The Trouble with Leisure

coffee-cup-and-computer.jpgI have *no idea* where this week went.  My in-laws are arriving tomorrow night from England, we are having a birthday/dedication party *at our house* on Sunday, and I have a to-do list a mile long.  (I should tell you, because you are probably concerned that I am taking the time to blog about this, that today has been a *much* better day, and my to-do list is a lot shorter now, so I am pausing to reflect on what I have learned from all this. )

I knew all week that I would have today – *really* have today because my step-mom has the big girls all day so I can get things done – to clean, shop, do laundry, tie up some loose ends on eBay, and generally scurry around being productive, but I told myself I would *not* leave all of that for today.  Can I tell you, honestly and truly, what I have spent most of my ‘free’ time on this week?  Playing on the internet.   Yes, I’m going to call it playing.  True, some of it has been constructive: I’ve worked some eBay listings and revived my blog.  Some of it was edifying: I’ve been spending some time here and a little here.  Some of it was even for Trevor, who wanted my suggestions for a theme for his new blog.  I could probably build a pretty convincing case for how usefully I spend my time online, but I know (and more importantly, God knows) that *most* of it has been pure leisure. Entertainment.  Playing.

‘Well, what’s wrong with that?’  you might ask.   Sometimes, I convince myself absolutely nothing.  My babies are fed and clothed and happily playing/sleeping/eating lunch, I’ve managed to plan dinner/empty the dishwasher/do a load of laundry… why shouldn’t I have some ‘Me time’?   Well, here’s why. First of all, Ephesians 5 says this: “15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  Hmmm… the best use of my time?  As with so many things in the Christian walk, this is not a question of “Am I allowed to do this?”  but rather a question of, “Is this the best thing for me to be doing right now?  the most pleasing to the Lord?”  I don’t believe it is a sin for me to spend time on the internet, getting to know other moms and developing relationships and learning about how to be a better mom, but there sure are better ways I could spend my time (especially when my home is messy and my two-year-old is holding a book at me and saying very urgently, “Mommy-read-to-ME, read-to-ME, read-to-MEEE”).

Even more than that, this passage struck me this week at my Bible study on Thursday morning (if there were a website for that, I’d be linking to it left and right!)

“13 If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; 14 then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (italics mine)

This heart attitude should be present not only in regard to the sabbath, but every day and in everything we do.  And here’s the clincher:  I *know* it’s true.  When I (occasionally manage to) put down my own desires and focus on the things of the Lord and on the work that he has for me to do, it really does bring about the result God says it will (delighting in Him).  On the days when I wake up and start my day off in prayer and in His word, I continue to seek after the Lord and use my time well throughout the day.  But some a lot of most days I wake up, and the very first thing I want to do is get my computer on.  On those days, my longing for leisure time has become an idol in my heart.  Ugh.  Conviction is just no fun sometimes.

Now of course, the flip side to this is that God has created good things for us to enjoy.  I believe that relationships (yes, even online ones) are a gift from God to be enjoyed and used to His glory, but when anything, *anything*, starts to take His rightful place in my heart, it is time to put that thing back in its place.

Now, back to my to-do list…

The Real Deal


This is a genuine Gucci bag, and this will probably be the closest I ever get to having a genuine Gucci bag.  Look, this is my hand touching a genuine Gucci bag! (Can you see the serial number?!?):

Selling things for my mom’s thrift store on eBay has brought me into contact with some very ‘valuable’ things. Over the past 9 months or so, my home has been decorated (temporarily) with Roseville and Baccarat vases, Northwood carnival glass, a fascinating assortment of random collectable things, and recently, several designer handbags . Along the way, I have also had short visits with things pretending to be designer handbags, and I have had a crash course in learning to spot “the real thing”.   Each time I have a new piece to research and authenticate, I scour the internet for useful tips on spotting counterfeits, and they all point to the same truth:  If you know what the real thing looks like, it’s easy to spot a fake.  (Great!  I’ll just go grab *my* Gucci/Chanel/Louis Vuitton bag and compare!)

If only finding *real* truth were so easy… or is it?  I was struck this morning at my wonderful Ladies’ Bible study by the lengths that God has gone to to authenticate Himself to us in the Bible.  We are told in Deuteronomy 18 that we will know whether a prophet is true or false by whether his words come true or not.  Simple enough.  This morning, our study in the book of Isaiah (so chock full of amazing prophecies about Christ that I won’t even touch in this post!) brought us to chapter 45, which talks about a king named Cyrus.  Isaiah (a prophet of God) says this in verse 1:” Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings,to open doors before him that gates may not be closed”.  History knows about Cyrus.  He was a real king who really did these things, so why the fuss about Isaiah giving him a mention?   It is worth noting here that Isaiah spoke these words about 160 years before Cyrus would do these things.  In fact, Isaiah’s words were written down for all Israel to read before Cyrus was even born.  Amazing!

Time and time again the Bible confounds its secular critics, who bend over backwards changing dates and rewriting history in order to claim that these prophecies were written *after* they came true, but it’s all there for the reading. God proves Himself over and over in the truth of His Word (not to mention in the hearts and lives of those who believe in Him!)  It withstands the closest of scrutiny because it has nothing to hide.

Personally, I don’t really get what all the fuss is about with designer bags, but it sure is nice, as I look through photo after photo of real bags and read about the ‘tells’ of fake ones, to discover that I’ve got the real deal (as I write this, the above bag is selling for $135.52 with a whole day to go!)  What an incredible blessing it is, as I go through life getting to know my Creator and His Word, to find that the more I know about Him, the truer He is.