Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Monk in the World Guest Post: Johanneke Strydom

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Johanneke Strydom’s reflection “Wasting Time. . .”

I have this fear of wasting time…  Not to do something worthwhile.  Not to be able to show something for my time spent.  Not to produce…I measure the success of my day in the things done to make the world a better place.  Things produced…  Beauty created. And the hours in between as wasted.  Wasted with things like cooking and washing and reading and relaxing.  The mundane.  Nothing to show.  What a waste!

We are brought up this way.  To use our time well. This precious time we are given on this earth.  To make every minute count, for the good. To act responsible.  To use our talents. Not a moment to lose…  All very good and noble.

?But I get a sense in this, of a restless, hurried heart.  Even frenetic. A kind of arrogance, seeing the self as so important, to get all these important things done. Driven.

And I wonder how much we miss along the way.  Miss of the journey, the scenery, as we rush past?  Past the moment, the now. Rushing past our fellow man…Past God?

But I don’t get this sense of urgency when I read my Bible.  When I read about Abraham waiting for the promise, he had to wait more than 20 years…  And that man Noah, he worked and waited 100 years for that first rain to fall… I can go on.  The Israelites in Egypt must have thought, after 400 years, forgotten and forlorn… And then Jesus.  It seems as if He wasted a lot of time…  When his good friend Lazarus was ill, He waited some more days, before going to him.

?He was never too busy to tend to the needy, the sick, the children… Nothing too unimportant for His time.
I get a picture of Him as relaxed, unhurried…

Then I read His words in Mat 6:26: “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God.  And you count far more than birds… ”

Jesus says further in Mat 11: “Are you tired?  Come to Me.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
And I yearn for this: freedom and lightness… In my daily life.

And I come to see that it is not in the doing, but in the being, that we learn to live in His grace every moment.  That time is His.  That I cannot “waste” time that wasn’t mine in the first place to take, to possess.  I come to see that all of life to be sacred.  Because I share it with Him.  Every act becomes a small sacrament of love.  Not wasted, but consecrated.  To hang the washing against a blue sky, to cut the beans…  Nothing wasted…  Everything part of the whole.  I can only pray: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

And I ask the Spirit to teach me how to move at the pace of grace, rather than my own hurried, self-driven pace.  To live an unhurried life.  Connected deeply to the One who is rooted in Eternity…

Johanneke Strydom is a fulltime artist who finds her inspiration in the natural world around her: rocks, trees, skies, hands and faces.  She conducts creative retreats in her area and opened a creative centre for disadvantaged children and uses art to heal their emotional scars.  She lives on a remote farm in South Africa with her farmer husband and 4 homeschooled children.
You can find her on her website:

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Meg Munro

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Meg Munro’s reflection and paintings on her relationship with the Beloved Mother-Virgin. I had been despairing that my passion for painting was

Read More »