer, as they did in mine.
We all know why; the truth is that both have huge potential as destructive time wasters.
They make it ridiculously easy, when we already don't need help.
But before we groan--or roll our eyes--at the idea of throwing away our 40 inch TV or taking a baseball bat to our computer, let's remember that fruitfulness (or un-fruitfulness) isn't limited merely to the activity itself.
(i.e. don't define 'unfruitful' and 'fruitful' simply by activity. That is, the parts of your life spent watching TV aren't necessarily the unfruitful parts of your life. OR that as long as you're reading a book you can feel smug that you're not wasting your life like those couch potatoes watching TV.)
I challenge you to take a look at your lives.
Consider the things you spend the most time on, or do the most often. (note: an activity is not necessarily always both, but can be either)
Consider the things you're most drawn to do, want most to do, whenever you have free time. (if only for the valid reason that you often end up doing them)
And especially consider the things you do which you regret afterwards, or feel ashamed of.
The guilt test is a pretty good sign that the activity, the amount of time you spend on it, or maybe even just when you do it, isn't helpful for you.
(Personally, the guilt test has shown me I need to kick the habit of checking my phone once I get up. After all, Facebook notifications are amusing--but not really life-and-death issues. And, 9 out of 10 times, they usually end up in me aimlessly browsing for amusement--wasting precious morning time, sometimes to the expense of my devotions.
Similarly, while watching a movie probably wouldn't prick you, watching six in a row might--and with good reason, as it usually means you've flung everything, genuinely important things included, to the wind.)
I hope I don't sound like a depressing killjoy. But honestly. The truth is, it's the well-spent leisure which refreshes and delights us the most. You feel good after it as well as during it. You're more ready to return to work--not less. And ultimately, you enjoy and use your life a whole lot more.
As Christians, especially--to whom Christ should be Lord and influence over all aspects of our lives--I believe we need to see our leisure and rest as gifts that should not be abused, gifts to be treasured and used well.
To be used--not carelessly; not joylessly; but purposefully.
And, as with all else, to the glory of God.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
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