Everyone loves to sleep in, especially on Saturday morning. But me? No, not when I was a wee lad. I would get up early to watch Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Garfield, all before 10AM. My childhood was pretty awesome.
And what of my Saturday mornings now? Well, at 32, it consists of sleeping until at least 9:00 – 10:00AM, sipping coffee with a dash of cream, eating two bowls of organic granola, and watching Premier League soccer on NBC (Go Liverpool).
The older I get, waking up early on Saturday morning seems sacrilegious. Not only do Saturday morning cartoons pale in comparison to those of the late 80s, but I am more exhausted from the daily grind of life. I’m beginning to believe that Saturday morning was intended for sleep, not watching Sponge Bob…Seriously, this generation’s cartoons are horrible…
Rest is essential for both our physical and spiritual well-being, but are we giving ourselves space to stop accomplishing and room to start healing? In today’s society, have we embraced a culture of success rather than self-discipline?
As I invest more time in my writing outside of my day job, I am learning to be careful with how often I work and rest. Like many, I often believe that I need to work beyond my limits in order to reach my dreams. Yet, when we follow this framework, we often find ourselves exhausted, depressed, and frustrated, especially when all of our hard work doesn’t the reap rewards we imagined.
Recently, the extreme (and dangerous) work life of Amazon employees was revealed in an article by Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld in the New York Times (nyti.ms/1FbZfpU). Throughout the article we learn that Amazon employees often over-extend themselves to succeed, meeting deadlines and climbing the ladder of vocational “accomplishment” while their family/social life is practically non-existent.
What is a career worth?
What are we trying to prove?
Who are we trying to impress?
This also applies to individuals, like myself, who struggle with anxiety and depression. We often find ourselves constantly seeking distractions, hoping to blind ourselves from the surrounding darkness. I can speak with first-hand experience that this is an exhausting enterprise that only delays the pain. Distractions will wear you out. Healing is often found when we rest, not in striving to ignore the mental war within ourselves.
My wife loves naps. When she’s at home, she can often be found on our bed, wrapped in the comforter like a taco. In fact, “Taco” is one of her nicknames for this very reason. She can fall asleep within 5 minutes, while it can take me up to an hour. She’s gifted at rest, let’s put it that way. Me? Not so much. You can often find me wide awake at 12PM, questioning the meaning of the universe or watching baseball. Ya know, important stuff.
When did rest become a bad thing? How can we dream of a better future if we spend all of our time pursuing achievement according to what our society calls “success”? How can we begin healing from our brokenness if we constantly tune it out with distractions?
Rest is an ally. There is nothing to prove; no one to impress.
When all is said and done, we have lived a meaningful life if we seek God, impact others for good, extend grace, and love our enemies. Constant happiness, plentiful wealth, and popularity evaporate like mist over the morning sea.
When we rest we leave room for new dreams, we refocus on what matters, and we give ourselves permission to be content. Rest can be found in seeking help with a counselor, having a refreshing conversation with a friend over coffee, listening to music, reading a book, or simply doing nothing.
Are you striving for accomplishment to the point that you are exhausted, drained, and gasping for breath?
Do you feel like you have something to prove, as if the world is watching you, waiting for you to fail?
The world can wait.