Friday, November 19, 2010

guest post by Abby

So sorry I've been out of commission all week friends. My computer has been giving me fits and today is the first day it seems to be a little better. I've decided to dedicate this post to my daughter Abby who has been filling out college and scholarship aps continuously. On one she was asked to respond to this paragraph: "A lazy person does little to nothing while a busy person does almost everthing, but the similarity is that both refuse to be intentional. Busyness is the moral equivalent of laziness...We say that haste makes waste, but the way we function indicates that we really believe that the hare, and not the tortoise, wins the race. Exhaustion is inevitable when we take on too much or fail to anticapte the unseen demands that come with every new commitment. And our exhaustion plays itself out in countless ways, especially in our key relationships. Busyness, however, is moral laziness because it involves refusing to live with courage and intentionality. Instead, we give our spirit over to the demands of necessity."

Here is her response:

Earlier today I found myself lying on the floor, half-way through my second bag of discount Halloween candy, completely disgusted with myself. There I was munching through my fifteenth fun-size Butterfinger, allowing the countless demands on my time to pile up around me like my discarded candy wrappers. As I began to analyze my position, I found that my laziness was a defense mechanism against my increasingly busy lifestyle.

Lately I have been feeling the pressure of “giving [my] spirit over to the growing demands of necessity.” My days have been filled ceaselessly with the many activities that I committed to at the beginning of my school year, many of which are permanent commitments that I cannot now leave. I confess that much of the pressure I feel to be involved in so many areas comes from the push of colleges who want not only good scholars, but “well-rounded” ones at that. Not content with mere grades, they want/reward students who excel in multiple areas. I did not truly realize the position I was in until my grandmother (age 88) passed away mid-October. When I returned from her funeral I was completely swamped by the make-up work from my four AP courses, online Spanish Three, missing the middle school small group that I normally lead, and the fast approach of our cross country conference meet. I was exhausted. Everything that I was involved in suffered as a result.

Now that cross country is over I find myself sinking to the opposite extreme. Allender has helped me realize that the struggles of busyness and laziness are actually two sides of the same proverbial coin. By doing everything, I was removing the necessity of excelling in anything. By doing nothing I was also (obviously) accomplishing nothing. There is a certain way that time management is a moral issue, and it is magnified when the person who is managing their time incorrectly is a leader within their social circles. Intentionally refusing to be intentional, whether by doing everything or nothing, not only destroys productivity, but also wastes God-given minutes and hours that can never be recaptured.

This week I am going to spend an astonishing amount of time doing nothing, but I am going to be extremely busy while doing it. As I type this essay I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of midnight so that I can go to see the new Harry Potter movie premiere. Is it necessary? No. So why am I wasting my time in this way when there are so many more productive things that I could be doing?

The answer is not difficult to understand, only difficult to admit: I am taking the easy way out of all those things that I really need to do, but do not desire to do. As a leader of two small groups I should be preparing lessons for them. As an academic leader in my class I should be setting the example of a true scholar by studying for my AP Calculus quiz tomorrow. These are not “fun” things, but they are important things. When I put off the important things in favor of the mundane I am committing a moral crime. Unfortunately these reflections are not going to deter my going to the premiere tonight, but they have given me food for thought about my time management skills in the future.

Looking ahead to college, I honestly want to improve my time management so that I can excel in areas that are important to me and to God’s kingdom. I confess that oftentimes I swing back and forth from the two extremes of lying on my back and eating chocolate and juggling every activity that my school and church has to offer instead of finding one or two things that I could do in a truly exceptional way. As I leader I am fast recognizing the importance of doing things thoroughly even if it means doing less. There is only a set amount of hours in each day for anyone to excel in, and being unintentional about those hours is at worst ethically wrong (sinful), and at best wasting time that cannot be reclaimed. Christians are called to lead “purpose driven” lives and I am becoming more and more convinced that disguising a life without purpose by leading as many activities as possible is not God honoring. I intend to continue to be a leader in the college setting, but want to set a better example for people to follow in the area of time management. This may mean that I will not be able to do everything, but that, I am realizing, is not a bad thing. No one has been called to do everything; we are all different parts of the Body and have different functions. Once I discover my primary “function(s),” I will certainly pursue it/them with intentionality and vigor, not wasting a single minute through laziness or busyness, or at least that is my current intention…three hours and 35 minutes until the movie premiere, but who’s counting?

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