Day 10: On What are you Resting?

Saturday schedule grid at BarCampLondon 5

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Let’s have a brief chat here, shall we?

You’re tired. I know you’ve done your make-up so those shadows under your eyes are camouflaged, but when I look deep into your eyes, I see the weariness. There was a moment, when the conversation swirled around someone else and you sorted of drifted off to another place. Not asleep, though that’s happened at times, too. A glaze separated us and you, just briefly.

I want us to be real enough friends that it’s okay to admit you’re tired. Like a group of girls I used to meet with every other week, let’s let it be okay to show up in sweats or even our pjs. We’re all pretty worn at times; let’s stop trying to hide it.

I spent some time with a mom of two young children recently and she was exhausted, but young ones need looking after, her lack of rest is not by choice.

But sometimes it is by choice, like my busy schedule this week. There are valid things that need or ought to be done, but I waste a little time on Facebook or play a couple more rounds of Temple Run 2. Or I might suddenly decide that the junk mail really needs to be sorted out, right now, and then I’m late to an appointment. I manage to reach one deadline successfully, only to realize that two more fell through the cracks.

Why do we run ourselves ragged? Why, when we are already stretched thin, do we spend valuable time on worthless activities, that neither help us cross off another item on the to-do list nor give us a moment of rest?

I’m not sure I know the answer to this one. If you have a theory, feel free to share it in the comments.

What I suggest we think about in this moment is not why we add things to our daily tasks, but what are we filling our days with. When you look at all the things you have to do and all the things that distract you, what do they center around?

Are they things that will make you look good in front of your colleagues, friends, or family?

Do you do them so you will be seen as successful or to get rewarded at the office?

Do you keep doing the same activities because it’s what you’ve always done?

Are they things you enjoy doing?

Does a never-ending to-do list make you feel like you are in control?

Are you worried what might happen if you didn’t have every minute of every day scheduled?

I just started reading Timothy Keller’s book, Counterfeit Gods, where he explores, as the subtitle says, the empty promises of money, sex, and power, and the only Hope that matters. He talks about idols in the book, which many would think refers to statues or replicas of something to bow down to and worship, but Keller refers to an idol as, “something that we look to for things that only God can give.”

I flipped ahead a little and found where Keller offers four ways to determine what our idols might be. He suggests considering what you spend your mind on what your mind go to when you find yourself alone, what themes repeat in your daydreams. Another way is to browse through your checkbook and see how/where you spend your money. Spending patterns will reveal our idols. A third test is to look at when you have unanswered prayers, frustrated dreams or unrealized hopes. When you don’t get something you really wanted and you lose it emotionally, whether by anger or despair, that points toward your functional savior. Yet another way is to review where you lose control of your emotions. Look at the moments when you experience strong anger, fear, despair or guilt.

So what do we do when we look at the busyness in our lives and realize it’s because we are functioning as if these things were our gods? Confess these things and try harder next time? Yes, and no. Repenting of putting money, sex or power before God and continuing to grow in grace are necessary but only part of the equation. We must learn to view Jesus as more beautiful, more worth striving for than these empty idols that will never satisfy. We must replace these counterfeit gods with the one True God.

Do this, and you can bet you will feel restful, even with a busy schedule.

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Can you believe it’s Day 10 of the 31 Days already!?! Click the button to find links to every post in the series.

And I don’t say it often enough, but thank you for reading my posts day in and day out. I know a few of you are faithful readers, some who don’t comment often, but you’re still here and it means so much to know that you are. So thank you.

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5 Comments

  1. Excellent post dear Janice!!! We always tend to put everything else first in our lives and God last, making everything else more important than He is…We don’t see the idols we build and worship. We focus more on them than Him…AS you stated we must replace these counterfeit gods with the One and True God!!! Many blessings to you my dear sister!! xoxo

    Reply
    • It’s a blind spot for most of us, we sometimes just don’t see how we are replacing God with worthless things. Great comment, Natasha!

      Reply
  2. Needing to rest in the one true God! Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  3. Ethel Mller

     /  October 11, 2013

    As I was reading your post about beng so busy, 2 thoughts came to my head, The first was the vision of a gerbil running on the treadmill and getting nowhere. The 2nd was so many people “plugged” into music, something. It’s like there has to be noise, anything, every second or something will happen. YES, something will happen. Maybe you might have an intelligent thought or God might reveal Himself to you. That’s why I feel your topic this month is SO IMPORTANT. If we will just STOP a minute, we might just find what our hearts have been yearning for — Jesus who has promised us REST. Not then, but NOW!! Thanks, Janice, you keep on talking to us abot this. I’m listening.

    Reply

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  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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