We have two kids. They both are in gymnastics. They both have practices twice a week for 3 hours. They are both in school. They have homework, people! And my wife is a school teacher which means for 10 months of the year she is grading papers and writing lesson plans, and the other two months are spent researching better ways to teach those smelly-underdeveloped frontal lobes called middle schoolers how to conjugate verbs and write essays.
The other night, it all came to a head at our house. We had just spent all day rushing about from obligation to obligation and had (finally) gotten the girls to bed. It was around 9pm and Jodi began preparing for the next day when I asked her this question: "Are you going to sit down?"
My wife is an amazing woman, she is able to do so much, with so little help from me. I'm amazed by her ability to do. But I'm afraid that my question diagnosed a bigger problem. We don't take enough time to really... I mean REALLY... rest-- we honestly don't have the time.
And the problem doesn't just exist in my house. It's a national epidemic.
A new survey of employees finds that only 25 percent of employees with paid time off took all of their vacation days last year. What's worse, 15 percent took none of their vacation days at all.It appears that we are so afraid that we might miss something. So afraid that our kids might miss something. So afraid that we will be left out. So afraid that we won't live our lives to the fullest. So afraid that we may get passed over for the promotion, lose the big deal, or disappoint our bosses that we refuse to even take off the time that has been promised to us. On average, the American worker receives only 13 days of vacation time annually. Compare that to countries like Germany, Britain, and France that receive over 3 weeks of paid time off, and some developed nations that allow for up to 4 consecutive weeks of vacation during the Summer.
But I'm in the ministry-- the Devil doesn't take a day off. But should Europe really be our model? But I really love my job-- I don't mind working.
First of all, the Devil shouldn't be your role model.
Secondly, I get it, Europe doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to fiscal development... but what if they are on to something, the medical studies seem to back them up.
Lastly, I would be willing to bet that you could do your job better with a fresh mind and relaxed body.... just sayin'. And if you're like me, what that means is a vacation where I actually... well... rest. My last vacation involved us visiting friends in Texas. We stayed in another person's house (and they were very gracious to let us have their own bed) and then frantically drove all over the DFW metroplex to make sure that we saw everyone that we needed so see. It was frantic. Then, just as my mind was beginning to shut off work mode (I still checked emails and texts and Facebook messages while on this said vacation), it was time to load back up in the car and head home. I have never taken more than 1 week off at a time. I suppose I'm too afraid the world would stop spinning if I didn't answer my phone for a week.
Let's be honest, peeps. We have created idols of ourselves. We certainly take ourselves too seriously, and we absolutely believe that we are more important than we really are.
Ouch! That hurt a little bit.
Now, if you're not a follower of Jesus Christ, then what I'm about to say here is optional. If you are a disciple of Jesus, then you have to listen and apply this simple truth to your life:
THE BIBLE COMMANDS US TO REST.
Yep, its one of the big 10. Jesus would clarify this Old Testament Commandment in Mark 2:27.
Perry Noble in his book Overwhelmed says it best: "The Bible calls those who will not work lazy, but it calls those who will not rest disobedient."
So, perhaps I shouldn't be so upset with all the pictures of relaxing feet. In fact, maybe I should find a hammock- or a beach- somewhere close and finally sit down myself. I suppose this will have to do until then!