We’ve all had those days where it seems like not doing the things we plan to do happens more than doing the things. Sometimes this time is rest, other times it carries more mental weight because the dreaded word “should” appears. We feel we should be doing other things with that time. An important work-on for me, is choosing to rest, which can be to do nothing, and accept this as a good decision.
It is really difficult to reconcile choosing to do nothing in my mind. When we are working for someone else it can feel like wasting time if we find ourselves with nothing to do. Even if we’ve finished all our work for a particular day or week, we can try and fill it in with busy-ness, even if these tasks aren’t helping in an obviously usefully productive way. Thankfully, in my current role my managers subscribe to the theory, “if you have finished your work for the day, go home. We’ll try again tomorrow!”
And, there is no pressure to be working at full capacity every day. On days there is a lot of work, yet I work through it slower than other days, there is no one making me feel like I am any worse at my job than I am on the faster days.
To be clear, people do pay attention at work, letting me know when I’ve had a good day or carried out a particularly good piece of work. It’s not the reason I work hard, but it’s nice for it to be noticed.
Another problem I have yet to solve, is working a full week and still finding the energy to write a blog, stories, and poetry, and play guitar and sing. Even when I sleep regularly and decent hours, eat complete and regular meals, and specifically set aside time, some days I just don’t have the perseverance to do what I want to after I finish my paid work.
But there is something important I can remember: Whether I do or I don’t write, whether I do or don’t play the guitar, whether I do or don’t do press-ups, it can be the right choice.
Making a choice with the information we have available, and accepting we have made that choice, can provide a sense of peace.
The biggest thing that stops me being able to embrace rest is owning a mind which is difficult to turn off. When I’m reading, listening to music, or even praying while being still, my mind wanders…
Recently, two things have helped me release my mind’s tendency to wander.
The first is laying down any thoughts of wasted time or misplaced energy to Jesus. To help me, I put on a simple worship song, and listen. No requirements but sit, or lie down, and listen. The music itself offers gentle reminders to focus on God and to release what I need to.
The second, which is linked to the first, is being present when spending time with people, particularly my girlfriend. When she and I are together, fewer thoughts vie for attention in my mind, especially when we spend time in prayer.
A next step is to embrace this feeling of presence in other areas of my life, even when I’m not with others. If I can, I think I will better be able to understand when I’m resting as opposed to spending time unwisely.
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Do you find yourself thinking you should do more sometimes?
How do you respond to this feeling? With hope? Despair? Or something else?
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Most of us aren’t robots, we require rest. The key is to effectively intersperse productive moments between these rest times!
Keep on keeping on being awesome.
Cover photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.