Today’s Blog: Yikes! Loathe?
TODAY’S PROVERB: Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and loathe you. Proverbs 25:17, TLV
Yikes! That’s a contentious word, loathe. Can we be honest here? Have you ever encountered someone without boundaries? Someone who regularly calls, drops by, interrupts . . . You get the idea. We’ve probably suffered in silence, or to others, but few know how to graciously handle such a person.
Today’s proverb speaks of uninvited visits — frequent uninvited visits. With the invention of telephones and other technology, the chances of intrusions on/in our life have escalated. Caller ID helps. Emails and texts help mitigate long conversations. However, those frustrating interruptions may not be alleviated.
I suppose our frustrations probably stem from someone robbing us of our time. Time is a precious gift given by our Heavenly Father. We’re born with a number of days and hours (Job 14:5). It is good to remember that, but to not be fearful or possessive about it.
Scripturally, we can surmise that our first priority is to spend time with our Creator Father, then our spouse and children. From there, extended family, friends, congregation, and community.
Keeping our promises and commitments means managing our time wisely. Being flexible for the occasional surprises and GOD-interruptions is also important.
However, it’s when those recurring interruptions gobble our time that we need to reassess. Are the perpetrators the same souls over and over again? Are our boundaries being breached? Do we have boundaries?
Perhaps that’s where to begin. Establishing boundaries. Our family has a few “rules:” like no unscheduled social calls after 5:00 pm. You would be amazed at how much territory this covers. Generally, if someone calls us after that time and it’s very important, of course we’ll take the call.
If we’ve been the “victim” of a time-user, then we should be especially sensitive to not be one ourselves.
Here are a few tips I keep in mind for myself:
- Schedule visits/calls. I will generally text someone to schedule a convenient time and length for the other person.
- Ask if visit/call is convenient. For those unscheduled times, I pay special note how the person responds. If there’s hesitation or their body language indicates they’re only being polite, I’ll schedule a more convenient time. If it’s an emergency — and it better be — I’ll let them know.
- Be sensitive. Pay attention to unexpected disruptions during the conversation. Be the gracious one to give them the option to end the conversation and reschedule.
- Don’t stay too long. Whether scheduled or impromptu, even if the conversation is riveting, be sensitive to the needs of their family. When it’s time to go, go.
The late musician Bobby Womack said: “Leave them wanting more and you know they’ll call you back.” I like that.
Knowing that time is precious is important. Spending time with the LORD, family, and friends makes our life rich and worthwhile. Being good stewards of that time — spending it wisely — is a good thing.