I woke up at 5a.m. that morning and started thinking of all things I had on my plate that day.
Why not get up now? I thought, and my mind raced to cover all the things I could accomplish with the extra hours.
I had gone to bed at midnight the night before, but so what if I was running on adrenaline – it would be a productive day regardless of how little sleep I got, right?
It was long past lunch on another busy day -- and I was still working.
My body was screaming for food –oh, I heard it loud and clear. But if I could just get one more thing done, it would set me that much ahead.
Trying to ignore my stomach and wade through the increasing fuzziness in my brain, I lumbered on – sure I was making the right choice by pushing myself.
I thought I had it rough until I overheard a mom at the playground tell her friend about the work she had ahead of her when she reported for the night shift at a nearby hospital.
“And when I get home after my shift, I won’t have time to sleep,” she was saying, “because I’ll have to put my son on the bus and an hour after that my daughter will be waking up and she’ll need me.”
The mom went on to say that she was going to squeeze in a few hours of sleep and then do it all over again on another night shift the next evening.
Wow. We can keep ourselves crazy busy can’t we?
I understand that sometimes we may not have much of a choice when it comes to kids and work, but I think we miss it when we allow our lives to get so consumed with stuff that we forfeit things like sleep, food and rest.
Recently, I was reminded that I need all those things I tend to push out when I’m busy – and that God put 24 hours in a day for a reason.
And it’s strange how busyness can attract us though, isn’t it? I find that I sometimes crave it. To me, and maybe to you too, it’s exciting to be pushed to the limit. It makes me feel, I don’t know, maybe a little more purposeful.
But in all our busyness, I can sense we’re losing something.
Something that only quietness and stillness can bring.When I allow my schedule to consume me, I often find that I have a hard time slowing down.
And when there is nothing more to do with my day but rest, I tend to seek out even more things to do.
In his book “The Rest of God,” Christian pastor, Mark Buchanan says this: “In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply. 'Be still, and know that I am God.” Some knowing is never pursued, only received. And for that, you need to be still.'"
I find that rest for me can be a lot of things -- sleep, relaxation, and time with God and family.
And when I forsake it for my busy schedule, things in my life begin to get out of whack and I actually get less productive.
My daughter asked me to play with her the other day and, even though I had enough work to do to keep me busy the entire day, I grudgingly offered her a few minutes.
She chose paints and I got down the craft box, shooting a quick prayer heavenward for my attitude.
I asked God to help me with the mess of the paints when all I could think about was my “to do” list.
But something strange happened when we got started – I began to relax. It surprised me really. I had expected to “bide my time” while checking my watch now and then, but instead, I discovered that I was loosening up and having fun.
My daughter had chosen different themes or “inspirations” for each of our paintings and in doing the first one, “springtime,” I enjoyed myself as I worked with browns, fuchsias and greens to create a blooming crabapple tree.
Our other inspirations: “in the sky” and “vegetable garden” were just as fun as we made a rainbow, a bluebird, a fat tomato and lush stalks of corn. And before it was over, we agreed to put on an art show for the other members of our family after our work was dry.
“We should do this more often,” my little girl astutely said about our painting. And it felt good to agree.
Resting with my daughter and enjoying the time with her was something that I obviously needed -- just like food, sleep and time with God.
It’s strange really how it works, but when we get what we need – we’ve got more to give.
28 Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest.
Exodus 33:14 New English Translation
14 And the Lord said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 127:2 New Living Translation
2 It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.