Welcome To The City That Never Sleeps
In a world of ‘always on,’ it can be easy to fault ourselves for missing an email or forgetting to comment on the social media message du jour. When our phone chirps or hums we are compelled to lunge for the device. If the laptop or tablet flickers, we refresh the screen. No down time here. We are not weaklings. We will not be caught out of the loop. In a flagging job market, difficult economic times, and coffee on every street corner we are told there is no excuse for being uninformed. We need to be in the conversation – no matter what the conversation may be. This is why so many go to bed with multiple devices.
A good deal of the pressure we feel is fear and that can be a healthy motivator. In our cases, it often is not. We are afraid our coworkers will cozy up to the boss while we are away. We can be afraid for a spouse, or family member and exert ourselves too much on their behalf. We can feel afraid that our children will not have enough information or that they will miss a practice, meeting or event. In that state of panic, we turn on the news and learn about another epidemic, another mass of layoffs, another government scandal, another outbreak of violence, yet another tip for success and greatness. This merry-go-round is exhausting!
God Says It Is Break Time
When you read the Bible, it can sometimes feel like the words are completely foreign and pointless – then a word or phrase will leap past your vision and rattle your brain. This is what happened to me a few weeks ago. I was in a meeting of leaders and someone brought up the s-word in the bible. I began flipping through the pages. What I saw squeezed my mind and moved my heart. Far from a foreign language study, the scriptures came ALIVE and impressed themselves upon my spirit. See, contrary to the way we have worked for the past many years, God orders His children to take breaks. Long breaks. He says for us to rest.
Whereas we instruct people to suck it up, go go go, keep the phone on, check your messages incessantly, and all of that noise; God models hard work and complete rest. He creates the heavens and the earth in six days and then He takes a day off. Some might respond that they take the weekend off, but is that really true. Honestly, I find many people are more involved and busy on their days off. We feel the need to catch up on personal stuff and have some fun. Unfortunately for us, fun is hard work, too.
Three Stages of Rest
The concept of rest is very important because our bodies were built with rest in mind. For some, the proof they have not rested is a grumpy attitude, for others it is poor decision-making, many will notice an increase in sickness. We walk around with dark circles, baggy lids, running into each other and then self-medicating with energy drinks, coffee cups, over the counter and prescription drugs. Some even turn to street drugs for an extra kick. We would do well to learn that sleep and inactivity are not enemies. They are weapons to be used with discretion.
There are three stages of rest below. These are the 's-words' borne out in the Bible, but I will elaborate on each briefly:
- Selah – Instead of charging into the fray like a bull in a china closet, there are times when we should pause and reflect. When you receive bad news or are reading something you don’t understand, you might want to use this tool. One of the more neglected times to pause and reflect is when something profound touches your mind. Don’t just read and move on to the next ‘big thing’ or the next important task. Let what you have read or experienced sink into your life and become a part of who you are. Pause. Reflect. Think. Meditate. Take a moment.
- Sleep – This tool ranges from the afternoon nap to evening slumber. Sleep is important for children, it is equally important for adults. Did you know some cultures encourage taking a nap after lunch? Spain calls it a siesta. We think if we take a nap we may hinder our productivity, but one of the most productive and influential men of the twentieth century made this statement:
“You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measures. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one—well, at least one and a half.” -Winston Churchill
- Sabbath – This is more than just a pause or a time of sleep. This is a whole day dedicated to renewal, restoration and retooling. In the Old and New Testament, God’s people used this day to refresh themselves in the word of the Lord, reconnect with their family members and remember the challenges and conquests of days and years gone by. This would be a good tool to reacquaint ourselves with. Besides, it is one of the ten commandments.
I hope this helps you as you tackle this work-week and the weekend that will follow. Don’t get on the hamster wheel or in the maze chasing cheese. That is for people who are fine being reduced to the existence of a machine. Disconnect some this week. You may be surprised to find out that you won’t miss very much at all and you will be refreshed. How good is that? While everyone around is a zombie, you will be awake, alive and invigorated with energy – well rested.
What are your thoughts on this post? Did it help you or open a new way of thinking for you?