On The Importance of Doing ‘Nothing’

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Aided by a couple of days off and a flat mobile phone (thanks to a lost battery charger), I have spent the last three days doing ‘nothing’. I am so used to being busy doing ‘something’ – writing an article, preparing a sermon, running a meeting, dreaming a new idea into being, writing emails, worrying about an unfinished task. But the last three days I have not done a single thing to advance a cause or complete a work task. Instead I have slept for longer than I have slept in a long time, watched multiple episodes of the West Wing, got choked up watching Undercover Boss Australia, played cricket with the family up on Mt Sugarfloaf, seen a movie, read a book, had coffee by the beach, and shared a drink at a local cafe with Sandy and the kids. Tonight we’re having a movie night. It took me some time to really relax, but it’s been glorious.

It’s a welcome respite from what has been a stressful few months, and a previous week that began with work-related lows in Sydney, finished with work-related highs in Melbourne, and between the lows and the highs left me emotionally spent.

I am reminded of the biblical injunction to “rest”:

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Exodus 20

I find it difficult to rest. I have to discipline myself not to check and answer emails and to mentally tune out work tasks. I am, I suspect, a child of the permanently connected 24/7 era. The last three days have reminded me what a gift rest is. To me and to my family. It’s something I am looking forward to building more intentionally into my life.

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