Life goes nuts when the control of space, people and things become our sole priority. Nothing is more amazing and useful than power, but nothing is more scary. Humans are so good at filling space with things–things like cars and houses, but also other things like busyness. Where we fail miserably is in the area of “time.” We know what to do with space, but we don’t know what to do with time. Since you and I cannot control time, we focus on the space and neglect time. It is impossible for anybody to ignore the problem of time.
It is easier to settle for average, than it is to make time for achievement.
It is easier to be saturated with complacency, than to take time to be stirred with compassion.
It is easier to be skeptical, than it is to take time to see potential.
It is easier to blame the clock, than it is to embrace a moment.
One man said, “You will be as small as your controlling desire, and as great as your dominant aspiration.” Life begins to shrink when we fail to sense the awesomeness of time. It’s not things sitting in our space that lend significance to a moment; it is the moment that gives significance to things. Often people worry that if they don’t rush, they will accomplish less, and not be able to acquire stuff for their space. But you can survive without hurry, and you can live without more stuff in your space.
Even CEOs are realizing that a slower, more comfortable work atmosphere lends to greater productivity. Jesus Christ engaged in solitude frequently. At the beginning of His ministry, He went into the wilderness for extended periods of time, for fasting and prayer. He broke away from crowds and busyness, to practice solitude and soul rest. If the King of kings slowed down, maybe you should too. If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it jumps out. However, if you put a frog in water that is room temperature and heat it slowly, he stays there until he boils to death. Put the frog in a lethal environment, he escapes. Introduce the danger gradually, and he never even notices. The dangers to which you are most vulnerable are generally not the sudden, obvious ones. They are the ones that creep up on you. By the time they become permanent fixtures in your life, the damage is already underway.
When referring back to the Creation account, Moses told the Hebrew children in Exodus 20:8-11 to:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
The first thing that was made holy by God was time. The sanctity of time came first. The sanctity of man came second. The sanctity of space came last. Time was hallowed by God. Space, the Tabernacle, was consecrated by Moses. Even the very use of what we know today as the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space–to take a rest in time.
In order to cultivate rest in life, you must understand that rest is an art, not a place. To build rest into your life is the most important appointment on your schedule. Rest is a time to mend the tattered places in your life, to collect all of your stresses and concerns and lay them before your Creator. Then listen, pray and seek His face for your next steps.
The idea of entering into rest is like spending time in a large palace. You may never remember the date or all the furniture in the castle, but you will never forget your moments with the king. Only by cultivating the art of rest will you live within your own personal Sabbath. When you take rest, you rise above a civilization going nuts. God desires for you to enter a time of personal filling, where your life stands still and you embrace a moment with God. There is nothing like it! In the middle of rushing, you can create your own little island, where you enter a harbor with still waters, detach from things, and allow the Restorer to work on your spirit.
It is here that God shows us what is and what is not important in our lives. In Charles Hummel’s great work, Freedom From the Tyranny of the Urgent, he makes two distinctions concerning the tasks of our lives– the ‘important-but not urgent’ and the ‘not important-but urgent’.
“Important-But Not Urgent– these activities have high priority even though they do not require immediate action. Examples are planning, revision of goals, strengthening relationships. Although at the heart of effective personal management, these activities are often neglected because they do not have to be done now. They become costly casualties of tyranny of the urgent.
Not important-But Urgent– Although unimportant, these activities in the guise of urgency conjure up an illusion that they are of value to us. They include interruptions of many kinds: some phone calls, meetings, etc. They can keep us busy for hours meeting other people’s expectations.”
Working on these things will require quietness and solitude for a season. You may even need to stop hanging around people who feed your “hurry sickness.” Spend some time being mentored by those who are grounded in devotion to God and life. That way when you get back into the rat race, you can effectively decide which activities are important and which are not. In the quiet moments, God will show what props you have been leaning on more than Him. He will show you the things you convince yourself you must do or have. When you are alone, it is just God and you. No one ever overcomes personal demons by running away. Only by stopping and healing are you finally victorious.
**This is an excerpt from Brady’s new book, The Hope Manifesto.
**Available in paperback at thehopemanifesto.com
**Barnes and Noble Nook