By Jennifer Rothschild
Nobody wants to waste ten minutes, much less ten years! But it’s so easy to do if we aren’t careful.
You’re 30, blink and you’re 40, and then suddenly you open your eyes to see that you’re 50! When did that happen?! So, only a few more flutters of the eyelashes and you are a whopping 60 or 70 or 80 years old! *gasp*
Ten years can pass as easily as ten minutes if we aren’t paying attention, so we need to think about what we want the coming decades to look like.
We can ask God to help us live out today and tomorrow well, but we can also determine what will ‘not’ help us live today, tomorrow, and the next ten years well.
There are some attitudes and actions we can avoid over the next ten minutes — over the next ten years — which will protect us from missing out on a meaningful day… a meaningful decade. Your life, my life, all our lives are way too important and valuable to waste them, but if for some odd reason you feel the need to squander your next decade, here are five ways to do it! [big goofy grin]
These are five choices and habits that will certainly help us waste the next ten years:
1. Look back —live in the past.
If you want to endure a long decade of regret, just focus on how things used to be. Look back to how much better you felt, how much thinner you were, and how much better it was when the kids were home or you had that job or you lived in that house. You get the idea.
If you focus on only what was, you will not live in what is. There is no better way to waste a good day than to pine away for long gone days. If you only focus on the past, always looking back, you will miss the growth and blessing and beauty of today. You do this for ten years and by the time the decade comes to a close, you will have glorified the past, missed the present and have no excitement for the future.
2. Look down — be negative.
If you choose to focus on what is wrong, all you will experience is what could be better or should be different. A negative spirit makes every day worse than it has to be and every burden heavier than it really is. Negativity is a time waster because it never adds to your life, joy or vitality. It only depletes you and drains your peace and wellness.
If you want to endure a long decade of regret, just focus on how things used to be.
If you really want to just wander through the next decade with nothing to show for it, be a no-thinking, gloom-gazing, glass-half-empty (with a hole in it) kind of person and you will surely arrive at the ten-year mark with nothing but complaints to show for it!
3. Look in — be consumed with yourself.
Nothing will help you waste the next ten years better than being totally self-absorbed! If everything is all about you all the time, you will find that you will spend lots of time attending to your insatiable need to make yourself happy. And, since being on your mind all the time is so demanding, you will have no time to think about anyone or anything else! The thing about this time-wasting habit is that by the time your next decade is up, you won’t just feel like you wasted time, you will feel completely isolated and victimized because nothing and no one ever satisfied you.
4. Look ahead — worry about the future.
Looking ahead to ponder what we want the future to be like is a good thing. You know, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it! So, looking ahead and setting goals is not a bad thing, but you waste time if you look ahead so much that you don’t live today well. If your look ahead becomes a worried stare into the future unknowns, you will miss out on today because you’re speculating about tomorrow. ‘Will we have enough money?’ ‘What if I get sick?’ ‘What if…’ you get it. If you focus on the ‘what ifs’, then you will completely waste what is right in front of you — today! Then when the calendar turns the page marking ten years, you will find that all that worry has to start all over again. So, if you really want to waste time, worry your time away!
5. Look away — stay distracted.
Just like you can mindlessly spend money — a little here, a little there — until suddenly your wallet is empty and you have no idea where the cash went, you can do the same with your time. You can spend hours and days on little distractions until eventually, years pass and you wonder, ‘Where did the time go?’ ‘What did I do?’
Distractions are helpful to give us mental breaks. Distractions can actually spawn creativity and give us needed rest, but they can also lead us to detours and aimlessness if we aren’t careful. If you really want to live out your next ten years with nothing to show for it, respond to every impulse, never say no to anything anyone ever asks you to do, indulge in distractions and avoid the discipline of setting any goals and striving to meet them. Then, aha! Ten years will pass in the blink of an eye and you may not even notice since you will be so distracted!
Now, none of that sounds good to me! How about you? Who wants to waste time when you can spend time growing, learning, loving and living?! I want God’s truth to guide my next ten years and I know you want the same, so here are five Scriptures to help guide you. If we meditate on these truths, God’s Word can guide us to live out every day — every decade — with purpose and peace:
1. Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NIV)
2. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
3. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)
4. “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:25-33 NIV)
5. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. (Proverbs 4:25-26 NIV)
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Jennifer Rothschild is an author and speaker who has written 13 books, including bestsellers Lessons I Learned in the Dark, Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everythingand her latest release, 66 Ways God Loves You.Jennifer became blind at age fifteen and now uses Biblical principles to helps others live beyond limits.
Purchase 66 Ways God Loves You at http://www.thomasnelson.com/66-ways-god-loves-you