I apologize to those who have seen me lately. The bright shining badge I wear on my upper left chest might have been blinding you. For those of you who don’t know, I’m referring to my “Busy Badge.” I wear it like a badge of honor- won in a fight. I polish it and make sure it is displayed prominently for all to see.
Okay, fine, I don’t actually wear a physical “busy badge.” But with the way I live my life and place my daily accomplishments on display for all to see, I may as well. I take pride in all that I have going on in my life. Too much pride. When you ask me how I’m doing, or what’s going on in my life, my response is “Busy!” In our culture today, this is a very typical, and even encouraged, response. We place a high value on our busyness. Staying busy quiets that voice inside that constantly taunts, “What is my purpose in all of this?”
Just stop and think for a moment. This is a very important question. When was the last time you spent a day doing absolutely nothing? You didn’t check off even one of the boxes on your to-do list. You didn’t sit in on that board meeting to make sure your voice was heard. You didn’t run to Target to pick up that last minute gift. You didn’t pull those weeds that you’ve been noticing in your front yard for the past three days. NOTHING. Have you ever had a day you did nothing?
The idea of rest – true rest - is lost to our culture. We simply don’t value it. I would even say that rest seems to be an impossible task in our day and age. In fact, I believe it has always been a struggle for people to rest. That would explain the thousands of commandments put in place by the Pharisees (over 2,000 years ago) in order for them to obey the ONE law of keeping the Sabbath (a day of rest every week).
When we ourselves do decide to rest, we make ourselves feel guilty and call ourselves lazy. This is madness. The truth is that rest is required for a healthy life and a healthy soul. Just like food. Just like water. Just like air. But beyond the idea that it’s good for you, it’s also commanded of you. As our Creator, God knows we need rest. Just like Apple, the creator of your iPhone, knows and explains to you that you must charge the batteries once you have used up the current stored energy. Without doing so, the phone won’t be capable of use.
When we have no charge left, how are we to complete our mission? So many of us are just living to get through the day. We charge our batteries just long enough to last us another couple of hours. Imagine if your iPhone battery was not functioning properly and you had to return it to its charger every hour. How annoying would that be? Yet this is how we live our lives. An hour of couch time here and a minute of iPad time there. I challenge you to consider if this method of rest actually works for you. Do you feel like you have enough charge to take on the calling God has for you? Or are you just trying to make it through another day?
“But how? How can I rest? I have work. I have a dirty house. I have relationships. I have children. I have family who constantly need something from me. I serve and give of my time in all these different ways. Those weeds are seriously not going to uproot themselves!” I know. Trust me…I know.
We accept this idea when we handle money, yet turn up our noses to it when we apply it to the idea of rest. Just like money, time is a commodity and those who are wise work hard to protect it. Those who are unwise spend it impulsively, without taking a proper account of what’s in the bank and what bills still need to be paid. People who are wise with money save for emergencies and are able to give to greater causes generously. They don’t entrust it to people who would take advantage of it… We should apply these same principles to our time…but we don’t.
We don’t have to live crazy, busy, stress-inducing lives in order to find our purpose. I’ll do my best to break it down for you. Remember though, I wear a busy badge too…the one I wear with great pride? I’m no expert at this and I have so much to learn. But I can tell you this - implementing the following principles into my life has been so life-changing and life-giving that I can’t pass up the opportunity to share them with you.
It starts with living more intentionally. You know those 15 minutes you spent scrolling on your phone? Those are not intentional minutes. If you add up all the time you’ve spent “checking out” by scrolling, you might have a whole day of rest at the end of your week.
Schedule your day of rest, just like you would any other activity that you actually stick to and accomplish. Like a doctor’s appointment, or going to work. That is how important rest is. When someone asks you if you can meet them for coffee, or the kids want you to take them to a friend’s house, or you just have to run to the grocery store to get that one last ingredient…you are going to have to start saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’ve made another commitment today.”
Try to focus on what really matters and let go of the things that don’t. Living your life with laser-like focus takes skill and time. God has a calling for each of us. He is tugging at your heart to accomplish something bigger than yourself. Many of us are constantly putting those feelings on a shelf because we don’t even know where to start. We do a lot of good things. We give our time to serve, which is so good for our souls. But sometimes, even the good things that we plug into can keep us from planting roots and making progress in our greater mission. Determine which things help you accomplish your bigger mission and drop the things that keep you from it. This will help you save a lot of time - time that you can put toward a day of rest.
I challenge you to try it. Just once.
Pick a day that you can get out of the usual “hustle and bustle” and just do it! Enjoy staying in your pajamas, reading a book, scrolling through Facebook, having a deep conversation with your loved ones, playing board games, making yummy food, taking a nap, baking, walking, praying, making love to your spouse, watching that movie that has been on your list, taking a bubble bath… I don’t know what your day off “jam” is… Just do it. One whole day - once a week… It will completely revolutionize your life. The Bible says so.
Genesis 2:3 - And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Leviticus 23:3 - Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day [is] the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work [therein]: it [is] the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
Exodus 20:8 - Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Mark 2:27 - And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: