Busyness has invaded our lives. Or, maybe we’ve opened the door, widely, in pursuit of wealth and success and leisure and affirmation of our worth. A news article recently wrote that 70% of all workers average less than 8 hours of sleep each night, and with that, productivity drops. Those of us in Southern California especially deal with this, but the problem touches all of America. I’m no exception—even in retirement I have a multitude of projects on the list. I almost wonder what I’ll do when the list gets completed.
That’s part of the reason I like trout fishing—I get away from the congestion and bustle of city life, away from the internet (mostly anyway, but some sites have a little coverage). You can’t rush trout, they bite when they decide, but they seem to prefer early mornings and late afternoons, which almost requires time to sit back, enjoy the scenery, and chill for a bit.
On day before the last trip, when cleaning out the bed of my pickup I tweaked my back, and the slight leaning forward when fishing the stream aggravated it a bit. So I had to fish less and relax and ponder and pray more. Yeah, I still caught a good number of trout, 23 nice ones in just 7 hours on the stream, but the backdrop of blue sky and golden aspen and lush pines and cedars, the Milky Way at night, the gurgle of the stream, all connected me more closely with God and enhanced creativity.
Ironic how productive that chilling was—I crafted 8 Unconventional posts, came up with several magazine article concepts, another book idea, and refined a strategy for writing in 2018. All from kicking back enough to allow my mind and heart and soul to run free.
God created us like this, to kick back at times. One example is the Sabbath day of rest, but how many of us truly practice it? Jesus also got away frequently, leaving the crowds and teaching and healing and miracles to restore his soul. So often, when we get away, it’s a tightly scheduled vacation so crammed with activities that only with difficulty do we hear God’s whisper.
Maybe, for this New Year, for 2018, we can decide to leave some margin in our lives as an antidote to busyness. Maybe we can avoid adding new activities and responsibilities unless we eliminate current ones that match the time and energy expended. Maybe we slow down enough to hear the quiet whispers of God. Maybe.
Kick Starting the Application
Do you sometimes feel rushed, like responsibilities crush you? If so, have you noticed a decreased ability to concentrate and to hear God? How busy are you, and how much uncommitted time do you have each week? When you get away, do you tend to fill the days with nonstop activities? Do you regularly take some time away to just bask with God and listen to him?
Do you sense you need to make some changes in your activities? If so, what standard will you use to prune them? Would it help you slow down if you lowered some of your goals in life?