As we resume from part three my next observation is that I don’t relax enough. I was riding in the car with my sister recently and she casually stated how she’s observed that when I have a goal, I focus my energies no matter what on completing it. I thought it was a good observation. The personal flaw that I have when trying to reach these goals is I lose all sense of balance. I can be locked in my study for hours working on projects without interacting with anyone. I can miss reunions and other family gatherings working and it doesn’t bother me because my mind is focused on reaching my goals. My wife just said to me recently, “Smile. Why are you looking so mean?” She didn’t know that I was immersed in my own world of thoughts trying to work through problems when I was supposed to be relaxed. It has come to my attention that when we are locked into a mindset of work, we don’t really know how to play. I remember taking a trip years ago to a tiny little island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia called Tybee. We would vacation there yearly with friends, rent a big house, and enjoy ourselves. I remember one year we went to the mall in Savannah and we got massages. The massages were given by some nice Asians I believe to be Korean. I sat in the chair and the person began to skillfully message my shoulders and neck, within a few minutes the masseuse said to me in broken English, “You too tense. Relax, relax.” What struck me was that before our trip to the mall, we had been there two to three days and I still hadn’t unwound.
Have you ever taken a day off and still worked? Have you ever taken a vacation and still managed to do some work? Have you sat down at a nice dinner to eat and ended up texting, emailing, or talking business on the phone? Have you sat down at the end of the day to watch a movie and found yourself thinking about what else you needed to do? If you can answer yes to at least one of these questions, your life is unbalanced and you take your work much too serious. I know that I am guilty of the above transgressions. We can be wound so tight with work, problems, etc until we don’t know how to relax and enjoy life. I’ve seen people who were on medical leave from work because of surgery, illness, or other serious ailments still trying to work and participate in other activities restricted by their doctor. You ask yourself the question: Why? Why would a person jeopardize their health? Aside from some people having ADD or ADHD, others have OWS (obsessive work syndrome) or CSTBD (can’t sit their behind down). Yes, I made up the last two psycho-pathologies.
If we never take time off from work or problems, when do we have time to recuperate or to be refreshed? Rest is a powerful recuperative antidote to mental anguish, physical fatigue, and spiritual unrest. Ecclesiastes 2:22-24, “For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. 24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”
What else can I say but ouch? Solomon, by inspiration of God, just told us we are vexed because of our labor to the point that we are sorrowful and deprived of rest. His remedy was to eat, drink, and enjoy our labor. He says his words are from the hand of the Lord (spirit of God). Hey, I’m convicted by this. I need somebody to join me and make a lifestyle change and rest. When is the last time you took a day off and did nothing? When is the last time you took some days off or a vacation and did nothing? When is the last time you just laid around until noon or watched a good movie? When is the last time you took a long stroll in the park or along the beach? When is the last time you took some personal time and refused to answer any calls related to work? We should consider taking this precious time of rest that our spirit, soul, and body are in much need of.
Last but not least, for someone who is still struggling with taking some time away from your hectic life because what you do means life or death to someone, I have a question for you: Is it their life that hangs in the balance or yours? If you lose your health who takes care of them? If you lose your life then what about those you wanted to help? Is it possible that if you died or quit that someone else would take your place? Oh yes, you are replaceable and life will move forward without you. Your replacement may not do the job as well as you, did but I guarantee it will get done and the world won’t come to an end.
Consider what I just said, find a date in your calendar, and take some time for yourself. I’ve got more to say next time. In the meantime, go and enjoy life!