Have you heard of the saying “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”?
Years of understanding and reflection brought me to realizing the truth to this statement. It is true, the moments when I was idle or not being true to my purpose, were the very days that I had fallen into sin.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
“I know the plans that you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.”
God who has numbered our days (and knows the exact number of strands of our hair) definitely has written a very beautiful and detailed plan for our life. This means, every single day was written with a purpose.
But what do we do when we’re idle?
Here are suggestions on what to think of and do, when as it is, we have nothing to do:
1. Be Thankful. Think of the things you’re thankful for.
One old song said that if we need to sleep sound at night, aside from counting the number of sheep, we can also count the number of blessings we have received. This is true and effective. The many blessings that God has filled our life with can fill up an eternity of time if we have to list them one by one.
When I had to shoot for some church ad, they asked me to walk a long bridge as the videographer was to take a shot of me walking and pondering. I’m not an actress but whenever I get assignments like that, I always love to immerse or put myself in the right mental state. I decided to whisper all the things that I am thankful for. “Thank You, Jesus, because I survived a painful career transition. Thank You because my family has been supporting me. Thank You for my friends, and thank You because I feel good even when I am alone.”
When the shoot ended, we talked about what I was thinking during that scene. I shared with them that I decided to list down and whisper the things I was thankful for. That mental state brought me to a positive feeling, hence a positive facial expression and mood. The emotions that registered in the camera were of happiness. I was smiling and it looked good.
2. Be Dreamy. Think of the things you want to achieve.
Thinking of my dreams always puts me to a bright moment as I get excited with the things that I want to make happen and the things that are possibly planned to happen in my life. I think about my career, visions of a future family, and even thoughts of traveling with my family.
I think about a lot of this and given my understanding that God has always surpassed my version of the future, I know that the real thing is going to be so much better.
Thinking of the future reminds you of your purpose. And when you get reminded of your purpose, you remind your role in life. Most of the time, it wakes us up and reminds us on what we ACTUALLY have to do.
Which eventually leads us to…
3. Be Productive. Think of the things you need to do.
The moment you remember the things that you want to achieve and accomplish, it’s easy to create a task list of things to do. What should you do during the day to get you closer to what you need to accomplish?
One wise mentor shared with me before that the optimal number of task list category a person should have is at least three: personal; spiritual; work/career. Under personal, we can list the financial, home improvement, family plans, travel. Spiritual can have our church work, ministry, discipling people, bible reading time. Work and career will be for everything we need to do for business or work.
The moment we get reminded on the things that we have to do, it will already feel uncomfortable to stay idle during the day.
4. Be Helpful. Think of others. Think of people you can help or pray for.
This is the least prioritized task of other people, but I appreciate the value of this one. Do you remember the last time someone asked you if you can pray for them? What was your response? “Yes, I will.”?
I cannot speak for everyone, but I know with me and my friends, unless we do this right away, “I will pray for you,” will remain an undone task as it’s keen to be forgotten for the main reason: It’s not for us, and it will not help our day if and when we do it. Given that, it’s always the left out task for the day.
But thinking of the people we can help or pray for puts us in a helpful stance. This reminds us that we were created interconnected with each other, that we may help and lift others up.
The moment we already think of the people we can and need to help, we can already pray for them as well. And imagine the feeling of knowing that people you care for are praying for you, you feel good as you know that even in their minds, they are taking care of you. Let’s be the other end of this too. Let’s start being the ones praying for other people.
Be thankful. Be dreamy. Be productive. Be helpful.
The next time that even by a bit you feel idle, hope you won't forget these helpful tips that will bring you back to your purpose.