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Leisure vs. Work: Which is Better?
Ever have one of those days when you just wish you could do absolutely nothing at all?

I think we all do. I had an amazing Christmas. We opened presents in the morning, went in the hot tub, and then I got the turkey in the oven. There really was nothing else to do until closer to dinnertime, so I curled up and read a book for hours. It was bliss.

I love those days where I have nothing at all to do, and God did program us to need rest. I think if we all genuinely took the Sabbath off and realized what it meant to have one day when we didn't need to work, we'd get through life a lot easier.

So I know that rest is important, lovely, and delectable. But what concerns me is that there's a streak in me that wants that rest to go on all the time. It's just laziness, and we all have it, but when I picture the perfect life, I often picture it being work-free. I'm sitting in front of a fun movie, knitting. I'm camping. I'm just enjoying myself.

All that's fine and dandy, but when we concentrate on that so much we forget that work has its own reward, and that we were never really promised a life of leisure. We often work as if that is our goal: to earn enough money so that we can do absolutely nothing. But doing absolutely nothing is not what life is really about.

I read in my devotions today those great verses in Matthew 11:

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls.

It's beautiful. But perhaps we misunderstand it. We often think it's a call to rest: to stop working. I don't think it is. I think it's a call to peace. When we are burdened, and we're overwhelmed, we're to go to Jesus, not so that we will stop working, but so that we shall find rest to our souls. And the way we do that is by taking His yoke on us. In other words, we're just like oxen, where we're yoked together with Him. The reason we find rest is that we're working with Jesus, not because we've stopped working altogether.

If you're overwhelmed and tired right now, God understands. But the solution is not to stop working altogether; it's to focus on Him and let Him lead us AS we work.

I had an inner struggle with myself yesterday because I wanted so badly to goof off, but I knew I really should exercise and I had to plan my kids' homeschooling for the week. But I didn't get around to either until quite late in the day, when I just made myself.

I find that I have certain periods of energy in the day: 7:00-9:00 a.m., and then 2:00-5:00. Unfortunately, during those key work hours from 9-2, I'm often quite lazy. What I need to do is to take advantage of the 7-9 period a little bit better and get my day off right. And when I realize that rest is not the goal, perhaps I'll do a better job of it!

The truth is that we often feel better when we do get that to-do list taken care of. We feel so proud of ourselves; we feel energized; we feel happy. But it's getting over that hurdle to move from the lazy mode to the work mode that's such a challenge for me. I need to keep my eyes on the truth: that work is a beautiful and rewarding thing, not something to be avoided if possible. And then the rest seems even more sweet!


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At 7:04 AM , Anonymous Kathryn Lang said…

I do fine with my time until about lunch most days. After being up since before I dawn I feel like I deserve a break. But if I take that break then I am almost certainly done for the day.

As for the peace aspect, I have discovered that if I give God my time (taking time for prayer, study and scripture reading) then I have the time and the energy for everything else that I must face.


At 10:01 AM , Blogger Jen @ After The Alter said…

My grandma and mother to this day won't "work" on Sundays...they take the day off from Ironing and laundry and anything like that. I to think it's great to do nothing, but like you said sometimes you feel really great and accomplished when you check off the "to do list". I guess it is a constant struggle for me...wanting to just sit on the couch but knowing there is stuff to be done...but when Im doing the "stuff" all I want to do is sit on the couch!


At 10:11 AM , Blogger Deborah said…

I need this message today. I'm almost through my first trimester of pregnancy, so I've been doing pretty well nothing because I've had no energy at all. But now the energy is starting to come back--in tiny little increments--and I'm still sitting around doing nothing, because my tendencies toward laziness have truly taken over during this time when I had an excuse. It's time to start taking advantage of my energy as it comes back; that way, I can get things done and maybe get a little more energy too!


At 1:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

thanks for your enlightening and honest post. I too struggle with making myself do certain tasks sometimes.


At 3:21 PM , Blogger Berji's domain said…

I'm a SAHM of two, very soon to be 3. Thinking about the Sabbath or about Matt. has led me to believe that God didn't really mean "sit around and eat bon bons" once a week. My work is raising my children and taking care of my family. They don't just take care of themselves once a week! So God must mean something more than that. I think you were right.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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