I’m interested. I want to know if everyone else feels like I do and they’re just faking it (yes you–are YOU faking it?) or am I the only one?
Just a preface for all you Type-A personalities out there, I like to get things done. I do NOT lay in my bed for endless hours, watch TV or sip tea and eat bon bons all day. Even with the desire to achieve in me, I have to wonder if we’re ALL headed in the wrong direction with the “do more, succeed more” lifestyle standard we set for ourselves (and consequently others). I have to-do lists. I need to do laundry. Regularly. I need to build bookcases. I need to get to work on time. I need to cook for myself. I need to sleep a decent amount so I am worth something the following day. I need to eat. I need to answer texts, emails, Facebook messages, Snapchats, etc. I need to bathe. I need to interact with people. I need to pay bills. I need to organize my room. I need to clean out another one. I need to create more closet space in my typically 80’s style home. (Apparently there was no such thing as a coat or games in the 80’s because they SHOOOO didn’t build closets to stow said coats and games.) I need to read. I need to check in with friends. I need to stain my deck. I need to save money to put siding on my house so it doesn’t look like a haunted mansion year round. I need to volunteer at church. I need to love people better by hosting them in my home. I need to clean [again].
I neeeeeeeeeeeeed Jesus. Without His life and breath in me I cannot do any of these things. And he graciously gives it to me day after day, non-stop. But the thing I’ve been noticing lately is that NO ONE IS GOING TO STOP ME from doing all of those things. If anything, people are going to give me a glare the moment I slip or can’t keep up. I’ve heard that Georgia Power doesn’t like it when you don’t pay your bill on time, although I’ve never personally experienced paying a bill late (pfffft). I’m frankly kind of tired of the people around me enforcing the “work harder” lifestyle with no grace for fragility or a season of life that doesn’t allow for all-the-endless-nights-of-doing-stuff-because-you-think-you-should. (That word is starting another post in my mind.)
I also know that there are MANY things in my life that need to occur in the silence and quiet. I need mental space to plan, not think AND think. I need physical space to rest my body & admit that I am human and can’t run on 3 hours of sleep a night (for a great article on God-glorifying sleep, read this). I need spiritual space to remember, declare and believe truth in the face of many lies AND to just be with Jesus. I think the most difficult thing about defending soul care is that we may be perceived as selfish or under-productive. Do you know who knows if you meet God’s standards of productivity? God. Do you know who judges what is good use of your time at the end of the day? God. Caring for my heart (described in the Bible as mind, will and emotions) is one of the single-most important tasks of my life. Out of it overflows life when I am eating life. Out of it overflows burnt potpourri when I am eating things that look like life but are really killing me inside.
So, my encouragement to you in our “try-harder” world is to look around and ask yourself–not if you’re doing enough but if you’re doing the things that remind you that you are not enough. Only then will you not feel like a burnt-out soccer mom. Or a workaholic dad. Or a piece of Play-Doh stretched so thin that the next time you go through a spaghetti press, you might just end up being Capellini. Maybe say no for long enough that you can examine the question. That’s a start…
P.S. If you’re scoffing at this article and thinking that I’m a single (another post) idealist with too much time on my hands, please, PLEASE take the time to read the Gospels and discover what Jesus did on the urgent days in his ministry. People died. They were left without an answer. Mary was rewarded with Jesus’ presence and Martha went on wondering why Jesus would not “be in” the things that she was side-tracked doing. Surely if Jesus can trust God’s sovereignty for the people’s lives who He left “hanging in the balance”, we can too.