Last week I watched a trailer for a documentary about sleep paralysis and I haven’t been able to sleep with the light off since.
I didn’t even watch the documentary. Just the trailer. And if you don’t know what sleep paralysis is, look it up and be prepared to spend the next few weeks very nervous every time you go to sleep.
Because of this, I have been pretty tired during the day (not because of being afraid of a trailer, no, that’s not it). So by the time I come home from work, make dinner, relax, and prepare myself for the possibility of being visited by an unfriendly demon-shadow, I’m super wiped.
I have also been sleeping less because I started working full full time, and I also recently moved to the direct opposite side of town, so my commute adds almost an hour to my day.
I also live alone now, meaning there is no one to share chores with. I have a huge tendency to leave dirty dishes lying around unless someone is keeping me accountable, so not only do I have little purple circles under my eyes but my apartment looks like a “Where Are They Now” episode of Hoarders where the hoarder has relapsed a little.
Therefore, my day usually consists of waking up early, driving, working, errands, driving, maybe working out, making dinner, trying to tidy up, fatigue, sleep.
Unfortunatley, two very important things are missing from this list.
The first thing is time to write.
This year I made it my goal to write 15 minutes every day. Then I went to New York and my routine got thrown off as I was lost in a haze of bad smells and late night junk food. Since returning to Spokane and trying to figure out my new lifestyle, I haven’t been able to get back in the same routine.
Now, you wouldn’t think 15 minutes is very much. It’s not, really. It’s probably close to the least amount of effort I can give. But for some reason, even 15 minutes becomes lost in the grogginess of the morning, the unpredictability of work, and the inevitable demands at the end of the day.
By the time I finally have a minute to myself, writing is the last thing I want to do or feel inspired to do. And because of the second thing missing from the above list, taking the time to write leaves me feeling really guilty.
The second thing is spending time with God.
I have always, always, always struggled to find a meaningful way to spend time with God during the day. This has never solidified for me, and it’s incredibily frustrating because I know it’s my fault.
Here’s what I wish would happen.
I wish I could get up at 6:00 every morning, excited to sit down and study my Bible.
I wish I wasn’t too sleepy to sit quietly in the stillness and deliberately listen for God, for an important stirring in my heart I could take into my day.
I wish I could write heartfelt prayers without just rushing through and listing what I think God is expecting me to pray about.
And I wish I had any room in my heart and mind to stop praying and simply worship. But when you’re in a rush, who has time for anything else but to ask God for what you need?
I struggle between the desire for time with God to be a natural part of my day and something I practically have to schedule in, like married people always saying at some point you have to start scheduling sex. I hate the idea of scheduling God in, so I end up not doing anything at all.
And then I feel faced with a choice: Do I write, or do I spend time with God?
(Hint: I already know the answer.)
But the answer feels unsatisfying to me.
I want to write, and I feel like God has really given me a desire to do so. So when am I supposed to find time to do what God calls me to do?
Do I just give up my time to write to spend time with him? Do you know how many studies I read every day that guilt-trip people like me into practicing your craft every single day or you may as well give up on life? Is God aware of these studies? Doesn’t he realize if I don’t write I will never write?
I don’t know how to spend my time. And because of this, I fill the time I do have with things that don’t matter, like TV and looking at social media.
A phrase that has gained popularity is, “You have as many hours in the day as [insert highly successful person here].”
I’d like to point out that highly successful people like Beyonce also probably have a full-time maid and practically are the Internet so they have no need to look at it. I am still a disgusting commoner and have to get my validation from Instagram likes and trolling the Internet in my spare time (which is not the same as being an Internet troll).
But you know what? It’s not truly about choosing between writing and spending time with God. I know I could make time for both every day if I really made the effort.
What it really comes down to is the question of, “How does God want me to use my time?”
Which, as it turns out, is actually the question of, “Does God want me to give my time and energy to the dreams I have?”
My initial response that I’m sure is correct is, yes, he certainly does. God has made me to be a certain type of me, and that includes the things I am particularly good at and passionate about.
But it feels like there’s a lot more to this, and I struggle with it all the time. What if my dreams consist of a very non-Christiany thing? What if my dreams mean I have to move somewhere else? What if my dreams totally take over my life and I forget all about God and my relationships? What if I lose myself, in a bad way, in my dreams?
So maybe the question doesn’t even end with, “Does God want me to pursue my dreams,” but actually ends with, “Do I trust God enough to pursue my dreams?”
No, I probably don’t right now. And maybe that’s another reason I’m avoiding spending meaningful time with God, because deep down I am mistrustful of him.
Everyone knows the verse that talks about God giving us a spirit of power, rather than a spirit of fear. But how am I supposed to get past my fear when I am faced with the enormous question of how I am supposed to be spending my time (and what dreams I am wondering if I should pursue) and the great deal of uncertainty that comes with this?
As twenty-somethings with so much uncertainty in front of us in so many ways, how can we live out this decade not in fear and doubt of making the wrong choices or pursuing the wrong things? How can we feel confident about how we’re spending our time and what we’re looking forward to?