“Take less action”, she said. I looked at her like she had three heads. I’m asking “what should I do about this situation?”. She answered ” Take less action”. I’m a doer. I will agonize, contemplate and try to figure things out. I will be up at 3am googling solutions. A friend went so far as to ask me if Google was my god.
As movers and shakers in the world, as a millennial, as a woman, as an intellectual, as a Haitian-American, I feel so much pressure to “do something”. I also move through the world as if I’m being assigned a letter grade for things. In my household, if you scored a 95, someone would ask you what happened to the other five percent. So I feel like I have to get a hundred in hygiene, appearance, prayer, bible study, laundry, etc. There is no rest for the perfectionist.
If you have to schedule self-care, then do it. There will always be something that calls for your attention: An alert on your phone, a phone call, or your mother asking you to drop everything and fix the tv for her. Rest is so important. We were designed to have daytime and nighttime. The light was for activity and the night was for rest. The invention of electricity and artificial light revolutionized our lives in such a way that we can still be working at 3am. However, our bodies were not designed for that. Lack of sleep can cause all sorts of medical problems including seizures.
Even if you cannot carve out a time for “doing nothing”, carve out a time for spiritual rest. Rest is a biblical principal. There’s the 7th day maxim in the Old Testament ( Exodus 20: 8-11)
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
I will say no more about this one because I don’t want to get into a theological debate about the sabbath. Instead I will call your attention to another set of verses in the New Testament ( Matthew 11:28-30)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
If you are familiar with the Bibles with red lettering, you will notice that these are red. The red highlights that the words came straight from the mouth of Jesus. Jesus wants us to rest. All work and no play is not biblical. If it makes you feel any better, you can find something Christianese to do that’s resting: like Wednesday night Dinner Party, or volunteering. I know I enjoy journaling, coloring, crocheting, photography, playing piano, drawing and singing. These are restful activities for me. I also don’t feel the need to sprinkle Jesus into them either. I don’t have to sing or play hymns all the time or color scripture verses or take pictures of nature to showcase the glory of God. If I did that, I would feel like my relationship with Jesus was stiff and forced, coming from the background I do. I’m free to rest. In Christ, there is freedom.