Monday, October 18, 2010

Breath of Fresh Air

Jesus was a breath of fresh air. He was a companion who knew when to go for the challenge and when to rest with His followers.

I often find myself reacting to life rather than responding to it. It wears me down spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Life doesn't have to become merely chaos management, a reaction to the tyranny of the urgent, but it's so easy to slide into that pit, isn't it?

Dallas Willard, one of the great thinkers of our day, wrote that "we have to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives." Easier said than done. For an entire year that was my motto, my resolution. I sought ways to slow myself down and simplify my life. It was one of the best and hardest things I have ever done for my wellbeing.

It turns out,though, that it's a lot like weeding a garden. You have to keep at it because it quickly gets away from you when you stop the diligence! So I'm working at it again, eliminating hurry and decluttering my life, my body, my house, my world. It's become an Autumn tradition to ready my life for the slowing down pace of winter. It's rather fun, actually, and something I eagerly anticipate each year after the long full days of summer.

Taking time to eliminate hurry daily, taking time to refresh and restore weekly, makes setting aside time yearly far less burdensome. It's been worth my struggle to learn good habits.

In the 23rd Psalm it says, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." It doesn't say He invites me or He encourages me or He lets me. It says, "He makes me". Sometimes He must lead me kicking and screaming into quiet green pastures to rest beside still waters for His namesake. Sad, huh? I've discovered that doing my work at a strong and steady pace helps me to enter into rest with a calm and welcome that was absent when I felt my work was always "way behind" and my world was full of chaos.

It shames me to say how often I have worked against having the very rest I needed and wanted the most. Things are different now because I'm trying to be a breath of fresh air in my generation every day. Instead of answering the question, "How are you?" with I'm fine or I'm tired or I'm busy....I'm trying a different answer on for size and finding it fits pretty well.

"You know, I'm rested this week. I've eaten good food. I'm enjoying my time in the Word. My relationships are healthy and I'm enjoying people. I'm doing my work in a passionate and efficient way."

I like feeling strong and ready for each day. Like all of us, my work falls behind, sickness or lack of a good night of sleep happens. None of us will ever "have it all together". It is, however, possible to learn the quiet rhythms of a graceful life. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It makes it much easier to be a breath of fresh air in a dying, hurting world.

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