Tag Archives: Work

Learning the Rhythms of Work and Rest

“The rhythms of work and rest are fundamental to our well-being.” – Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership

I spent my twenties and early thirties running hard and fast with very time allowed for rest. It wasn’t that I was out partying or going “crazy.” Rather I was a workaholic like my forefathers before me.

For example, there was a time in my mid-twenties when I worked a full-time salaried job (think 40+ hours), joined a church planting team, went to school (VLI), and led/participated a few local church ministries in the sending church. I did all this while living an hour drive away from my day-job and sending church. So yeah, I was one busy guy – and I loved every moment of it!!

Somehow the Spirit of the Living God was able to break into my busy life and began the hard job of teaching me to slow down.

One of the things that the Spirit used to slow me down was my two sons. It may sound strange to think of children as something to help you find rest, but that’s my strange life! 😀

You see, over the years of being a parent I have noticed how much my kids need down times at home. They, like myself, have a strong desire to go out and have adventures in the wider world. Playing with friends, being at the park, going here or there…. yet as I watched them, I’ve noticed that there is something powerfully therapeutic about being home with all the family members.

Accordingly I have found myself staying home more and more these last few years. And in doing so, I have discovered that I do better with down days at home – which is quite the self-realization!

This doesn’t mean that I have stopped doing things. It just means that I’ve come very picky about what things I do and how often I do them.

The sirens of doing still call with their song tugging on my heart….but I’ve gotten better as resisting their song. And that is a good thing.

[The Sabbath is] a weekly reminder of our pledge to follow Jesus with our whole hearts, soul, bodies, and minds. To deny the Sabbath is to tell Jesus that we don’t trust him; that we have to keep on working in order to make things happen. The reverse is also true, to observe the Sabbath is to tell him and ourselves that God is in charge…

“To observe the Sabbath [is] to refocus our hearts toward Jesus and give us the strength to keep walking towards him. For, let’s face it, following Jesus is hard work. We are constantly in a battle with the sin within us, the evil one, and the culture around us as well as with the forces of nature. We need some time to stop and refocus.” – quote from The Here and Not Yet

Listening to the Song of the Doing Sirens

The Siren, by John William Waterhouse (circa 1900)

I’m supposed to be on Sabbatical…a time of reflection and re-evaluation after years of plowing the land of the King. Yet despite the desire to dial down and be, I found myself following the song the Doing Sirens….

Sirens, for those who don’t know, were beautiful creatures in Greek mythology who lured sailors to their death through their enchanting music. Their charm was so powerful that few who heard their voices lived to tell of the experience. Those who did live were forever changed as the song of the Sirens crept into their souls and tweaked their hearts.

The song of the Doing Sirens is just as powerful as those sirens of old – calling humanity ever forward, ever faster, ever doing while the wheels of life spins and spins and spins, slipping past the teeth of time on the way nowhere. Few who have heard their song completely break free – and none leave without scars.

For years I have plowed the fields of the Lord side by side with the fields of Pharaoh, tightening my muscles with each stone removed or jarring bump. Storms of emotions raged around me coupled with spiritual attacks and bouts of depression, yet despite it all I held on to the plow – a fated Odysseus bracing against the sound of the Sirens, desperately wanting to hear their song all the while knowing the fate of those who listen.

[box]“Come closer, famous Odysseus – Achaea’s pride and glory – moor you ship on our coast so you can hear our song! Never has any sailor passed our shores in his black craft until he has heard the honeyed voices pouring from our lips, and once he hears to his heart’s content sails on, a wiser man. We know all the pains that the Achaens and Trojans once endured on the spreading plain of Troy when the gods willed it so – all that comes to pass on the fertile earth, we know it all!”  [/box]

Oh, that I may be an Orpheus whose music drowned out their sounds…but alas I am a Butes whose ears betray the wisdom given to me by those who have sailed before me after the Wild Goose… Divinely the Creator King provided an Aphrodite to carry me away, reminding me of the danger of the Sirens. Ladan’s treacherous while working for Pharaoh also helped to awaken me to the song of death.

[box] “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor” (Prov 21:21)[/box]

To slow down and pursue righteousness and love…..oh that I might be able to shape the angles of life, focusing on being…that way when I plow the fields of the King once again I may find joy and honor in prayer, proclaiming Scripture, and giving spiritual direction. oh that the below prayer be true in my life, soul, heart and mind….

[box]I am no longer my own, but Yours. Use me as you choose;  Rank me alongside whoever You choose; Put me to doing, put me to suffering; Let me be employed for You, or laid aside for You, Raised up for You, or brought down low for You; Let me be full, let me be empty; Let me have all things, let me have nothing; With my whole heart I freely choose to yield All things to Your ordering and approval.

So now, God of glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are mine, and I am Your own.

-the end of a Celtic Covenant Service[/box]