hello monday: vol. 11
Hello, Monday. I've been thinking about the difference between rest and laziness lately.
My word for 2018 is the former — rest. As with most years in the past, it's more apt to say the word chose me than I chose it, though, somewhat appropriate to its definition, the choosing was a slower, quieter sort.
For the last few years, my words — trust, risk, seek, courage — have all been bold and filled with movement and action. The last four years have, appropriately, also been filled with a lot of bold decisions, movement, and action.
Even though rest is still a verb, an action by definition, it's of a verb of a quieter sort, though not necessarily an easier sort.
See, what I realized earlier this year is I'm not particularly good at resting. In fact, I'm not entirely sure I even know how to legitimately rest. I've gotten so used to productivity and efficiency that even when I'm sitting on the couch watching TV, my mind is often still going 100 miles a minute thinking through to do lists and what's coming next down the pipeline.
At the start of the year, I made the decision to invest in a program for my business. The first of three modules begins with an evaluation of your life, not just your business, because the philosophy is that the kind of business you run should be informed by the kind of life you want to live.
I learned, rather quickly, that my core motivator, as the course calls it, is time, which wasn't much of a surprise.
When I began my first post-grad job nearly seven years ago, time was always my frustration. I felt like I was wasting it and I could be doing so many better things with it than sitting in a gray cubicle for eight hours each day. Ultimately, I aim to only be working about 20 hours a week, which sounds crazy to a lot of people.
"What else would you do with your time?" they ask.
Well, things I love and care about — spending more time with the Lord, reading, writing, playing music, traveling, and being with people I love.
It's probably going to take a bit of time for me to actually get my work week down to 20 hours, but even with the prospect of only working 30 or so, as I am right now, I realized that rest is hard for me.
My best friend has to remind me frequently I am human being, not a human doing, because I'm really good at the doing part and not always so good at the being part.
There's always been some big project I've been working on or goal I've been aiming toward, and particularly as a small business owner, there's always something on the to do list. And when there's always something on the to do list, it's hard for me to rest — however that looks — without feeling like I should be doing something else.
What's funny is that, from the outside, it may not appear that I struggle with rest.
Because of my flexible schedule, I'm able to sleep in later than the average person. I read a lot, which is considered by most a leisurely activity and, I will admit, is one of my favorite forms of rest.
But what I've realized lately is that there's a difference between laziness and legitimate, rejuvenating rest, aside from just a negative and positive connotation.
Laziness is a disinclination toward work or activity. It's a state of mind or attitude called out in Scripture as something to guard against and stay away from. Rest, on the other hand, is the intentional choice to be free from activity and anxieties with the aim of being refreshed so you are able to continue in your life and work.
There are a lot of little things about my life lately that have felt kind of off. Part of it, I know, is the weather. Winter is typically a pretty difficult season for me and this year's been worse than most, but it's not an excuse for laziness. And laziness, not rest, is more often the reasoning behind my later wake up times and other seemingly restful activities.
Rest has a purpose. It's not just doing nothing for the sake of doing nothing. We are commanded to work, to be fruitful and multiply, to use our gifts and talents to serve the Lord. Work and activity are good things, but we must balance them with rest and intentionally cease from activity in order to renew ourselves for the work the Lord has given us to do.
Laziness is easy. Rest is not always so. From an outside perspective, they often look the same, but the attitude of the heart and the affect they have on a life is so vastly different. For longer than I'd like to admit, my life has been characterized more by the former than the latter. But this year? This year that's going to change.