“So be careful how you live; be mindful of your steps. Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does. Instead, walk as the wise! Make the most of every living and breathing moment because these are evil times. So understand and be confident in God’s will, and don’t live thoughtlessly.”(Ephesians 5:15-18 The VOICE)
Growing up can feel complicated, so how about a little to-do list to start you off?
Your education is important, so give it everything you’ve got, but it’s also a good idea to have a job while you’re in school so you can help balance the cost of your schooling while also getting life experience. It’s important that you take care of your health, so make sure to get lots of physical exercise. However, mental health is also important, so make sure you are including fun activities and hobbies into your week, a time for meditation and social engagements. Your friends are everything! But, make sure you also keep in touch with your family; you never know how much time you have left with them. If you have your own home, then housekeeping and maintenance, yard work and repairs will need to be done on a regular basis. There’s your spiritual life too of course, so make sure you are heavily involved in your local church while also spending time each day alone in prayer and scripture reading. But remember, this is the best time in your life to travel, so take advantage and book those trips you’ve always dreamed of! However, don’t forget to take time to rest! It’s so important to recharge and not push too hard.
It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
The modern woman is expected to do all this before she gets married and has children, but once this happens, she’s expected to keep up with all of that plus the responsibilities of being a wife and a mom. I won’t even get into the social burdens that are put on a woman then! Even now, fairly early in life, your friends are getting busier and busier. My guess is, when you ask your friends how they are, they frequently reply with, “tired,” “stressed” or “soooo busy!”
I’m not sure if this is better or worse within the church. It’s strange though, that Jesus didn’t model this lifestyle for us at all, and yet we feel it is our obligation, or badge of honor, to be the busiest girl in the group chat.
I once worked with a woman in a volunteer ministry position who was terribly overscheduled. She was married and homeschooled their children, while running a large business. She had her kids involved in some very demanding extracurricular activities and she also served in several capacities at the church, including with me. One day, when we stopped for a time of prayer, I remember her literally rushing into the room, panting from her last engagement. “How can I pray for you?” I asked, as she tried to catch her breath.
“Just pray for what I’m always asking for,” she replied with a chuckle. “That God would give me better time management.”
It was an uncomfortable moment for me. I know my mouth prayed something along those lines, but in my heart, I didn’t like that prayer one bit. In my heart, I wanted to tell her, “Renee, this is not a request God has yet to answer. This is a sin issue.”
The people who don’t find their value in the love of God will seek to find it in their accomplishments.
Paul said, “Don’t run around like idiots as the rest of the world does.” This has been going on since Genesis. And no surprise, it will never actually satisfy anyone. We will constantly think, “If I just do a little more, a little better, a little faster, I’ll feel like a worthy person.” But with the next harvest, the taller tower, the bigger flock, the bloodier battle, history repeats itself.
Make the most of every moment.
Paul goes on to say, “Make the most of every moment.” This can sound, at first, like a charge to be as productive as possible. I’d argue that that’s not quite the correct interpretation. Making the most of every moment is very different from being as busy as possible. Jesus did everything best. And yet, we see Him having long, slow conversations. We see Him slipping away for quiet and solitude. We see Him walking, and taking the long way home. He was not “as productive as possible,” and yet He did the whole will of God.
Only one thing matters.
Instead, I believe Paul meant to do what’s most important while we still have time. School and work can be important and used for God’s glory. So can sports, sororities, pets, and mowing the lawn. However, these can also be huge distractions from the things Jesus taught us are the most important. He told His dear friend Martha, “Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won’t take it away from her” (Luke 10:41).
If you remember the story, that “one thing” was sitting at the feet of Jesus.