Permission Slip

My daughter was too sick to go to practice.  This required me to fill out a permission slip, explaining why she needed to stay home from this “mandatory” part of her life.  I felt sad that being sick was her only reason to rest, but I realized this is exactly the example I had been setting.

We live in a culture that stresses the concept life is short, play hard.  It’s a culture where fine is not acceptable, we must strive for amazing.  We even have scorecards (thanks, social media) to make sure we’re not falling behind in the game of a well-rounded life.  It doesn’t seem to matter what area of my life I’m focusing on…the advice is the same.  For real results, it needs to become part of my daily routine.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Exercise daily for lasting results!

To become great, you must practice every day!

If you want to really learn it, you’ll need to study daily!

Make prayer and meditation a daily habit to stay centered!

To be happy, express gratitude every day!

Get out in nature every day to feel refreshed!

To avoid feeling lonely, spend time with friends and family daily!

Make time to play every day!

These are all good things, and I haven’t even mentioned the must-dos like work, cooking, and cleaning.  Having a well-rounded life often leads to overflowing days!

As a naturally productive person, I thrive on full days and enjoy the art of scheduling my well-rounded life.  It feels complete, diverse, and happy.  But after running full speed on the daily treadmill of well-rounded living all week, I’m just exhausted – mentally, physically, and spiritually.  I feel as if I need a permission slip!

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work…for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”    ~Exodus 20:8-11

This is much more than a permission slip – it’s actually part of the Ten Commandments!  How often I forget that just as God commanded me not to murder, He also commanded me to rest!

Why is it so easy to take the other commandments seriously, but this one gets pushed down the to-do list after “take out the garbage”?

Why do I spend so many Sabbaths flitting around my family doing chores, envious of their guilt-free ability to nap and watch football for hours?

Why does saying “I can’t, I have to work,” feel acceptable while saying “I can’t, I have to rest,” feel like failure?

I often choose my way (be epic!) instead of His way (be still!), making life harder than it needs to be.  I’m repeatedly learning that if I just follow His ways, it can be blessedly simple.  And I crave simple!

After many failed attempts to seriously rest with the Lord for an entire day, I finally had to trick my checklist-loving self with a rest-list.  When I am tempted by work, I respond with a familiar intensity but fresh reasons.

“I can’t, I have to read my Bible.”

“I can’t, I have to watch the game with my family.”

“I can’t, I have to take a nap.”

When I feel weak, I remind myself that my Supervisor commanded this rest, and I refuse to let Him down.

Continuous success requires questioning my to-do list, adjusting my family’s weekly schedule, delegating chores, and letting go of some unnecessary things.  But the tradeoff is worth it!

rest

Getting the rest I need doesn’t hurt my productivity, it fuels it.  Rest has become so important to my soul that I fiercely protect my Sabbath Day from any demands.

The next time I’m tempted by the world to stay on my daily treadmill, I’ll simply hand over my permission slip from God.  He’s my perfect reason to rest.

“Be still and know that I am God…”

~Psalm 46:10

 


3 thoughts on “Permission Slip

  1. Truly, rest is one of the best gifts that God gives us, every day. A gift given at the beginning of the world, as the world was created, rest really heals what most of the world needs healing from. But in knowing that, it helps to remember that there is rest in the modern world and there is rest as rest was meant to be. A true “rest” means cutting off all the electronics, shutting the computers, the phones, the everything run by electricity or by batteries, and cutting off all the lights. (Leave a night light on a an eye mask (for safety nightlights are good or small lamps). Truly enjoy rest as it w meant to be, a rest from the action, from the lights, from sounds of our very, modern, bustling world. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! I’m still a long way from true rest, inching toward it with baby steps. The first step – realizing it was possible and even required. That’s how far gone I was. But I’m on my way back, and your words remind me to keep going. Thank you!

      Like

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