Why is it so much easier to schedule myself to death than make space for things that are really important?
A logical question with a very obvious answer. If it’s that important, just do it.
Autumn feels like the beginning of a horse race around here. The bell sounds, the gates go up and the horses are flying to claim a place in the moving crowd. Time is the value here.
It’s all about who crosses the finish line first.
The pressure on animal and jockey is huge. Those riding will do whatever it takes to get their mount across the line to claim first place. Even if it means using a whip on an animal that’s running its heart out.
I’m not a horse racing fan, but this is what my days feel like now. The bell has sounded, and there’s a lot of ground to be covered.
The only problem is I’m both horse and jockey. Cracking my own whip of expectations to be able to produce more. Win or lose, there’ll be another race tomorrow. And the next day.
Culturally we equate the relentless, self-sacrificing worker with the better worker. The more hours you put in, the more you sacrifice for the job, the more you’re appreciated.
Who doesn’t want to be appreciated?
So I live my life by the clock. Or in spite of the clock. Do more, no matter what it costs.
The irony is I do this to myself. I’m the taskmaster.
I’m not proud of it. Not even sure why I do it except there is always more to do. Good stuff. Meeting with really great people. Helping others figure out more about themselves. It’s a great job.
But I find it hard to relax. To turn my head off at night. Incomplete thoughts buzz around like angry bees in their hive. I read in bed before I fall asleep, but then story lines cross with people lines and create odd pairings in my dreams.
We’ve a huge live oak tree in our back yard that has become a reflection of rest for me. It stands next to a pond that has, at different times, been home to ducks, otters, tons of fish and the occasional alligator. Deer come to drink from it.
It points me to slow and steady. To recognize some of the greatest growth in my life has happened when I’ve taken time to be. To think instead of do. To be aware of what’s happening around me instead of being so caught up with my inner unrest.
Jesus didn’t hurry. He accomplished everything He set out to do–He claimed, “It is finished.” on the cross. He took time for people, to care, to heal. The culture was different, but folks back then worked as hard as anyone today. Without excess time for leisure.
We’re losing so much by rushing through life, filling time with activity that doesn’t help us. We need a pause button. To take time to say hello to a stranger. To laugh for the sheer joy of being in the moment. To rest our hearts.
That’s worth pondering.