We all have seasons when we just want to go back to bed. Here’s why you shouldn’t do that.
Years ago my Dad took us ice fishing. That’s the kind of thing you do in the Northeast when all of the lakes and ponds freeze up. I especially enjoyed it because I would don a pair of ice skates and sneak out to the farthest tip up and trip the flag. Of course I only did it when things got slow. I wouldn’t say a word, but inevitably someone would see the red flag waving in the distance and everyone would make a mad dash for the “big one”. Often someone would slip and crash on the way after their coveted prize. The game never got old. Still makes me laugh!
When I wasn’t pulling pranks, I would often sit around and begin to shiver. Eventually I’d complain. My Dad would always say the same thing, “Take a lap!”. That meant that if I got up and started moving I would soon warm up.
When you’re a kid, you often don’t understand the depth of the lessons you’re learning. It’s only years later that you realize how powerful the principles are that you learned.
However, it often takes a set back to realize the importance of lessons you learned in the past.
For example, it’s easy to reach the point where inactivity seems like the best option. There’s actually a law about this. Things that are at rest have a tendency to stay at rest. And guess what? When you rest, you rust!
Remember the Tin man in the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy found him all seized up. If I remember correctly, he only had enough movement in his mouth to ask for a good oiling. We’re no different. Rest is a good thing. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The same goes for sex, drink, food, you name it. One of the surest ways to lose your race is to take a permanent pitstop.
You see it all of the time in the working world. People retire and not long after they check out. I’m all for retirement if people are able to. However, a permanent vacation is no substitute for a vocation.
Go all the way back to the garden. Work came before the curse. Moses writes, “And the LORD took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:15. After the Fall, God said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” Genesis 3:19.
We weren’t designed for a life of inactivity. We were designed to dress and keep. When we forfeit our dominion, we forfeit our freedom.
If you want to know what that feels like, simply imagine being handcuffed and shackled. God has a better way.
If you’ve ever wondered why you’re here, you can rest assured you are here for a purpose. Part of that purpose is so that you can love God and others as well as yourself. That begins when you take God at his word and act on it. Once you do, that’s just the beginning, there is more. God wants to train you and use you to reach others.
The rub is it’s so easy to get focused on our own needs. When we do, we have a tendency to look inward and take our eyes off God and others. Before long, just like a pail full of water in January, we begin to freeze.
Here are some practical solutions I’ve found helpful.
Stay active. Yes, activity can numb the pain. We’re not talking about being excessively active to the point where we are numb to needs. But rather than looking at getting the mail in January as a curse, keep doing it. While you’re at it, write to others.
Use the phone for more than just texting. Reach out to people. Call them or stop by. People long for company these days. You just may find out that your problems pale in comparison to those of others. Ask people what they’re reading and share some of the titles that are helping you. I’m currently finding great help in “Leadership Pain”, “Concentric Circles of Care”, and “Where is God When it Hurts”. I’m also finding great comfort reading and praying through the Psalms.
Take a walk. Bake some cookies. Spend half a day cleaning the house. Just start in one corner and before long, you’ll be off to the races. There are very few things that compare to a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Shop around for less expensive car and home owners insurance. Take the kids iceskating. Dance in the kitchen. Be goofy and introduce them to the cartoons you watched as a kid. Dial up a family movie on Netflix…my son and I were recently intrigued by ‘My Side of the Mountain’. Share some of the music you listened to growing up as a kid….American Dream by CSNY recently took me back to the good old days when the future was still a mystery and I was searching for answers. Tell them stories about when you were a kid and how you passed the time before there were computers, cell phones, laptops and Ipads.
Teach. Don’t just pull up to the A.T.M and leave your kid in the car. Give him the debit card and walk him through using it. Let him experience the power of trial and error. Show him how to wash the car and vacuum it. Show him junk mail and how to spot it a mile away. Teach her the importance of quality rather than quantity when completing school work. Let them reap the rewards of bad seed they’ve sowed. Let them go to the bus stop without a coat, without worrying what every one will say. They’ll learn!
Eventually, we all discover that we’re “it”. It’s our turn to pass on generational wisdom and history.
Tomorrow will soon be here. Our lives are but vapors….here one minute and gone the next. The bible says to redeem the time. Cash it in, rather than saving it. These are the golden days, not some time far off in the future, so plant the corn rather than keeping it in the bin to rot and get eaten by the rats. Take a lap!