Busy, busy, busy. Time starts now- better get everything done. We’re having a party, they’re having a party. What are we going to do tomorrow? We live in a nation of ulcers and panic attacks and sleepless nights and everyone just…needs…to slow…down.
I lived in Haiti for about a year and a half, and I remember how hard it was to adjust to the different pace of life when I first moved there. Here in America, and in many other similar cultures, we seem to be slaves to busyness. In Haiti, on the other hand, things started when people got there and definitely not before. Schedules hardly ran anything, and once you adjusted to that pace of life, you found yourself much calmer and much more rested.
Since moving back to the States a few years ago, I have readjusted to the way of life here. Life is busy, there are lots of things to do, and I found myself exhausted. I thought about how much I had done, how much there was to do, and I just wanted some time to relax. I think of myself as a good optimizer. I optimize my time, my schedule, and many things in my life. With that, I feel like I am a great time manager. So, what was wrong?
I began to consider the last time I had had a whole weekend off. It had been a long time. Our culture celebrates busyness and those that make time to refuel are sometimes scoffed at- as if they just don’t have “enough to do” or somehow have the kind of life you could never have and have the “luxury of rest”. The truth is, though, people who live with a consistent time for refueling have chosen to live that way. It doesn’t happen by accident.
In that moment, I realized I needed to reclaim my time. After Jon Acuff issued a challenge to “do summer”, I decided my project was going to be spending 15 minutes a time on my schedule Monday-Friday and work on making my Saturday & Sunday work-free days. Now, believe me, I know the summer is typically full of small excursions and family trips for all of us, and that can contribute to the busyness, but the basis of my project was simply changing the way I had allowed myself to think. No longer were Saturday and Sundays going to be eligible days for work duties, and to start with, I was going to make sure I had at least one completely free day every week. In that free day, it was time for rest, fun, family, and friends. No work. At all.
Perhaps you think this is a ridiculous idea, but even God took a day of rest of the seventh day. This is the basis of the Sabbath- a day of rest. Rest is vital to the body, spirit, and mind. We need rest, we need downtime, and we need to be less busy. In fact, having some time to just rest can make you more efficient in your work or “busy” time.
So, today, I am issuing you a challenge- decide to reclaim your time. Make the decision to no longer let “to do”s govern your life. There will always be things to do and ways to be busy, but surely a day of the week to not do any work is important for all of us. As I recognized- if we have “too much” to do in 6 days, we have too many commitments, and it is time to start reshaping those, too.
Taking a day of rest is not foolish or unrealistic. It is vital to our wholeness and happiness. God Himself knew this and instituted a day of rest. I encourage you to make the choice to change your schedule and change your habits and create at least one day of the week for rest, pleasure, and fun. We don’t have to be victims of society- we can decide what we want to do with our time. Take the challenge. Reclaim your time!