The other day I wrote a list of things I needed to complete in the day. They were a blend of work and personal items and ran along the lines of “finish budget, planning meeting, compile report, birthday invitations for Jasmine, teachers’ gifts, drs appt, grocery shop….and so on”. I looked at the list and felt exhausted. I made a mental note that the next list I wrote would have “me time” factored in too but laughed at the silliness of the thought. Who has time for downtime?
We are in a society that has somehow made “downtime” or “me time” to be perceived as lazy. There is a perception that people who are so busy that they have every minute of their days allocated to an activity are more valuable/important/clever than those who don’t. But here’s the kicker.
Personal growth does not happen while you are ticking off “to-do’s” from your list. Yes, you may find some growth in facing and dealing with challenges in your day but growth comes in space.
The space to reflect and rest, to let your mind off the fast paced pedal.
Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me all you are who are weary and I will give you rest.” God is the most valuable/important/clever presence in our lives and He does not have a to-do list. He just loves us. God wants the best for us, and in the same way that he declared the Sabbath, He knows that rest is important to our survival and growth.
We have a very questioning daughter, she wants to know why the sky is blue and why we can’t breathe under water. I love her questions but when I am tired from a day of list-ticking and she asks me another colourful question I feel I simply don’t have the energy to engage in a “but why” discussion. I am sure that every parent can share in this conflict of interest. If I am too weary to think about the “but why’s” then what does that mean for my spiritual well being? If I am not feeling rested enough then how can I engage with the words of the Bible?
Each year becomes busier, more demanding and stressful unless you actively seek to change it. God calls us to Him when we are weary – it’s an invitation we should not refuse. Finding gaps in your weeks will not happen by chance – you must plan them. Your relationship with God, your family and your health should be the top of your priority list and they should feature in your daily task lists too. Mark a weekend off in your calendar for a “home holiday” and spend the weekend in a fort made of sheets in your lounge with your kids or camp in your garden. Allocate 15 minutes of your day as “free-me time” and use it to do absolutely nothing. It’s liberating (I must admit that I battled with feeling guilty about doing nothing… but I’ve recovered from that now). Like a plant that needs a bigger pot to grow you will see the benefits of giving yourself a bit more space. Plan to give yourself time to rest. Make time for downtime. And build a fort. It’s fun.