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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Are you a fritterer?

Fritter:  To squander or disperse piecemeal; waste little by little; break or tear into small pieces or shreds; dwindle or shrink away.  Are you a "fritterer"?  If you have a tendency to just put off until tomorrow what could be done today, you might be one who fritters away time.  If you lean toward just letting things go until they cannot be ignored any longer, you might be one who fritters away opportunities.  If you believe relationships just happen and there isn't much to their upkeep, you might be one who is frittering away the very best in your life.  Things or opportunities we waste little by little are seldom "taken back" or "reclaimed" at a later time - once wasted, it is as though we never had them in the first place.  Therefore, it is important to examine how we fritter away our time, energies, resources, and opportunities - especially as it applies to being in relationship with God and those he has placed in our lives.

A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish line.  (Proverbs 15:9 MSG)

Scripture is pretty plain on the subject - frittering away what God gives us is just not good - nothing good comes from letting things slip through our fingers.  I have had opportunities in this life to experience things you might not have, and vice-versa.  Our lives are filled with experiences and opportunities uniquely designed for who we are, where we find ourselves at this moment, and the level of growth we might be at when these opportunities come our way.  If we start looking at them from the perspective of what God may have planned for us "in" those opportunities, we might be less willing to allow them to be frittered away.

I haven't had many dating relationships since my divorce over 26 years ago, but of the couple I have had there are some things I learned in those relationships.  First, I learned the value of communication - something lacking in my marriage and something I found absolutely necessary for the health of any relationship.  When those dating relationships just didn't lend themselves to open and honest communication (what I also call being transparent), I knew they weren't going to work out in the long run.  Second, I experienced the importance of being equally yoked - something I also did not have in my marriage.  When two seek to be more than just "two", there is this need to be on the same "playing field" as it applies to several important aspects of our lives - such as spiritual growth, emotional well-being, and a simple comfort with being single.  You see, it isn't that we "need" another to fulfill our needs because we have Jesus to do that - it is that we have a "need" to be at a fairly "equal" level of growth / maturity, stability in life, and contentment in our walk with Jesus.

To have spent significant time in relationships which didn't "match up" with these expectations would to have been unwise - it would have meant I was frittering away my time, energies, and emotions on relationships which weren't meant to go the "long haul".  So, they became casual friendships - those which provided some opportunities to "hang out" and do fun stuff like bowl together, but which I knew would not amount to more than that.  Each of us has our opportunities for relationships - some more "serious" than others. In embracing those which will help us to grow deeper in our walk with Jesus, investing ourselves whole-heartedly in those, we are less likely to be frittering away our time, talent, energies, or emotions on those which will not.  

We fritter our time away on things which have no lasting value - while overlooking those things and people in front of us that do.  For example, we might work late several nights a week, arriving home in a cranky or disagreeable mood.  When we do, we rob ourselves of the emotional energies to pour into the relationships at home which will yield much more than the "office energies" ever will.  This was a hard lesson for me to learn early on in my career because I wanted to do well at work, please those I served, and bring value to the organization.  All the while, as a single mother, my kids were suffering.  It took me about a couple years to figure this one out, so don't be hard on yourself if you haven't yet!  When I finally realized arriving home "spent", with nothing left to give into their lives, was just not honoring of the "gift" God had given me in both of them, I began to re-prioritize my values.  This might be where you are right now - not wanting to fritter away those God has placed in your life - so take the time to "re-prioritize" before you let them slip right on through your fingers!

Even the most dedicated and sincere will "fritter" at times.  Learning to step back, do a periodic re-evaluation of where you are right now and what you may be "missing out on" by allowing things to just slip by you, and then re-positioning your actions and focus on those things which really matter in the long run may serve you well.  Just sayin!