Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting off the Treadmill of Life

Steve, a pastor friend of mine, and I were having a discussion recently about the busyness of life and how it is so difficult to get off the "treadmill" at times. During our chat, he shared with me something that he practices. He tries to “divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually.”

I said, “What does that mean?”

He went on to share that he attempts to schedule down time each day (divert daily) whether it be going to the mall for an hour during the day or working out or just closing his eyes and being quiet for five minutes. He said this helps him to remain focused and avoid fatigue during the day.

He continued that he tries to unplug for a longer period of time once per week. He said this is his Sabbath day as given to us by God in the 10 Commandments:

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work… (Exodus 20:9).

Steve then shared that he does not consider this a super spiritual day. He doesn’t spend the entire day meditating on God’s word. He sees it as a break from the normal routine of work.

This is something I began practicing a little over a year ago. Do I always get it right? No. But Sundays (which are my Sabbath) have been fun days for me and I really look forward to them. I believe this period of rest is very beneficial to me and my productivity the rest of the week.

Then on an annual basis, Steve abandons his normal life. For him this is different from a vacation. What he does is schedule a trip with two or three of his close friends who live in different parts of the country. They rotate each year to a location near one of them to make it fair. Here are Steve’s words to describe what this week looks like:

“It is a time completely devoted to spiritual renewal. The days are given to study and reading and talking with each other about what the Lord is revealing to each of us. It truly is a time of iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17).

The day usually starts with each person having their own quiet time which naturally flows into discussion about various insights each of us might be receiving from the Lord. At times we help each other with preparation for business, ministry or personal direction for the next year.

We usually kick back during the evenings with little to no structure. We may go to dinner, play cards or go to a movie.”

This discussion has really challenged me to step up my game when it comes to chilling out. I am currently trying very hard to incorporate this into my schedule and so far it has helped me a great deal. And the thing that amazes me is that even when I do take a break from work, the world keeps on rotating! Imagine that!

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46:10a

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