I love Google. It is my go-to source for all kinds of random information. So when I was thinking about the concept of “enough” as it pertains to what I do and how I do it…I did a Google search to see how much of the time God has given me (and others including you) that I spend working. The average person spends from 30% to 1/3 of their life working. The key word in that sentence is “average”…which is 40 hours per week. That alone is a lot of time out of my life spent in “work mode”.
When you look at your “work week” where do you fall? Average number…Below Average…Above Average – number of hours?
BUT I AM NOT AVERAGE
BUT … and it is a BIG BUT … that was not and is not me … I am not average. I work a lot more than 40 hours a week. For me there are three (3) things that drive this above average work week. One is the fact that I really don’t make white space / down time / free time a priority. Two is that I am a perfectionist. Three is I have real trouble saying “no”.
I will talk about each of these three (3) things … one blog at a time. For today, I want us to talk about the priority of white space / down time / free time (I will just call is “space” … because I don’t want to keep writing all three of those words).
HARD TO BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT BUILDING SPACE IN MY LIFE
It is so hard to even think about intentionally building space into my life. I am a list maker – an on-paper handwritten list maker. My lists fall into two categories.
List One is the “main” list for each important aspect of my life
passion project #1 – residential assisted living for seniors
passion project #2 – long term coaching/mentoring for women coming out of abusive situations
ministry – Celebrate Recovery
and on each list I set out my goals for the next months. (And “no” the order of the list does not tell you how important any of these aspects are to me.)
List Two is the “to do” list – what I want to accomplish this coming week. Every Sunday evening I sit down at my desk and make the “to do” list for next week.
I am a list maker. How do you keep track of the goals you have for each area of your life?
THAT’S A WHOLE LOT
But I have to be honest … as I am looking at this set of eight (8) areas of my life … a part of me is saying … ‘that’s a whole lot … how in the hell can you talk about “space” with all that on your plate? You didn’t even put it (“space”) on the list as one of the main aspects of your life!’ And maybe that is the point of talking about it with you. I am definitively in need of “space”.
As I was thinking about my “why” behind not building “space” intentionally into my life … I am tempted to say that it is because I have so much to do. And I have so much to do because I have been blessed with eight (8) important aspects of my life … all but one of which I don’t want to give up. And there is truth in that thought process … I am blessed to have work that I love … I am blessed to have discovered and created my passion projects … I am blessed to serve in a life changing ministry … I am blessed to have a handful of 3:00 a.m. friends … and I really like and love my family.
BUT UNCOMFORTABLE WITH CONCEPT OF “SPACE”
I think that a part of me is uncomfortable with the concept of “space” … which I think of as just “doing nothing”. For part of me translates doing nothing into negative connotations of laziness and idleness. But science has proven this to be a lie.
“The truth is that if our lives are over-cluttered and over-booked, we can’t focus properly on anything. What’s more, this way of working actually shrinks our ability to think creatively.” To quote from essayist Tim Kreider who wrote in The New York Times "Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."
When I think about “space”, the thoughts are that I am just “doing nothing”.
When you think about “space” – about “doing nothing” – what words come to mind?
ANOTHER “BIG” PERSPECTIVE TO CONSIDER
While science backs up the need for space … there is another BIG perspective that I have to consider. God set the importance of rest (i.e. “space”) in the Bible. First in the description of the creation of the world in Genesis. He rested on the seventh day. Then in the giving of the Ten Commandments He again emphasized the importance of rest.
Do we really think He rested because He was tired? Do we think He commanded the Sabbath to kept because He needed a day off each week? NO!! He rested to set a standard for me / for us to follow.
DO I TRUST GOD FOR HIS PROVISION FOR ME?
And underlying that example/commandment of rest goes to my trust in God and His provision for me. If I really trust God … I do not have to be driven to check off everything on the to-do list … a list that will, unless I am intentional, fill every moment of my time. I will do my best … I will do enough … I will leave “space” … and trust that He will provide.
But if I don’t really trust God … then I had better get everything on that never ending to-do list checked. “Space” … who can afford to take the time … there’s too much to do!
So bottom line … my and your schedules … reflects my / your trust in God and His provision.
NOT AT THIS TIME
My schedule does not, at this moment, reflect the level of trust in God and His provision that I would like to have. What about you? What does your schedule say about your trust in God?
As a work in progress … my prayer is … “God, let me never doubt your love and provision but trust you to provide every blessing”. What is yours?