So, I’m not a blogger. Never have been. Never thought I would be. The prospect of writing down whatever was on my mind never really crossed my…well…mind. I believed that it would just be a fancier way to journal which I had tried in the past for whatever trendy reason and failed. I was writing this stuff down for whom? Me? Pfft. For what? I never got it. I also believed that no one could possibly care about what I had to write, let alone read it. I’m not entirely sure why I cared that much about that aspect of things. It’s borderline hypocritical……Okay, okay. It’s full on hypocritical. I mean, for Pete’s sake, I certainly enjoy talking to people and telling them all about things they don’t care about without hesitation. A lot of people know what I am all about and my passions/opinions. I am not shy in that sense, especially with people that supposedly like me. As I grow older, I find myself more comfortable with who I am and what I have to say. It makes me wonder if each new gray hair that appears from the absence of color is life’s inhibitions leaving one’s body. They are like a license to be apathetic.
But to that extent, I do in fact have a lot to say. My Restless Mind (see what I did there??) thinks a lot. Like, A-LOT. It’s always trying play life like a chess game. I have to explain to my wife that I am always trying to think 3 or 4 steps ahead in many areas of our lives to ensure the smoothest one possible. Ironically, I probably don't focus on some of the more distant moves like I should, and I don’t know why. It’s weird. I go in cycles. One month I will be focused on my YouTube channel. The next month: Camping. Then Saving Money. House Projects. Tree Houses. Trimming Trees. Gutter Cleaning…. UGH! My mind lives in a constant state of unbalance between what is wise and personal projects. It always seems like I have to be moving or doing something in order to exercise my skull sponge. Being still drives me nuts!
Wait, no, let me clarify: Being still AT HOME drives me nuts.
For whatever reason, if I am sitting at home doing nothing, I feel like I am wasting time. I think to myself things like, “It’s a nice day out! You should be mowing.” Or, “Rather than sitting and watching television, you need to be fixing that [insert any number of household nuisances]” I get so motivated to work that when I get into the groove, no matter the project or hobby, that I literally forget to eat. Yeah, that’s right. Forget. To. Eat. Many of my friends and colleagues just cannot fathom this ‘gift’ that I have, if one could even call it that. (No one does, by the way.)
However, I have been told that I need to make a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy the peace. That our bodies need rest. They were designed to rest. God Himself rested on the 7th day! And for the most part, I am doing okay. I took a long step away from active ministry participation just because of the time and effort involved on top of the countless other things that were plaguing my melon. It just took its toll on me. And that’s not to say I was at the church 24/7 or disliked what I was doing. No. Quite the opposite actually But there were so many hours at home that it just didn’t leave any time for rest. True rest. Rest that I have needed to start taking which includes my family.
I was talking about this with my wife recently as I am approaching a week long fishing trip to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota (this blog picture is from my last trip!). She is clearly the biggest advocate to slowing me down and shutting my brain off…or at least pausing it. (Although she may argue I act brain-dead sometimes). I am actually forcing myself to take this trip every year now, or as close to that schedule as possible. I say “forcing myself” for very specific reasons. Don’t get me wrong, I will have a blast. Fishing all week is amazing. Camping in the wilderness is such a joy. It’s a blessing to even be able to do this at all. I will not be in pain whatsoever. So, the term “forcing myself” may be a bit odd or confusing. What you have to realize is that I physically and mentally need to take these breaks away from “the real world” or otherwise drive myself absolutely crazy. My wife is in full support of it. She knows how I operate. She knows that when I take this time in Minnesota, I return refreshed and ready to take on everything the world has to offer.
There is a great illustration she uses for life and the balance between work and rest. I believe she learned it from a discipleship study called Huddle. Picture a pendulum that swings back and forth in a semicircle shape. On one side is work where fruitfulness exists, and the other side is rest where abiding is is prevalent. As the pendulum reaches the pinnacle of work, the need for rest is the greatest. The energy stored in that pendulum must and will carry to the rest side of the swing by means of pruning, that is to say reducing our commitments or removing activities that once took so much of our time but no longer needed. When the pendulum reaches max rest, it will use this energy to propel it into more work. It’s a cycle back and forth, back and forth. It’s essentially saying that without rest there is no work. And without work, there is no rest.
John 15:1-8 says “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful … Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Jesus exemplified a pattern of work and rest. Alone time and crowd time. Prayer time, Teaching time. Abiding, Growth, Work, Pruning, Rest. Without pruning and abiding we cannot expect growth or fruitfulness. Americans are so focused on immediate satisfaction and results in a digital environment that they are completely blinded by God’s design of a patterned life which is rest, then work, which leads to rest, and then motivates to work, etc. You see where I am going here.
And maybe that is why I agreed to be part of this blogging team. Maybe it’s because I have been resting so long from ministry that my pendulum is swinging back the other direction and I am ready to jump back into it! And who knows what that will look like, right? Will I be in the same ministries as I was before? I don’t know. Unlikely because of outside circumstances or constraints. But, you’ll be happy to hear I have already joined the new Men’s ministry/discipleship/accountability group as a co-leader. Now I am writing this blog. What else can I get into? What else that I shouldn’t? I’m not sure. But I can tell you that it will be more interesting than the closing of this post. I just completely ran out of steam. Maybe because it’s midnight when I am typing this…and now it’s time to… Rest.