My little brother Riley just celebrated his 16th birthday. My wild, awesome, and huge family has a custom. Just after the gifts have been opened and right before we move into cake and ice cream, the person who is being celebrated offers up a little word of wisdom to the family. As Riley finished opening his gifts, he put down the wrapping paper, looked around the room, and with the coolness that only a 16 year old kid of his stature could utter, calmly laid down the following words: “Be as chill as possible.”
“BE AS CHILL AS POSSIBLE” – Riley Wooldridge
Boom. Drop the mic. Let’s go eat some ice cream. My family and I looked around at each other and shared the laughter that is so beautiful amongst family. But as the laughter faded, the words still stuck in my head - so much so, I deemed them “twitter worthy.” (And that’s when you know it’s real.) I was convicted, as I have been convicted lately, that rest and rhythm in life are so divinely important, and if we miss out on this, we are going to kill ourselves from exhaustion and burn out. Rest is written into the very image of who we are, as we are made in His image. So, here are 3 ways to effectively and thoughtfully practice rest, to practice rhythm. Or, as Riley would say, to “be as chill as possible.”
THREE WAYS TO CREATE RHYTHM IN YOUR LIFE
1. When You Don’t Work, Don’t Work
It took me a while to figure this one out, but I finally did. I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not. Whenever I would take my work home, or on vacation, or anywhere else that isn’t work, I would end up just feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. I actually would end up not getting nearly as much done as I thought I would or planned on, and it would leave me out of sync and out of the moment with the family, friends, and out of the very presence of the sacredness that each moment is around me. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be that pleasant to be around. What I’ve found is this: the work gets done anyway. Leave it at work, and let your mind, body, soul, and spirit refill and rejuvenate when you’re not at work. On days that I don’t work, email notifications are turned off, and my computer isn’t opened. I leave my phone in one room, and periodically will check it to see if something needs my attention. This may not work for you, or could be hard at first, but it’s freeing. Trust me.
2. Just Get Away
I recently wrote a blog post titled Find Your Mountain on this very idea. When we work, no matter what we are doing, we are instructed to give everything we have—to pour ourselves out completely into whatever we are doing. And that’s not just “work” as it pertains to a job, but in anything we do that is good. So, after we have been poured out, we need to find times to get away. Jesus would go to the mountains to get away. If you have a mountain to go to, that’s pretty cool. But, where’s your metaphorical mountain? Where can you go to just get away and be still before God? To listen to His voice? To experience His goodness? His presence is all around us. We just need to be still, and know who He is.
3. Say “No” More Often
Now this one is super tricky - especially for people like me who tend to want to please everyone. When we say “yes” to every opportunity that comes our way, no matter how worthy or good the pursuit or opportunity may be, we can easily fall into the trap of spreading ourselves too thin. This is dangerous because we are left with no energy to give to each of these things that we said “yes” to. What if we just focused on that one pursuit or opportunity? What if we step away from a thing or two, realizing that we need balance? When we are more narrowly focused on fewer things, those fewer things get the best we have to give them — they get all of us: our time, energy, and passion. So, understand that it’s ok to say “no” sometimes. Then, in return, be committed and fully present when you say “yes.”
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” – Mark 2:27
The Sabbath is more than just a day; it’s an idea, a concept, and an essential practice to add to our lifestyles. God made work, and work is sacred, and divine. But, God also gave us the ability and freedom to rest from such work, so we can be alive and flourishing in said work. May we find rhythm in our lives, as we heed the advice of my 16 year old brother, and learn the importance of being “as chill as possible.”