Warning: This is long and it’s personal. And you probably won’t read it all…
Last time, all you readers were horribly offended by my insulting your intelligence.
Here’s what I wrote:
Theologizing about books aside, reading will enhance your Apologetics speeches.
Because you’re not that smart.
No offense! I’m not either. That is, I’m not smart enough to figure out all of theology on my own. I need help.
Thankfully, lots of really smart people have written really awesome books. And we can read them for just a few dollars!
After you forgave me for my horrible manners, we discussed why Apologists should read—plus what you should read.
But now comes an even more difficult question.
WHO HAS TIME!?!
Who has time to read?
Life flashes by these days.
It’s Friday, then before you know it Monday is here.
Or worse, next Friday is here.
How does reading fit into such packed schedules?
Today we answer that question.
When can you read?
But I do need to begin with a caveat: some of you don’t have this problem.
Yes, there are a lucky few who are not busy.
If you wouldn’t describe your life as “busy”…
ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS!
For your day is coming.
In all seriousness, a less-than-overwhelming schedule is a blessing. If you don’t have any trouble finding time to do what you want to do, you can skip this post.
Or, since you have so much time, you could read it anyway!
But this post is dedicated to those of us who need a little help.
“I don’t have time to read!”
Join the club.
Asking my friends “How’s life?”, I most commonly get told, “Busy.”
My family is busy.
My friends are busy.
My coworkers are busy.
Are we cursed or something?
In a sense, yes.
But you know that curses are sometimes blessings in disguise, right?
Busyness is like that.
See, our world is filled with opportunity.
You can do almost anything you dream of, if you’re willing to work long and hard enough.
Because of this, your desires will likely exceed your time available.
And that’s okay.
If your bucket list is a million items long, and you only complete 3 before you die, guess what?
You have all eternity to do the other 999,997!
In this age, our job is not to do everything. It’s to do every most-important-thing.
That’s where priorities come in.
Among your other priorities, book-reading should be present.
Don’t ignore your responsibilities and read books all day.
But neither should you ignore books and elevate other priorities.
(If you need justification for this point, go see last week’s post on why to read.)
Sadly, I’m speaking from personal experience here.
It came to a head at the end of January.
I felt totally overwhelmed.
Job and internship I had handled. But my personal time was in shambles.
My to-do list kept increasing, and I couldn’t stay on top of it.
So I decided to stop something.
See, time is like closet space. At some point, you can’t fit any more clothes in.
But because time isn’t physical, we like to imagine that we can fit infinite “time clothes” into our finite time closet.
How do you get more room in your closet? You throw clothes away.
How do you get more room in your time closet? You throw time-consumers away.
So I decided to stop attending a Thursday night get-together and seize that night back.
After testing the idea in February, I believe it has been a success. I’ve enjoyed spending my Thursday nights with my family or reading by myself.
And I don’t feel bad about quitting.
I follow an internet marketing copywriter named Ian Stanley. Recently he sent an email out, defending quitting. In it he listed some of his personal goals, then wrote:
Those were the primary goals outside of income.And guess what. I didn’t hit any of ‘em.You know why?I QUIT. I quit for a reason.Now let me be clear. There’s a difference between QUITTING and GIVING UP.Quitting means you didn’t want the goal anymore.Giving up means you wanted the end goal but weren’t willing to do what it took to get it.
Feel free to quit.
If something is occupying too much of your time—or doesn’t belong there at all—quit it.
Quit it purposefully.
Not because you don’t have the guts to achieve it.
Because you don’t want the goal anymore.
I’ve just realized that my outline is rather lacking for this post.
So I’m going to retroactively make the last few large chunks of this post…
Time Tactic #1: Quit
And then move immediately on to…
Time Tactic #2: Think Long-Term
Pull up from the trenches and take a look around.
What will you really enjoy doing tonight?
How can you act so that, tomorrow morning, you wake up and say: “I’m proud of myself for choosing to do _______ last night!”
Maybe this is just me…
(so if it doesn’t apply to you just ignore it)
…but I generally feel unsatisfied after wasting a few hours on the internet.
Spending a few hours on a good book?
Tiring, but satisfying.
Writing my last post, I was happy that day because I read A.W. Tozer the day before.
Never have I been happy today because I wasted time on the internet yesterday.
And I’ll bet 1,000 Monopoly dollars that neither have you.
It’s an issue of long-term difficult pleasures vs. short-term easy pleasures.
What will make you happiest?
Time Tactic #3: Seize the Gaps
We all have little gaps in our day. Maybe you have 15 minutes between two events, or half an hour after dinner.
Seize the gaps! Use them to read.
One major gap for lots of people is commute time.
Do you have a part-time job? (Around here every single homeschooler works at Chick-fil-A.) If so, you probably have to drive at least 20 minutes round-trip every time you work. Use that time to read!
Not read with your eyes. That’s dangerous. (And probably illegal, though I haven’t checked the laws.)
Read with your ears! Listen to audiobooks.
I listen to audiobooks or sermons first thing in the morning when I get up. My morning routine—from getting up to finishing breakfast—takes 30 minutes, so I can get through an entire audiobook in just a week or two!
When my brother and I owned a lawncare business a few years back, I would listen to books while mowing lawns.
Anytime your task doesn’t require intense mental focus, you can be reading…er, listening.
If you seize the gaps, you’ll get a lot more reading done.
Time Tactic #4: Schedule Your Reading
Sometimes I find myself thinking:
“Once I get everything else done, I’ll go hole away and read for 10 hours.”
Everything else never gets done.
So at the end of the day…
If you want to read…
Find a time to read…
And do it.
Block it out on your calendar.
Tell people you’re already busy (because you are).
Tell them you have an appointment (with yourself).
Go curl up with a book.
You’ll be smarter because of it.
And your Apologetics speeches will sparkle.