We live in a rat race of a world. The work is never done. At least mine isn’t. There’s always a dozen more things that could be tackled. The refrigerator contains the one sole loaf of bread in the house, which strongly hints that I have another thing on my to-do list. Right in the middle of planning when to do that I remember about the FB messages from over a month ago that have never been responded to. Or the fact I haven’t practiced piano for three times that long. A look in the ironing basket brings another reminder of yet one more thing to add to the list. And don’t even mention catching up on sitting down and going over income and expenditure. Having spent less than two weeks at home in the last two months doesn’t help, but truth be known, as soon as all those tasks were done I’d realize there were a dozen more. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you because you probably have a dozen things on your to-do list too.
Yeah, we’re all busy like that. Sometimes it feels like it would take a lifetime to finish even the most basic of tasks.
But is that really what a lifetime is for?
Honestly, I think we would never finish all the work even if we had a dozen lifetimes. And though I by no means believe in shirking responsibility, neither do I believe in living in bondage to a list of tasks unaccomplished.
Somehow we have the idea that each day is a space of time to be used to get tasks done. So often my prayers in family morning worship echo my deep down idea of the day… “help us to accomplish all the things that need to be done.”
Wait a minute. When did life ever start to be all about accomplishing and not about enjoying? How is it so easy for me to spend the day running from one task to another and never take a moment to stop and just enjoy being alive?
It’s not like it’s a new revelation. I’ve been here before. But somehow the rat race carries me away and before I know it I’m living one day to the next thinking that I can’t consciously enjoy life until my work is done. Somehow it always seems like that moment of being able to just enjoy life for the gift it is is around the next corner. When we’re home I think I’ll have more time when we’re traveling and the minute we leave home I realize I actually had more time before.
The truth is, that moment that we think is coming around the corner will never come unless we choose to make it happen right now. Even if we were to stumble across a day where we had no work to do, we wouldn’t know how to cherish those moments.
One of my favorite quotes puts it so clearly… “Life is not an emergency. Life is a gift.”
*And another quote from the blog of the same author says simply… "A well-known pastor— he was was once asked what was his most profound regret in life? 'Being in a hurry.' That is what he said. 'Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry… But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.… Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.’”
Truth is, life is meant to be lived not rushed. Simple I know… but not quite so easy to put into action.
There’s no better way to start than to take time to just come aside and enjoy being with Jesus. Not coming to Him with all the things I think He needs to give me. Not like a customer. But as His friend. Purely for the joy of being in His presence.
And so I take quiet hours in the middle of my day to let Him restore my soul. All the journaling I wanted to do but pushed aside because I didn’t think I had time… all those quotes I wanted to read… all those old Spurgeon sermons I’ve been wishing I had time to peruse… all those gifts I wanted to count but thought I had more important things to do… yeah, all of that. I’m catching up on that.
Maybe it’s more important to catch up on all those things that really refresh our hearts than to be forever worried about catching up on those school classes that can really wait a few hours… it’s not that they aren’t important. But sometimes the things we most neglect are the things we need most.
What if He can’t restore our souls until we are still long enough to let Him touch us? After all, the man with leprosy didn’t jerk away and say he had an important appointment before Jesus could touch and heal Him. So really, why do we?
After all, how much can we accomplish at our “appointments” when we are being destroyed by the leprosy of busyness? Perhaps what we really need is to be still and let Him catch us up in His embrace until He becomes more real than all the things that distract us.
Because what if it’s only then that we begin to really live?
*quotes from Ann Voskamp