Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dying for a Break

Prompt: Weekend

// Confession: I actually wrote this post once already but it ended up being way more of a rant than I liked to post online. So I decided to do some deep breathing… for about 24 hours. And here I am to try again.

I’m sitting here on the weekend, ironically (have no idea if that’s the correct use of ‘ironically,’ nor do I care), and writing this post several days late because, also ironically, I didn’t have/make time for writing much this last week. I’ve hardly even had time this weekend, but what I did have I spent mostly on journaling because personal health trumps writing challenges. Even this weekend has been pretty busy, though I looked forward to it as a break, and it leaves me thinking… weekend breaks are good and all, I mean at least one of the days of break is prescribed in Scripture, but why is it that we are all so terribly desperate for a break by the weekend that we feel as though our lives depend on it??? 

It’s like we swim through the week underwater with no time to surface for a breath and then when Friday rolls around we come shooting to the surface gasping for breath and nearly drowned. It seems to me that’s a sign of something gone terribly wrong.

If we are dying by Friday every week and feeling as though the weekends aren’t long enough to recover and prepare for the following week, then we are not living in a sustainable rhythm. I see the effects of this wearing on family and friends and certainly wearing on myself, and I think it’s no wonder that health problems related to stress and problems with anxiety seem to be on such a rise in recent years! //

My kids just studied Hippocrates in science and read about how he hypothesized that our health was determined mostly by how we take care of our bodies, including how much rest we give them. Two thousand plus years ago he was already realizing how important rest is but we seem determined to ignore the need for rest today. Even early than that, at the dawn of time, God Himself taught us the importance of rest by setting an example for us and then commanding us to take a day of rest. And I don’t imagine He meant for us to kill ourselves for the rest of the days of the week to somehow “earn” the day off. 

And maybe that’s what this strain and stress and these ridiculous schedules come down to… maybe we are all out to prove something, to show our worth. You can certainly see that in the way people talk about the breaks they do take. 

“Well, we haven’t ever really taken a real vacation in our whole marriage so we thought we could take this opportunity.” 

“We’ve worked every weekend the last two months so we really need a day off.”

“I was up past midnight every night last week so I’m going to skip ______ this week and try to get some rest.”

We preface every mention of rest with an excuse for why we really need it and how we have earned it.

But in reality, we don’t deserve or earn anything but condemnation. We can never do enough or be enough. But we don't have to because the work has been done and the perfect life has been lived for us. Ultimately, the weight of kingdom work does not rest on our shoulders. That’s the heart of the gospel and if we accept it then it can liberate us. It can free us to walk in step with the Spirit, if we slow down enough to listen to Him, so that we can hear from Him how to spend our time… and when to rest.

I am continuing on with my Write 31 Days theme of "31 Days to Slowing Down and Living More Simply" with reflections based on my reading of Emily P. Freeman's book Simply Tuesday and the prompts given at the FMFW page. My "Five Minute Free Write" portion will be enclosed with // and any extra thoughts will follow.

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