I don't have to be the one to tell you this as I know we all feel this way. Andy Stanley puts it best when he says, "The days are long, and the years are short!" This is so relevant for us today.
Recently my wife Sunny and I had a relaxing long weekend (Thanks to the Queen's birthday) in Jenolan Caves, NSW. It was so refreshing and it was exactly what we needed. It helped us reflect on our marriage and reflected on how we wanted to plan for our future. One of the core values we share that I would like to expound on is the importance of rest.
Many of us may be working, studying or volunteering and I believe it is safe to say that in every environment, there is a demand we need to meet. The beauty of rest is that it refreshes and recharges us to give from a place of rest instead of a dry valley.
I'm going to share 3 quick thoughts that I believe could change us if we apply these thoughts:
1. CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT
2. CHANGE THE SCHEDULE
3. CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
1. CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT
Have you ever been in an environment that accumulates stress overtime? I've been working in a primary school for nearly 3 years and I can recount a story that is so practical to this theme. A child came to me in tears and had a face that looked so flustered. I tried to have a conversation with the child but due to the loud environment it was so difficult to connect with him. I asked the child to follow me to the playground and it was there that the child's countenance changed. The tears went away and the words were coming out and a few minutes later he was as chirpy as usual! Walking up from the playground this child went back into the loud environment and thrived in it.
I believe this is so applicable to us today. We tend to go through the motions and not realising that the environments we partake in tire us out overtime. Some environments quicker than others. I would love to encourage you that when you schedule in a holiday, short as a day or as long as a few months, to be in an environment that brings rest and restoration. By not breaking the cycle of our daily lives, I believe it will cause more damage than the productivity as we all strive to achieve the success in our areas of involvement.
2. CHANGE THE SCHEDULE
Look in your calendar right now and see if you intentionally scheduled in a time of rest at least once a week. I know that I am not the only one to fall short in this. In my schedule I have dedicated hours committed to work, to my studies, to my responsibilities in church life, to my photography sessions with clients and yet there is no pocket of time for rest.
If you know me personally, you could attest that I love basketball. The adrenaline I get from watching an intense game from a playoff series reminds me why basketball is such an amazing sport. In basketball along with other sports, there is the 'halftime' that takes place in the middle of the game to give the players and coaches a time of rest. In this block of time, the vision and plays are provided by the coaches, gatorade is given to hydrate the players and a reflection takes place for everyone present to reevaluate how each person is doing in their roles for the game.
The same applies to us. We all need to have an allocated time in our schedules to reflect on how we organise our time, do the things that regenerate us, and to evaluate how happy we are in our lives in this period of time. I personally tend to tell myself, "I have the time to do this at the end of the day after everything is done." But realistically, I feel that nothing is ever enough and that there will always a tension of what you can practically do and what you want to do.
3. CHANGE OUR CONVERSATION
Words are powerful. We've all experienced an instance in our lives when someone said something encouraging to us and uplifted us tremendously. The opposite is true too. A conversation has the ability to uplift or breakdown someone. Words can empower us to take a step of faith into something greater or can cripple us to never walk with confidence again.
In our minds, what kind of conversations do we have with ourselves? It is funny to think about. I find myself to be the toughest critic in the things I do daily. When I was on holidays in the Jenolan Caves, I had to intentionally fight off the conversations in my head of the stressful things waiting for me when I returned back home in Sydney. Why do such thoughts invade my mind in a time where restoration was to take place?
I realised that I had a choice. I had a choice to allow these thoughts to spread out in my mind and affect this trip, or to be intentional when these thoughts come and say, " It's time to change up the conversation." The best thing about my recent trip was that there was absolutely no reception. It forced me to be disconnected from the world and it helped me drastically to be "in the moment" of where I was presently.
A day's rest should be similar to a day with no reception. A disconnection from the norm to be refreshed, and ultimately arriving back into the cycle as a new you. The world may not slow down although we have the ability to slow down our day by taking these thoughts into action.
How do you refresh yourself from a hectic season? Please feel free to share in the comments below.