Posted by: mikenicholsblog | February 22, 2016

portions of our precious life

Last Friday, our daughter faced a dilemma while having lunch with a good friend. In the midst of a meaningful discussion, her friend kept looking at her cell phone. As my wife relayed the details of the story, I found it a bit humorous, since I get frustrated with my daughter’s attachment to her phone. My frustration likely causes the same reaction in my wife, since she thinks that I am too attached to my phone. And on and on it goes …

My rambling point is that most people are now so tied to hand-held technology that family meals, workplace meetings, meaningful discussions and relaxing evenings have fallen prey to our hand-held addiction. How often are meetings interrupted with the words, “I’m sorry but I have to take this call” or even if the call is not taken, a text response is sent? All the while interrupting what was happening! Please don’t stop reading, thinking this is just another article about the evils of cell phones.  I would prefer, instead, that my daughter’s innocent story serve as a reminder to us of the lack of emotional, spiritual and physical rest that is vital for the soul.

My thoughts about this topic came from several sources … one being my reading of Leviticus. Chapter twenty-five tells of a Sabbath rest for land.

The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.
Leviticus 25:1-4

God’s design was for his people to rest every seventh day and, interesting enough, He ordered them to let the land rest every seventh year. People needed to be refreshed and the land needed reviving. My mind went to how diminished the thought of a Sabbath rest is today … or any rest for that matter! And hand-held technology is just a symptom.

We are 52 days into 2016. How are you doing?  Is your life balanced?  Are your spiritual, emotion and physical rhythms in order? Or is your pace a bit distracted by life’s demands (and hand-held technology)?  We tend to excuse away our pace and live the same patterns year after year. I am finding that progress for me comes from intentional decisions. In trying to practice a better pace this year, I made a significant change in my work routine. I realized the lack of controlled balance I was achieving when several close friends thought it would be impossible for me to accomplish my new schedule. Sure, I was getting a lot done, but too often, not with the restful heart that God desires for me. I, like you, am 52 days into to a new year and seeking to live a life with soul rest (as John Ortberg calls it in his book, Soul Keeping).

Another source of my thoughts on rest comes from the book Addicted to Busy, by Brady Boyd. I found the book in a discount store, but it is worth far more than the price I paid. It examines the struggle we all have for a life of rest, and does it meaningfully. A quote from Wayne Muller’s book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our busy lives, shares our plight.

This one little conversation, this one extra phone call, this one quick meeting, what can it cost? But it does cost, it drains yet another drop of our life. Then, at the end of days, weeks, months, years, we collapse; we burn out, and cannot see where it happened. It happened in a thousand unconscious events, tasks, and responsibilities that seemed easy and harmless on the surface but that each, one after the other, used a small portion of our precious life.

Cell phones are only a symptom of our unwillingness to slow, listen and enjoy the rest available to all Christ-followers. One article may not change your pace, but I trust that it will cause reflection about how we too easily use up portions of our precious life on the immediate, while missing the joy and rest available in God’s design. It is obvious to me that it was never God’s intention for us to run our life race without resting. But to change, we have to be intentional!

What needs changing for you?


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