I am always delighted when I come across a new word. Today I stumbled over this one … “spuddle”. The context in which I encountered it left me unsure as to its meaning so I looked it up. Here is the dictionary definition: “Spuddle: a useful verb from the 17th Century that means to work feebly or ineffectively, because your mind is elsewhere or you haven’t quite woken up yet. It can also mean: “To be extremely busy whilst achieving absolutely nothing”. I don’t know about you but it's a word I can relate to!
I know the experience of being badgered for decisions whilst still half-asleep. I also know the experience of being exceedingly distracted and working in such an ineffective way that the end product is surely sub-standard at best. And finally, I can relate to ‘being very busy whilst achieving absolutely nothing’. We can learn from each of these ‘spuddle’ situations.
First, do not try to do anything of importance if you are not fit to do it. For example if you are exhausted - rest! Second, very often we do things which are ‘urgent’ rather than ‘important’. Things, for example driven by a deadline. When we do this we are frequently distracted by the ‘important’ whilst ineffectually attempting to do the ‘urgent’. This is a case where we need to learn to tell the difference between ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ and commit our finite resources where they can be best utilised. Third, realise that a lot of what we do in our ‘busy-ness’ is of no real value at all. We might be burning the candle at both ends, neglecting to sleep or eat to get the task done … and yet the task itself is worthless … ‘nothing’!
Psalm 46, verse 10, addresses ’spuddle’. It says “Be still and know that I am God”.
Being still in the presence of God is the absolute antithesis of ‘spuddle’. It is resting, recharging, restoring, renewing. And having been still - we can then be effective! So in the run up to Christmas - don’t ‘spuddle’ but ‘be still in the presence of God’.