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I know few people who really get the work-rest balance. I know I struggle with it at times. I either work until I drop or tune out and be completely and utterly lazy. But that is not the example God provides, nor the example Jesus provides.
We are made in the image of Elohim, the Great God of Creation. He is imagination and creativity. Genesis 1 and 2 are the example Elohim gave us. God said, then He saw, and then He said it was good. He finished what He started. Then He rested. God understands the importance of rest. Not laziness. Not work avoidance. But true rest.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2-3 NKJV
Jesus also understood the work-rest balance, even in the midst of people continually hounding Him. His example can be found in Luke 9:10-18. Jesus had taken the disciples to a place of solitude to rest after all that they had been doing. But the crowds found him. Jesus had compassion on the crowds, and fed the five thousand + people both spiritually and physically. This means He did not blow up at the people who needed Him, or were seeking Him out. He tended to them, and then went off alone to recharge. In verse 18, we find that Jesus has left the crowds again.
“And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him…”
Jesus understood that He had to be recharged by time with the Father. It was the only way He would be able to have anything to give His disciples and the people that they were ministering to. Jesus took time to Himself to spend with God, even though He was continually sought out. This tells me that, like Jesus, we NEED time to recharge in order to be at our best.
Jesus is both our example and our Shepherd. Psalm 23 tells us that our Shepherd leads us to peace and rest, even when times are hardest.
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
The point is that God blesses the work of our hands and He also blesses a day of rest. Balance helps you stay healthy and strong. It makes you better at work and better with people.
Happy Labor Day!
I had one simple task.
Install new door handle on the bathroom door. (Funny story about my roommate being trapped in the bathroom when it broke and my panic thinking I may have to break the door down to rescue her…but that would distract us from what I was saying. What was I saying? Oh yeah…one simple task.)
That’s it. The same one simple task I’ve had since I bought the new handle 4 days ago.
So I installed the latch and the strike. Easy peasy. 2 whole minutes. Then I hit a snag. The new handle base is ever so slightly smaller than the previous one. Crap. Now I need to paint. I love to paint. But I’m not wearing paint clothes and I ALWAYS get paint on myself and my clothes. ALWAYS. I seriously have 3 long sleeve and 3 short sleeve painting shirts, a pair of painting jeans, a pair of painting sweats and a pair of painting shorts. I had more but I recently purged. I also have painting socks and shoes…but I digress. I decided to brave it and paint without paint clothes…because I need to get back to writing.
So I touch up the paint. For the first time I didn’t get paint on my clothes. All over my hand, but not the clothes! Victory!! Happy dance. Oooh! I need dancing music. Where’s my iPod?
Mid-way through Everything is Awesome I realized I now have to wait for the paint to dry before I can finish installing the handle. Crap. What should I do while I wait? Oooh! I know! I can paint the sides of the guest room door that I somehow forgot to paint when I painted the front and back of the door. No. That would require paint clothes for sure and a tarp so that I don’t get any more paint on the carpet. And if I start painting then I will want to pull out my canvases and work on one of my in process masterpieces. (I use the word masterpieces loosely.) This will completely hinder my plan of writing all day.
What’s the point of all this random (besides giving me something to do while I wait for the paint to dry)?
The point is how many times do we get “so busy” and distracted by little things? They may even be good things or shiny things. But being busy actually prevents us from focusing on the important things for our purpose, goals, and dreams.
Do yourself a favor and take some time with the Lord today about your distractions. Ask Him for wisdom and revelation about your purpose (the big picture/long term goal). The thing that’s so big it requires partnership with Him. What about the short term? What’s in your hot little hands right now that you need to focus on? What are the things distracting you that need to be set aside or let go of?
Ephesians 1:15-19, tells us that we can have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to understand what God has for us in the short term (our calling…i.e. what is in our hands right this minute) and long term (our purpose). If you ask Him, He will answer.
Now…I need to go finish installing my bathroom door handle. Then I need to focus on my current writing project.
I’m sure you have a goal, most people do. Maybe it’s getting in shape or getting healthy. Maybe it’s a degree or starting a new business/ministry. Goals give us a destination to focus on so that we don’t get distracted or quit when it gets tough. That’s why having goal or two is important.
Take a second or two to think of the most important goal to you right now. When you’ve got it…please continue reading.
Most people know I Corinthians 13. It’s the love chapter after all! Many people have it read at their wedding or hanging in a frame on their wall. But what many don’t realize is that chapters 12-14 of I Corinthians are all a part of one thought.
Chapter 12 explains spiritual gifts. It ends with verse 31: “So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. But let me show you a way of life that is best of all.”
The Apostle Paul then takes all of I Corinthians 13 to explain what love is and what it looks like. Real love isn’t about mushy gushy feelings, it is a choice. A choice to be patient with people. A choice to be kind. A choice to believe the best. Paul tells us that even if he were the most talented and had more gifts than anyone else and achieved more than anyone-if he didn’t live a life of love then he wasted his life.
With that in mind here’s how chapter 13 ends and 14 begins: “Three things will last forever-faith, hope and love- and the greatest of these is love. Let love be your highest goal!” I Cor 13:13-14:1
Now back to your most important priority goal. Is it love? Not mushy gushy love or finding THE ONE, but to actually live your life as described in I Corinthians 13. To be kind to the rude sales clerk. To believe the best about the idiot in the SUV who just cut you off. To celebrate one another’s successes even when your life hasn’t been going so well. To forgive the way you’ve been forgiven. That’s what love looks like.
I know I’m not there yet, and you probably aren’t either. But imagine how this world would change if everyone kept love as their priority goal!!
Something to think about over the weekend.
At work today our new leader (He’s been here about 3 weeks) held an all-hands meeting. He used this time to detail his expectations and priorities. He also discussed the issues that had been brought to his attention. He was very up front, and I respect that. He also said something that really stuck me about priorities. He said that the best way to check your priorities is to look at your calendar. How you spend your time reveals your priorities. No matter what you say, your calendar shows the reality.
It’s not what your words say; it’s what your calendar reveals that counts.
Many people say that their family is their priority, but they spend most of their non-work time sitting on the couch tuned into the television or on some sort of mobile device. Many people say God is a priority, but the only time they actually acknowledge His presence is at their church’s Sunday morning service. I could go on, but you get the point. I get that everyone’s busy, I am too. I’m not trying to criticize, as my calendar needs some scrubbing too.
My point is to sit down and think about your priorities. What and who matter the most to you? What are your long and short term goals? Now look at your calendar and think about how you spend your time. Your nights. Your weekends. Your vacation days. How are they used?
If your calendar does not reflect the people and things that really matter, then make some changes.
Say no to things that don’t line up with your priorities. This may mean you have to pass on some fun things or some good things even, but that’s okay. It is okay to say no. Your “no” to the extraneous things leaves room for you to say “yes” to the things that matter most. You don’t have to explain to people why, just say “no.”
Get out a calendar or use your smart phone calendar and mark off family days and time with God. Carve it out and keep it for its dedicated purpose. Block out some down time too, while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33