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Don’t be afraid of down time

Jan. 10, 2012 | Cindy Lee

I’ve had the funny experience to be told, several times, by someone that “my work is so slow now!”  And it usually sounds much more like a complaint than just fact.  ;)

This same person has typically complained about being overworked and stressed, with little time for himself to do other “things that matter.”  Now, with less of those pressures from work, he was feeling restless and frustrated that life was now “too slow.”

So the recent time he said this, I guess I could’ve been a bit more reserved, but my honest reaction — I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.  All I could say was, “Wow, it’s a gift!”

Him:  Pause.  Stare.  ”What?!”

Me:  ”You’re lucky.  Really, it’s a good thing!”

Him:  Pause.  Stare.  ”What?!”

haha…  Life goes in seasons, and often it’s driven by our work cycles.  When it’s up, we’re fatigued and feel overwhelmed by unappreciative colleagues; when it’s down, we feel frustrated at slow responses and inefficient processes.

Especially nowadays, the norm is that we can barely catch a breath.  “I’ve got a huge stack of books I’ve been meaning to read.”  ”I barely have time to eat lunch, so I eat at my desk.” “Some days I don’t even see the sun.”  ”I can’t catch up with friends until my schedule lightens up.”  ”I’ll go visit my folks when I’m less busy.”  ”Oh, yeah… my walk?  Well, it could be better…”  We’ve got lofty goals on what we’d achieve IF I ONLY HAD MORE TIME.

But ironically, when things lighten up, we almost don’t know what to do with ourselves!  We react with a sort of fear and restlessly surf the net, check our phones obsessively for new emails, vegetate in front of the TV… rather than stop, take a breath, and spend time in the quiet.

Thank God there are only 24 hours in a day!  People say if there were more, THEN they’d rest… but who knows what we’d actually do and how much worse damage we’d do to our bodies and our souls then.

I know it’s hard to find “down time,” which is why I see it as such a gift when it lands on our laps.  Why not be thankful for it.  Love it.  Use it.  ENJOY IT!

Need some ideas on how to spend it?  :)  What about reflecting on who you are and what you’ve become.  See if your life is aligned and if God is glorified.  Reconnect with yourself, with loved ones, with God.  Hit that stack of books you’ve been eyeing.  Get some much needed R&R.  Detox from the beating you’ve given your body.  Give it a pampering (which could simply be sleeping early one day because you actually can)… Do the things you normally say you want to do but can’t because “life” is just so busy.

Above all, look back and look ahead… look at the bigger picture.  Ask God what this downtime is for… I believe He’s giving you this time to rest and regroup as a time of restoration, but also in preparation for what lies ahead!