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Day of Rest

3 May

Years ago, Sundays were different than they are today. Most stores were closed, there were few, if any, local events, and there wasn’t much to do but rest, go to church, and spend time with friends and family. It was often a day when families would gather together for Sunday dinner, and spend time catching up. It was a day when we didn’t work, and when we took things more slowly. It was a day at the end of a busy week when we rested – we took a pause. But things were different then. We were different then.

Today, virtually every mall and store is open on Sunday, and there are lots of places to go, and things to do. Some families still gather for a traditional Sunday meal, but it isn’t as common as it once was. For many of us, Sunday is just another day. We shop, we work, we go to sporting events, it’s pretty much like any other day of the week. The old fashioned day of rest now looks like all our other days. We stay busy, and resting isn’t part of the equation.

Times change. Change isn’t always bad, but it is inevitable. Sundays are different now. If we practice a religion where Sunday is set aside, we may still reserve it as a day of rest. If we don’t, we may be just as busy on Sunday as any other day. If that’s the case, when can we set aside a day to rest? In our super charged society where we are so busy all the time, where there is never enough time to get everything done, where it seems we are constantly encouraged to do more, when do we recharge? When do we take a pause to reset and rest? We know we need the time for ourselves so we can be at our best, but if we don’t purposely schedule our lives for it, it slips away, and is lost. We just keep going. The result can be that we get burned out, exhausted, and fed up.

Every day we push ourselves to do more, to be more, and to get more done. But we are human beings, we get tired, and we need to take a break. We deserve to take a break. There’s a tandem relationship between pushing forward and taking time out. The best way to get ahead is to make sure we are strong and prepared, and the best way to do that is to take time to relax. If we make the time to STOP a priority, it will make us more energetic when it’s time to go again.

Today, think about scheduling a day of rest each week. Sunday is a good day for that, but if it doesn’t work with your schedule, choose another. But make it a priority. Make it important. Put it in your smart phone, write it in your day planner, and block it out of your calendar. Set the time aside to restore yourself, to rest, to reflect, and to recharge. Maybe just spend the day doing nothing. Maybe spend time with friends or family. Whatever it takes to refresh your body and spirit – plan for it and follow through. If you do, you’ll feel better, you’ll be stronger, and your focus will be clearer. You’ll be restored and ready to face whatever comes next. Our lives are busy, and sometimes challenging. We give, and give, and give. It’s time to give to yourself. Plan for it.

Looking for the light.

8 Apr

So many times when heavy decisions are looming, we find ourselves searching, trying to find answers, trying to find direction. We are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, the right way to go, the directions to get to the happy ending. It can be very difficult when others are involved, especially if the decision we make will affect them. We try to figure it out on our own, sometimes we ask others, we weigh the options and the consequences, we calculate the loss or gain, we stumble around, and eventually, for better or worse, we make a decision. Sometimes we actually get it right. Sometimes not. It isn’t easy. After all, there are a lot of things to consider. There are a lot of paths from which to choose. We can’t read the future so we do the best we can.

Maybe you’re struggling with a big decision. Maybe you’ve been struggling with it for some time, for months, maybe even years. Do you go this way or that way? What if you did this? What would happen? What if you did that? What would happen? Which way is right? It can be hard to figure out, and you may be frustrated that you haven’t found the answer. In some instances, either way you go, someone will get hurt, and that just makes the decision harder. The indecision hurts, and you want to let it go. You want to move forward and put this behind you but you feel stuck.

Take some time to stop weighing everything and worrying about outcomes, and just sit for a moment and let your mind rest. Let yourself take a break from the analysis, take some time away to just feel and not think. Pay attention to what you’re feeling. Are you unhappy, are you frustrated, are you unsettled, are you confused, what are you really feeling? Take a little while to just let it go, stop intellectualizing, and just breathe. Just stop for a while. If you give yourself a space, a time when you don’t really have to think about it, you may find the answers will begin to come. You may begin to see some light. You may find the direction you’ve been seeking, and start to see what you need to do.

Looking for the light when we’re struggling in the dark can be daunting. Sometimes we see glimmers that look like the answer, but then they fade. Sometimes we feel sure we’re on the right track, and then it turns and doesn’t fit. Sometimes we just need to stop and let the light find us. Life isn’t easy. It isn’t always a picnic. It’s complicated. But if we take a moment and just rest, just stop, the answers may come. Look up. Keep looking up. Take a moment. Rest. Be still. The answer is just ahead.