Have the words “I don’t have enough time” ever crossed your lips? We wake up with our brains already half way down our to-do list for the day. We stumble through our routines, not really invested mentally in what’s going on. Instead we are at a dead run trying to accomplish as much as possible in the time given to us.
I think we can be adrenaline junkies. You know, that rush we get when we’re not sure we’re going to make our deadline. That relief that comes when, despite all the loads of stress it’s added to our shoulders, our last-minute chaotic scramble to make it happen actually worked. It’s kind of euphoric as we pat ourselves on the back. And then we’re ready to do it again.
Maybe we are so addicted to the adrenaline rush that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be productive within our busyness. We choose last-minute chaos instead of the self-discipline it takes to slow down and complete each step in a deliberate way.
Sometimes we allow our chaos to so rule our lives that, because of a lack of consistency, we can’t even rest when it’s time to rest.
From the very beginning, God established a time for work and a time for rest. We see it in the creation narrative when he spent six days creating and then the seventh day resting and enjoying what he had accomplished.
Rest in an intricate part of being productive and here are three reasons why it’s so vital for a productive life.
Without rest we can’t recharge
Rest is often seen as a time to sleep. It’s also seen as a time to sit and do nothing. While those are wonderful and needed things, it’s also beneficial to see rest as an absence of striving or performance. As a wives, parents, and/or employees we don’t often get to sit and do nothing (and depending on what season we’re in, we might not be able to sleep that much, either!), but we can rest from the “doing” and having to be “on.” We can have certain things we do to recharge. That can be reading a book, gardening, painting, working out, hiking…the list goes on and on. It can also be dinner with friends, coffee dates, a book club, and your church gatherings.
Without rest we can’t evaluate and make changes
Part of resting is creating time throughout the year to look at the individual obligations and activities that make up our lives. If we don’t allow ourselves time to come down from the mental fog of exhaustion we are like a hamster on a wheel, running like mad and getting absolutely nowhere. By taking a break every 6 months or so we can see more clearly what needs to be adjusted so that we can make changes. This can look like a long weekend away, or maybe even a “stay-cation” at home where you turn your phone off and say no to everything.
Without rest we can’t enjoy the fruit of our labor
We so easily get into a dangerous cycle of frantically trying to accomplish things (like making money, gaining respect, etc.) and then we start worrying that we’re going to lose whatever we’ve gained. This kind of thinking robs us of rest because we feel like we can never stop and enjoy the fruit of our labor. We can combat this by understanding that every detail doesn’t hinge on us and our ability to keep it all afloat. That is proven to us each night as we fall asleep and wake up to the sun rising in the east. We didn’t make that happen; it didn’t depend on us. We have to relax and know that it’s pure silliness to think that by our being “on” all the time we can make all the stars align and every detail fall into place by sheer force of will.
As we embrace rest as an important part of productivity we will begin to realize the joy that comes with the letting go of control. It’s a beautiful surrender.
How do you choose to rest and reflect?