I’m a huge proponent of it, in theory. I see its value for other people. I just can’t seem to figure out how to do it myself.
What’s undone weighs heavily on me. I can’t escape the feeling I’m not doing enough. My to-do list looms before me daily.
Draft a blog post. Call a struggling friend. Write a thank you note. Schedule a doctor’s appointment. Work on a talk. Figure out how to use Evernote. Plan a graduation party. Purge the file cabinets. Finish the girls’ scrapbooks (from 10 years ago).
I’m ashamed to admit it, but a good day to me is defined by getting things accomplished on my list. Not the people I’ve touched. Not the time I’ve spent with God. Not the things I’ve learned. Just what I’ve done.
But what am I accomplishing with all my busyness?
I had been sitting with this question for months, when a friend mentioned Jesus’ rhythm of life. He changed the world in His three years of public ministry. Yet He also knew when to rest.
So I started looking at the life of Jesus, how He spent His days, as detailed in the Gospels.
Jesus never seemed hurried, though He was inundated by people with urgent needs. Much of the time He was surrounded by crowds, with barely enough time to catch His breath. Events happened quickly, tumbling one after the other. He went from preaching in a synagogue to casting out a demon to healing a sick friend to ministering to the whole city gathered at His door at sundown. And this was just one day! (Mark 1:21-34)
But after this one day, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
After ministering to others, and before pouring Himself out again, Jesus left everyone and spent time with God. This pattern is repeated throughout the Gospels.
After John the Baptist’s death, Jesus said to the disciples, “’Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31-32, italics mine)
Jesus knew that when the disciples were physically and mentally exhausted, too busy even to attend to their own physical needs, it was time to withdraw and rest.