Learning to rest in a world that is full of hustle and bustle is not easy. There is so much to do and everyone I know is “busy.” Here is the problem with being “busy:” Just because you are busy does not mean you are productive. In fact, it may be a clue that you need to re-think what you are doing and how you are doing it.
Most people I know have a lot on their plates. They have to juggle work, family, friends, health, entertainment, and their faith. They work long hours and then have to engage with their family. Even for those that don’t have family, the work is not done when they come home. There is always cooking, cleaning, picking up laundry, taking care of the car, the lawn, etc., etc. Life is just busy. We are one of the busiest countries in the world, but are we too busy for our own good?
Here are some lessons we could learn from the world:
- Two weeks is not enough vacation. That is enough time to get somewhere and start to unwind, but then you have to go back to work just as you were starting to chill out. I know some countries have vacation time that lasts over 30 days as policy. I am not sure what the magic number would be for us, but two weeks does not cut it.
- New Mom’s need time to bond and care for their kids. I don’t know what is reasonable for someone to be gone from work and take care of their child, but I know that too many women have to come back to work before they are ready.
- Some countries have 4 day work weeks. I love that idea. I personally would be in favor of that, but I realize it gets tricky because our country is focused on 40 hours a week as being “fulltime.” Spreading the 8 hours missed over the 4 days worked has problems as well. Perhaps we need to re-define what fulltime is.
- Working two, three, or four jobs at once may be necessary in emergencies to make ends meet, but it should not become the norm. Even God rested on the 7th day. You can burn the candle at both ends for a time, but eventually you burn out.
There are always going to be times where you have to put in extra hours for work, whether you are a teacher, a lawyer, a fireman, or whatever. Every job will encounter times requiring overtime. That is life. What we have to come to terms with is balancing work with our life. Our work should never BE our life. If that is the case then you need to get a life. Working 50, 60, 70, or 80+ hours a week will take a toll on other relationships, your health, and even your ability to do a good job where you work.
Take time every week to rest. Relax and do something you love doing and don’t stress over all the things on the to-do list. That list will always be there…trust me. Somehow we have to learn the power of rest. We seem to have lost that as a country. By the way, one of the meanings of the word Shalom is “complete rest.” I like that.