Home
About
Archives
Photography
Mailings
Links
Contact


A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Meltdown

March 21st, 2006

“I never get a vacation. I need one, but I never get one.”

“I need sleep. I’m not getting enough. When I can’t fully recharge with a good night’s sleep, work is overwhelming.”

“I’d love to take a nap. But I have so much to do that I feel guilty taking one.”

That’s what I heard today from three different people. Can you relate?

Last summer our immediate and extended family gathered in Texas for a few days. Amarillo isn’t terribly scenic, unless you’re a fan of endless wide open flat space. I’ve seen parking lots with more hills. Yet the change of scenery was good for me. There’s something about a road trip beyond your own city limits that helps you relax. Even familiar things are better on the road. DQ’s all use the same recipe for their ice cream but for some reason a Chocolate Covered Cherry Blizzard at the Dairy Queen in Holbrook just tastes better. Driving down I-40, watching the sunset in the rear view mirror as the moon came up over New Mexico, I was able to unwind a bit.

I arrived back home a few days later to find that my air conditioner decided to take a vacation, too. The internal fan blower had burned out. It was 94 degrees in the house. This is Phoenix and everyone knows it’s a dry heat. Funny how a dry heat can make you sweat so much. An expert repairman and $327 later, the Freon was once again pumping through the coils and the new fan blower was working to cool down the house.

That’s when I noticed the top of my piano. Draped over the photo of my great grandparents was a tired looking candle. It was standing tall when I left. Now it looked exhausted. Prolonged 94 degree temperatures will do that to a candle. A few days of constant heat and it can’t stand up anymore.

meltdown.JPG 

We are a culture of perpetual motion. If we aren’t going to, we are coming from, before heading off to the next so we can get back in time for the last. We wear “busy” as a badge of honor. Activity equals worth. Or so we tell ourselves. “Doing” has become our identity. If you think differently, what are the first three questions you ask of someone newly introduced to you?

What is your name?

Where do you live?

What do you do?

If the answer to the latter is a title dripping with importance and loaded with intrinsic activity, are we not impressed? We understand doing. We can relate to doing. The fact that we feel more confident when we can boast in our high activity is proof that busyness is tied to our identity. Being able to list our accomplishments, be they heroic or mundane, is one way we justify our place on the planet. Our conversations with others are often a recital of tasks completed and jobs unfinished.

When’s the last time one of your “what did you do this week?” conversations include the book you’re reading? The time spent in your garden? The time spent sitting in your backyard watching the squirrels and the hummingbirds?

I know, it’s been a while for me, too.

Certainly living a responsible life includes the duties of work and caring for others. God wants us to be good stewards of our time and talents. He appreciates hard work and honest effort. But God knows that non-stop activity in the schedule creates heat. Constant heat will at some point cause a meltdown. That’s why God built one day of rest into the week. One day in seven to not “do”. A day to just “be”. If God thinks rest is a good idea, why don’t we take Him up on it?

Sometimes life comes at us in bursts and flurries and leave us more drained than usual. Pastor Hank Elgersma, now enjoying the wonders of heaven, once offered wise counsel to me during a particularly stressful time in my life. He said, “Todd, sometimes the most godly thing you can do for yourself and everyone else is go take a nap.” He was right.

As you go through this week, be aware that “doing” isn’t a substitute for “being”. You’ll never get everything done. There will be unfinished tasks in your in-box the day you die. Your worth isn’t based on what you do. Your worth is established by God. He loves you unconditionally. And He knows your frame. He didn’t build you to serve a non-stop schedule. He knows that regular rest will keep your internal fan blower from burning out.

So make time this week to do something godly for yourself and everyone around you.

Go take a nap.

It’s more fun than a meltdown.

“…so on the seventh day God rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” – Genesis 2:2-3