Is there really such a thing as free time? I know we like to talk about how we spend our free time and lament about our lack of free time. Is time really free? I know my son will often ask me about why things cost money. “Why can’t everything be free?” We try to explain to him that nothing is actually free in life. Even if I don’t pay for it, someone has. It is a hard concept to grasp.
There are many demands placed on my day and they all take time. This can be frustrating if I take the wrong perspective on things. I have 4 children and each one of them is demanding. No, this is not a negative thing, just a reality. The truth of it is that we are all demanding, just in different ways. Thinking about my life, when is my time really free?
Father – My kids want attention from me. They also want me to care for them by providing them with food, shelter, and support on their Lego creations. They want me to sit with them and watch television, play games with them and to take them on bike rides. Much of my life is spent doing things for my kids. Does that upset me? No. In fact, it is incredibly rewarding for me.
If I ignore my children, sure I might feel like I am free, but someone is paying that price. In this instance, it would be my children who pay. Children who are ignored by their parent pay a rather steep price for the absence of their parent.
Husband – Even though the kids take much of my time, my wife does appreciate it when I talk to her. She spends most of the time with the kids because she is home with them. So, when I get home she is often ready for me to help with something. I take care of the cooking and often need to insert myself into some sort of issue the kids are dealing with. They love each other so much that they fight.
If I ignore my wife because I want to go do something on my own for the night, my wife pays the price. She might not complain about it, but it certainly affects her and will ultimately take a toll on our relationship.
Son – I don’t see my parents that much, but they do enjoy hearing from me. Since they live so far away, when we do see them they want to spend as much time as they can with us. This is just the way it is. This all takes time.
If I ignore my parents when I visit them, they might wonder why I bother to show up. Although, with grandchildren they might not be too concerned. Ultimately, they will pay the price for this, as they grieve our disconnection.
Employee- I work at a church and have certain responsibilities to my job. Working in ministry is different from a job that ends at 5 p.m. I often have meetings, extra communication, people who have needs and issues to help people work through. It takes a lot of time to do these things, but in the end it is fulfilling because God blesses as I serve where He has me.
If I ignore my role as pastor, I might feel free, but the needs of the people Jesus Christ has place before me might not be met. I understand that I am not the only way God can work, but God has uniquely positioned me to serve, just like He has you.
Child of God – Even more important than all of that, is my relationship with God. I know this is the area that can get easily forgotten, but it is also the most important area of them all. It is out of this relationship that all else stems from. Think about it. If I understand who I am as a child of God, then all my other relationships will follow accordingly.
All these relationships take time and all of them cost me something. So, as much as I like the concept of free time, I don’t think it actually exists. There is never a time when our time is not in demand in some fashion. What we do is chose certain things over other things, but those demands do not go away. There are things about my day that I enjoy more than others, but that doesn’t mean that I stop doing the things I don’t like.
Think about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. He has truly paid the price for our freedom, not in the sense that we have no obligation, but in the sense that we are no longer objects of God’s wrath. We are forgiven and set free from the sin that was set on destroying us. So, yes you are free. Yes, you have times that you are free to do whatever you would like, but all of that freedom has been paid for by someone. In Christ, your freedom has been paid for at a very steep price. So, yes, free time is costly, just maybe not to you.