As I sat at my kitchen table gazing out at the beauty of sunset through the trees last night, I was amazed again at the beauty that God places all around us each day. So many times we get busy and running full speed on the fast track putting out a fire here a fire there and dealing with the tyranny of the urgent that we don’t have time for much else. It is no wonder that more and more people struggle with burn out and depression each year. The pressures of life can press in so hard at times that we are at a loss for what to do. We live in a culture that is often over-stressed, burdened and hanging on for dear life, yet that was never the life we were meant to have. It is so easy to buy into the culture that surrounds us and to get lost in the madness!
How did we get to this place? Have we forgotten what the important things in our life are? I have noticed that I am most overwhelmed when I have gotten lost in the mad dash around me and have forgotten what truly matters in my life. I guess the first thing we need to do when we feel the walls closing in on our lives is to take an inventory of what truly is most important to us. Are we focused on the important things, or are the important things getting shoved aside as we rush to take care of the urgent? Are we so busy doing that we never get around to being? When our children get cranky, over-tired or out of control, we know what to do! Usually, it can be resolved by some rest or a time-out.
I am realizing more and more in my life that I need occasional time-outs as well. God never created us to be creatures that never stop, always pushing harder, working harder. He set aside one day out of every seven because He knew we needed to take time to rest, spend time with Him, to have a time of refreshing.
A few years ago, I was in Germany for a couple of weeks. It is very quiet and peaceful there on Sundays, so much so that you could hear the church bells for miles. Not many places were open on Sunday. It made me think of my childhood. Guess I am giving away my age, but when I was small, the only places open on Sunday were hospitals, fire stations, police stations and a rare gas station or convenience store. Sunday was a day for family, faith and for rest. During the other times of the week most stores closed up shop by eight p.m. at the latest. There was one twenty-four hour pharmacy but you had to drive almost an hour if you needed their service. Today, there is not much that you can’t do anytime day or night.
It is so easy to get caught up in the slogans that we can have it all, we can do anything we want in life, and we can be it all. To some degree, I will agree with this. There is a catch, and there is a high price to pay when we live life this way. There is much truth in what “old timers” said. They say “you can’t burn the candle at both ends”. While it is quite possible to do this, there is one hard truth. If you burn that candle on both ends, eventually you will get burned. We have to learn to pick out the priorities in life and keep first things first. God initiated a day of rest because we needed it. He commanded that even the land take a year off every seven years to allow the soil to rest. Burning that candle at both ends will prove to be painful in the long run, we may not see the effects today or tomorrow but eventually it will catch up with us. Maybe it is time, or possible past time, to slow down a little taking time to “stop and smell the roses”, enjoying watching the sunset, basking in just sitting around the table with family and/or friends enjoying each others company and finding more quiet moments to talk to the One who Created us and wait quietly to hear back from Him.