I play this game in my head.
I tell myself how hard I’ll work this week, and then I’ll take a few hours off on Saturday evening to just relax. Or I tell myself, if I’ll just commit to this crazy schedule over the summer, I’ll settle into a better routine when the kids go back to school. Or, I don’t mind working my tail off for the next four months, because I’m going to take four whole days off for a brief little trip to Mexico to unwind.
Let’s stop here for a quick second to define work. Work is a demand on your time. It’s more than your vocation. It’s also your responsibilities to pay bills, buy groceries, cook, clean, air up bicycle tires, solve pre-teen crises with some semblance of grace, look for missing legos, figure out 5th grade math, and make it to soccer and volleyball with snacks, water bottles, and clean uniforms. The list goes on…and I know you know what I mean. We all have demands. I am blessed beyond measure to work my dream job. And I am absolutely over the moon that God trusted me to raise two of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. But it’s still work. And “saving up” for time to rest is not exactly working out for me.
In Kindergarten, my children had a time period each day for Rest and Doodle. Five days a week after lunch and recess, the teacher would dim the lights. Each child could choose to lay his little head on his desk, or pull out his notebook and crayons to quietly and independently doodle. This used to be one of the highlights of my son’s day. He illustrated pictures of his family and friends. He practiced his letters and wrote his numbers as high as he could count. He drew football fields and used his crayons as players. He sketched the sun, the planets, and the stars. At the end of his Kindergarten year, his Rest and Doodle notebook was a prized possession. It represented his free-thinking, his creativity, and his fun.
I wish I stopped everyday at 1pm for Rest and Doodle.
Why is it that we work ourselves to the point of exhaustion before we cave in to rest? Or, we end up getting sick and having to take a day off —which is not like a “day off” at all because we are lying flat on our backs on the couch. Or worse, we work ourselves to the point that we develop disease, stress, and strained relationships.
Why do we do that?
We commend ourselves for working so hard, and we call it discipline. Perhaps real discipline is finding balance–for rest and recreation. It’s interesting how rest rarely just happens. If we are able to achieve regular rest in our lives, it’s usually because we are disciplined to make time for it…much like Rest and Doodle, daily at 1:00pm.
Kindergarteners and God…they’re on to something.
At the end of a particularly productive week, God rested. Six days of wildly creative-thinking, strategizing, planning, and literally working with His hands to create the universe, then God took one whole day off to rest. We know this. But, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how He rested the previous six days. Even God didn’t save up all His resting for the weekend. |Click to Tweet| Upon the completion of each day, after engaging Himself in amazing and highly-creative work, He made time to look upon what He had done. And He reflected, “It is good.”
Basically in the Creator-of-the-Moon-and-the-Stars kind of way, He made time daily for a little Rest and Doodle. Every evening, God rested and reflected.
So. I figure my daily workload probably falls somewhere in between that of a Kindergartener and Maker of Heaven and Earth. And if a very busy Kindergartener and the Creator of the Universe have time scheduled each day to rest, I wonder if I should consider that too. Maybe there’s something to this daily moment of pause for stillness, quiet, and expression of creativity.
Being still: it’s pretty freakin’ hard. But, it’s simply that important. It’s important to my health, my relationships, my creativity, my life. And it’s that important for you. Maybe I will stop this week for an actual coffee ‘break,’ not just grab a cup and get back to work. Maybe I will prop my feet up on my back patio with a beer after everyone else is asleep and just listen to the quiet. Maybe I will read for pleasure. Maybe I will pray, and not be the one doing all the talking. Maybe I will lay my head on my desk and close my eyes for fifteen minutes, or just draw a picture.
Whatever I choose to do each day, I know that it will only make a lasting impact on my life if I give it the value it deserves. For me, this means a paradigm shift in my value system. It means truly believing that rest is not a luxury. It is a requirement for whole living. |Click to Tweet| And if God found value in resting and reflecting daily…well, I will too. Even if I have to schedule it in. It’s that important.