I don't like wasting time . . . who does? This quality can sometimes come off as impatience, particularly when in work meetings; just ask my boss. I have specific to-do lists that schedule in the amount of time each item should take to accomplish. Sometimes these lists can cut into my time with friends or family. It isn't like I want my time to be filled in this way, but when I get busy, my time with those I love always suffers.
I was a pretty social person in college. I didn't know many Christians in high school, so when I went to a Bible college, I wanted to be friends with everyone. Six months into being at college, I was burned out from being too social with people and from having "too much" homework. I started doing what I always do when life gets busy: I buckle down and work. Soon, my life flipped from socializing to studying. I was no longer to be found in the school's coffee shop, but in the library, along with a pile of books. There is nothing inherently bad with studying or to-do lists, but there is something wrong when priorities are not aligned with where they should be.
My college roommate's name was Zoe. She was a fun, spunky, young lady from Northern California that was super bright— she could get her homework done in what seemed like three seconds, and was always surrounded by people. Zoe opened the door to our small dorm room holding a pile of books one day. Her hair was in pigtails looking like she was ready to go on a picnic. "Wanna come study with me," she asked as her foot was still propping open the door. "A few of the other girls are going to a Starbucks," she said as she continued to persuade me. I declined and turned back to my books. I could tell she was disappointed. Not long after, we were having a late-night college roomie conversation— one that I hold onto in the file of memories that are precious. I asked her if it was ever hard for her to make friends since she knew she'd have to let many of them go when she moved back to California after graduation.
She said, "It's never a waste of time loving someone."
I nodded as if I knew what she was talking about; however deep down, I hadn't ever thought of love in that way. We can waste time studying a subject in school that we may never use. We can waste time being entertained on Netflix, scrolling down Instagram, or reading romance novels. But taking time to love is never wasted time.
To truly make sure time is never wasted –– love people. Take the time to listen to the sincere needs, concerns, and expressions of the hearts of others. You can love someone who intends to move away and entirely lose contact with you. Not a waste of time. You can love a child who grows up and moves on with their life. Not a waste of time. You can love someone in a dating relationship that doesn't turn into a marriage. If done in a Godly, respectful way, it is not a waste of time. You can even love a friend who eventually decides that they don't want to be your friend anymore –– and it was not a waste of time. What a principle! I have a feeling God doesn't like wasted time and that could be in part, why He said the greatest commandments were to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).
How we define "wasting time" may give us insight into where our priorities lie. For me, taking the time to care about and nurture my friendships gets put dead last on my to-do list. I even tend to put my friendships on my list of what I can do when I have time to waste. When God tells us to love, it is never a waste of time. We should be putting people on our priority list.
Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.
That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.