15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time...
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
I did something the other day that some people would consider incredibly smart, while others would consider incredibly dumb: I submitted a withdrawal form to school.
I've actually heard stories of people quitting Ph.D. programs at the All-But-Dissertation (ABD) stage. I used to think that was crazy. But now I understand--sometimes one must take drastic measures in order to retain, at least, a shred of one's sanity. Sometimes you literally have to just walk away from the pressure!
I thought about everything I'd have to do in the next few weeks: sorting, packing, throwing things away, maybe selling some stuff off, cleaning; I also want to brush up on my technical writing skills and read up on test plans, metrics, and matrices, so I don't walk into the new job completely ignorant. All that on top of still working at my current job and doing the overtime that it requires. The thought of doing homework and projects in the midst of all of this sent me into a physical and mental exhaustion crying meltdown.
When I submitted the withdrawal form, I could actually feel the weight coming off my shoulders.
It's not a total loss: I can now legitimately put several Adobe software programs down on my resume, now that I have a better understanding of them, and I did end up with a few cool projects I can put into my portfolio. So I'll just chalk the whole thing up to the equivalent of taking two non-credit courses at a community college.
But it just feels so good to have a little more of my life back, more of my time back.
I love the biblical phrase, "redeeming the time." The word "redeeming" in those instances is exagorazō and means, "...to buy up, to buy up for one's self, for one's use, to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own."
I recently heard a minister say that when we say we don't have enough time, what we're really saying is that we've chosen to make some things a priority in our lives and other things less of a priority.
This is so true!
How much have I been complaining about not having enough time for God and Bible study? And yet, the art courses I was taking were taken for my own personal enrichment. I already have a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. So, at this point in my career, school is a luxury.
Well, I decided that it's a luxury I cannot afford. It's too big of a time and energy sucker! So, I decided to redeem, to buy back my time! And it feels so good!
It's funny, I haven't given notice to my current job yet that I'm leaving and they're going through their annual "goals setting" nonsense: I have to write down and electronically submit goals as an employee, basically justifying my continued employment with the company and giving reasons for possible promotions and raises in the future. The goals should preferably be measurable and quantifiable. My supervisor also subtly notified me, the other day, that my "utilization rate" was at a mere 110-112%; this is probably because, of late, I've only been working about 42 hours a week, rather than the 45-50 hours a week I was pulling last year. I really resent this goals thing and the whole thing seems so pointless and stupid to me. Actually, the whole of corporate culture seems pointless and stupid to me. The idea of assigning worth and value to people based upon quantifiable measures also really creeps me out and seems like such a sub-human thing to do--the sort of thing you'd see in some futuristic sci-fi/horror film.
As a Christian, I work to help provide the basic necessities for me and my family--food, clothing, shelter--and to have money to give to the work of the ministry. My job is simply a means to an end. I no longer worry about moving up the corporate ladder. Thus, it's hard for me to honestly set goals in the workforce. Sure, I can seek to continually sharpen and tighten my tech writing skills and I can learn new things as jobs/positions call for it (as I'm doing now in preparation for this new job), but I don't really set goals for these things, because I don't care about these things! I'm just waiting for Christ to return. So participating in this goals thing feels like a charade to me; I almost feel like I'd be lying, because I'm not truly writing down these goals because I seek to advance in this job or in corporate America. I'm writing down goals because the company is telling me to. So they're not really my goals.
So, at some point, I'm going to have to give my current job notice. I'm hoping that this new job makes fewer demands on my time. My current job pays for overtime with occasional spot bonuses (I don't even know how that's legal), but this new job (I was told) would pay for overtime immediately. So I'm guessing and hoping that overtime won't be encouraged as much, since the company would have to immediately pay for it. But regardless, even if I have to do overtime at this new job, I still won't be in school.
This experience has taught me just how precious time is. We can complain nonstop about how much we don't have time for God, Bible study, and prayer/worship, but, seriously, how much time do we waste doing things that are unnecessary? Taking elective college courses, watching TV, playing around on the Internet, working overtime--there's nothing necessarily wrong with these things, but if they're taking our time and attention away from God, we might have to rethink, re-prioritize, start pruning these things off.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.