Too often we think we're indispensable. Or we believe that we have to be busy, productive, efficient to have worth. It's that basic belief that leads many of us into the hot water of "over-commitment". We have these notions about things that need to get done, whether we've created the list ourselves, or have been handed it by another. They are all "important" things, and the assumption seems to be that if we don't do it, it won't get done. And maybe that's the truth. But I think that's why this quote from Henri Nouwen really struck me this week:
Over-Committed Seeks Sabbath
In general we are very busy people. We have many meetings to attend, many visits to make, many services to lead. Our calendars are filled with appointments, our days and weeks filled with engagements, and our years filled with plans and projects. There is seldom a period in which we do not know what to do, and we move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, or do are worth thinking, saying or doing. (The Way Of The Heart - Henri Nouwen).
Did you catch the last part of the last sentence? "...we move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say, or do are worth thinking, saying or doing". BOOM. Well, that's how I felt when I read it. Many of us have found ourselves stuck in a routine that keeps us perpetually busy, and we don't have (or take) the time to sit down and say "is this really WORTH thinking, saying or doing?".
I was given the gift of going on vacation last week, one that took me away from the computer - the internet - the e-mail - my cell phone - television - commitments - responsibilities - the hectic life I had come to know over September and October. It was absolutely glorious. I spent time resting and relaxing, allowing God to renew my weary soul. In the busyness of the past two months I had become THAT person - the one who is constantly going, with no time for Sabbath, and I had begun to think that I had to do all this stuff, and that it was because of me that things were getting done. I needed to be there, I needed to do that, I was making things happen. There was probably a good amount of "holy" pride in it too. How quickly life eroded to chaos, a chaos I wasn't truly aware of, or didn't want to attend to, because I was too busy to stop and think about it. Or maybe, I didn't want to know the truth.
A week away from the madness was exactly what was needed to shift my perspective, to humble me, and remind me that life goes on, even when I'm not there. Sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow, but swallow it we must. For me, this past week has helped me refocus my perspectives, review priorities, and ultimately let myself wonder "are the activities of my day worth thinking, saying or doing?" And I've discovered not all of them are. There are better choices to be made. I need to learn to let go of things - the things that I have made more important then they should be. There is Sabbath to be had.
Sabbath reminds us that our worth does not come from how hard we work or how good we are or how much we produce or what people think of us. (Rob Bell)
I want to encourage you to take a moment to stop this week and reflect on what you are thinking, saying and doing, and ask yourself, ask God - is this worth me thinking, saying or doing? And, if you haven't been intentionally taking Sabbath - start! Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath! (Mark 2: 27) Rest, be well, and know that God is God and we are not.