Not Wasting Your Life is a popular theme among contemporary pastors these days. John Piper wrote a book about it, which inspired Louie Giglio to preach an entire sermon series about not wasting your life, which inspired Ben Stuart to join the party, talking about family specifically. And of course John Piper’s sassy protégé Matt Chandler has also chimed in about not wasting your cancer.
Lemme just say, I adore all of these pastors for various reasons, and it’s not like I want to wake up some day and realize my entire life has been spent building a career I don’t find fulfilling, or that I have no friends IRL because I spent all my time online getting into arguments with social media randos.
Many times these sermons begin with sobering stats on how much time we spend on doing “insignificant” activities — e.g. “Did you know that over the average human lifespan, you will spend x days watching tv (gasp!), x years commuting to work (groan!), x days removing unwanted body hair (giggles), x hours reading nonsensical Galloblog posts (#worthit) ?” These stats are meant to strike fear into hearts as we realize how little time we actually spend doing important things like rescuing puppies from burning buildings and sharing the gospel to all nations.
Don’t get me wrong – I do think that our life has definite highs and lows, and the highs should be celebrated. There is also nothing wrong with being somewhat conscious of how we delegate our time, and to consider cutting out nonsense that seems to suck us in for hours and hours and serve as escapism (video games, I’m glaring at you!).
BUT I would also like to suggest that freaking out and trying to minimize all the time we spend doing “insignificant” things, and trying to cram in oodles of significance into every moment isn’t only unrealistic… and likely to give us an ulcer trying… it’s also not particularly biblical.
Think about, oh I don’t know…. Jesus! Do we sit around and bemoan his 30 “wasted” years? I mean what was Jesus doing pre-ministry anyway? He was a carpenter, right? What else? I imagine he probably… ate. Did rando chores for his household, whatever that looked like b.c.. Kicked around town with his bros…? Who knows? What we do know, or at least claim as Christians, is that he lived the perfect life, correct? Then I think it’s safe to say that would include his entire life, not just the last 3 years of life.
And not just Jesus — almost every major biblical character had long periods in which they just “did life.” Worked. Survived.
Even if you’re not a Christian, I think there’s something to be said for CHILLING THE POO OUT! I’m going to boldly assert that the meaningfulness of life is less about doing something super impressive and record breaking at every single moment of your life, and more about developing good character and enjoying all the rando gifts of life as you go about the ordinary. Go ahead – belt some 90s pop while you fold your laundry. Watch a little tv and cuddle with yer boo. Pet a dog. Shop for groceries. Drive to work. Take a nap … as *part* of your life. Obvs, you don’t want these things to be the entirety. But they’re not just permissible, I’d say they’re advisable.
I’m not saying to abandon your dreams and goals, or not to work hard, or stop trying to pursue a life of meaning and significance … but I urge you to do all these things as a human being, not a streamlined robot. Trust someone who has tried that and failed miserably – you will fail. Or worse, succeed, and fail at other things that matter more.
Okey dokes, go out and putter around town! ❤
6 thoughts on “Go ahead, waste your life (a little)”
I think part of the problem is that people overestimate what God will accomplish in their life in the short term and underestimate what God can accomplish through them in the long term. I love Piper, but I’ve somewhat questioned his urgency to send PRETTY MUCH EVERY teenager or college student to the mission field. Like when I was a teenager, I thought I was a pretty amazing Christian – but I KNEW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Didn’t spend quality time with Jesus, didn’t really know what I was talking about, didn’t know how to love people, didn’t know anything. What I needed was several more years of maturity and sanctification – and during that time – a lot of normal living. (Not that I’m there yet, ect. ect. )
It’s interesting that many of these pastoral leaders that others and myself love (like Piper or Keller) didn’t enjoy a wide influence for the Gospel until they were older. Keller published his first book in his 50’s. Piper was just a dorky pastor until the Passion conferences – in his 50’s as well. Not to say that everyone should aspire to be influential in the same way – just pointing out that years of following Jesus in small ways, and, in the meantime, really normal living, begin to culminate into something over larger chunks of time. I think this is the norm – and it frees us to enjoy life bit by bit while at the same time giving us a hopeful expectation that in the long run – God can accomplish big things.
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Yesss!! Exacerly! Adults these days have no patience for kids these days.. smh 😄
I hope you are doing great! I love your blog by the way. This post really hit home with me. Especially this part: “I’m going to boldly assert that the meaningfulness of life is less about doing something super impressive and record breaking at every single moment of your life, and more about developing good character and enjoying all the rando gifts of life as you go about the ordinary.” That part was gold. I needed to hear that. Thank you!
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Hey Josh! So good to hear from you! Thanks for reading my nonsense. I’m so happy this encouraged you! May you be extraordinary in the ordinary today 😄
Really enjoyed this one. Made me think of “but many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Seems like it could apply to moments as well as it applies to people. Also, “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” He probably wasn’t being “all-wise” when he was hanging out, being accused of being a winebibber. He was prolly like, “YOLO” (not in those words exactly),