29 November 2011

This is the 3rd in a series of blogs on Rest and Restlessness.

What triggered it was a series of thoughts and readings beginning with Tim Chester's book entitled The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness. But I guess what prompted my reading that was considerable bother about not having time myself to do the things I like or want to do. I used to journal most days. Now almost never into the journal (book). I used to exercise very regularly in a gym. Now almost never. I used to read books regularly, and again that has dropped off to minimal reading. What is or was happening?

Chester lays out six main reasons why people tend to be busy, that is, too busy for me. They are 1) to prove themselves, 2) to meet other people's expectations, 3) to maintain control, 4) due to a preference of business/ pressure, 5) to provide capital by earning more and more, and finally 6) to make the most out of life.

He captivated me with his opening chapter. In regards to rest Chester said, "even our time off can be hard work... leisure has become a thing you 'do' or 'buy.' We relax by going to the gym, driving across town to a late enight movie or spending an afternoon shopping- and nothing is more tiring than shopping! We no longer stroll or ramble; now we hike with walking poles to propel us along. Leisure is no longer rest; leisure is consumption." (page 11) Wow, did that nail me. I play 18 holes of golf a week, and have to work hard to fit that into my schedule. I usually rock up just in time to hit off, while most of the guys I play with average arriving 30 minutes early. I tend to put an appointment on the back end of the round also, thus maximizing my day, but not ever really relaxing. And often will answer the phone while on the course.

We as humanity used to be regulated in work by the daytime and by the seasons. As the industrial revolution hit, we became regulated by the clock. Now we are self-regulated, or not, and thus day is night and winter is summer, and a man I met in Singapore works the graveyard shift in IT servicing the people in his work group who live in the UK and some in the US, on their time zones, not on his.

When I was a kid, in some restaurants, where a family would eat out together, they created a 'drive in' style. This involved the family getting into the family car, and driving to the car park, sit in the car, order a family meal, and then sit in the car to eat it, while a roller-skating server brought things to you on a tray which you affixed to your driver's window. 

But now the drive-in has become the drive-thru, and we cannot even spell through correctly. We are in too much of a hurry. We call it drive-thru and don't sit to eat, we rush to eat. We have to get to soccer or violin practice. We don't have time to relax together. Everyone has commitments. And thus we continue being time-poor.

God said to take the sabbath day off. Literally. Not a figure of speech. To seriously take your watch off, and chill.

It's a faith matter, not a 'works' matter. If I trust God to provide for me in 6 days instead of in 7, then I'm giving 14% of my energy/ time/ money-earning potential away. That's a lot of cash!

We rest, not out of exhaustion, but out of satisfaction. We are finished with the work; we take time to enjoy what we did.

More to come...

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