Is your candle burning at both ends and melting in the middle too? I think a lot of us would have to say yes (at least sometimes). Truth is, balancing work and rest in our modern environment is challenging. A simple list of “dos & don’ts” to clean it all up would be nice, but real life isn’t like that. So, instead of a list, I have a couple of questions to offer. They’re based on some recent discussions in our small group.
“Are the things I do (work, vocation, position) defining me, or am I properly defining what I do based on who I am in Christ?”
Consider Paul’s charge in Colossians 3:23:
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.”
It helps me to remember whose approval I should really be seeking. Paul had experienced great success in the inner circle of Jerusalem “movers & shakers”, but after conversion gained a new perspective on how to invest His life (Philippians ch. 3). He continued his trade as one working hard with his hands making tents (Acts 18:3), but his objectives and influence in the marketplace changed. Instead of trying to win among his peers, he modeled the attitude of laying aside hindrances to finish well “as the cloud of heavenly witnesses looked on” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
“Do I incorporate a natural rhythm of work and rest (as God modeled it by creating 6 days and resting 1) or am I mostly “On” 24/7?”
When God created the world, He set certain “rhythms” in motion; for example day & night, wake & sleep, growth & dormancy. Once, when I spent a couple of months in the woods, I actually began to sense the natural “rhythm” of the created order and it was fascinating. In the Psalms, there is a word “Selah” placed at strategic points to direct the reader (originally singers) to pause and reflect on the potency of the words. It’s a pattern worth noting and incorporating into daily life.
Finding ways to pause and reflect is incredibly valuable. Of course it looks different with everyone, but it wouldn’t surprise me if soul searching led to smart phones being silenced more, radios turned off occasionally during commutes, and Sunday afternoons less crammed with activity. Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to the problem of “busyness”, but I’m confident the Lord will provide guidance when asked.