Sometimes I just need coffee. Let me rephrase: Most times I need coffee. If someone took an outside look at my life, I would gander a guess that it would seem my life revolves around that hot, caffeine filled liquid.
Siesta – Much Needed
I often wonder if an after-lunch siesta should invade our everyday life. Maybe our employers should research people’s productivity levels when a siesta is implemented. I would be more than happy to be a part of that survey!
The topic of rest has been running around in my mind ever since I came back into the hectic Northern Virginia area. I live in a county of over 1 million people. It’s located about 30 minutes (or 1.5 hours during rush hour) from Washington DC. Everyone is climbing a ladder, either in business or politics. The opportunities for success are numerous and we have created a culture that allows anyone to set a goal and reach it, if enough time is put in.
“Time is limited”, and in this area, that statement is felt more than any other place I have lived. In other areas of the world, time is in abundance. There isn’t a set time, it’s more of a suggested time. You can show up when you would like in other cultures (such as India, we’ll get to this later). But not in Northern Virginia. The slogan “time is money” is real, relevant and can dictate life.
My inbox will always be full, my calendar will have meetings and even my “free” time will be planned.
Here’s the thing. We are in a culture where the calendar rules our lives and where we never actually feel rested. Everything is planned out, even our social times seem like a checklist. If I’m not accomplishing something during “free time”, it could be considered wasteful. I have this underlying perception that something needs to get done, all the time.
When we have “free” time, we don’t even know how to rest in a healthy way. We are so used to having things to do, that when we don’t have anything to do, we fill our time with something.
Is TV or binge watching Netflix restful?
Recently I have found a plethora of TV shows that were somehow hidden from me. I have been sucked into the stories, dialogues and action of the shows. But, I’m not quite sure they give me true rest. Sometimes it feels as if they are adding to the noise that is already going on inside my head. Adding ideas into an already crowded mind.
My mind is full of arguments, beliefs, opinions and concepts which come from the media and the world around me. Even if I don’t want to believe that they are influencing my actions or beliefs, they are. What I surround myself with, is what my world view starts becoming.
I learned this first hand as I walked into the crowded streets of Kolkata, India. Faced with sights, sounds and smells that first world America could never offer. I was hit with a different view of reality. As I lived with the Indian people for 4 months, my world view started to change. My ideas of what was important were challenged. From family and friends, to spiritually and emotionally, to needs and wants, my values were being turned upside down.
When I returned home, I had a more difficult time adjusting back to the culture I had grown up in then I did adjusting to the Indian way of life. Things that were important to me, were no longer important. Things that I wrestled with in America, weren’t even questions or realities in India.
The Underlying Lies:
We need to find something productive out of everything in life. The things I have, whether of monetary value or not (including people), need to have a defined purpose and therefore must propel me further up the imaginary ladder of life. Every event needs a checklist and even “hangout” times have set parameters because they are either taking away from or adding to my pretend latter. I must get to the top of said ladder.
A new reality
The above statements need to be torn down. Our reality must not be shaped by our ability to make everything “useful”.
I believe that these lies are a part of not gaining true rest. Our minds don’t have the ability to slow down because we are analyzing our world with the hopes of making ourselves better.
What I learned in India is that community, friends and fun don’t need definitions. Reality doesn’t have to be defined all the time. We try to define these things because we feel like we need to control them. But sometimes, when things aren’t neatly described is when we actually start living and gaining rest.
My challenge to myself and the reader: Let’s be ok, with not being productive all the time.
Jason LaLone was on staff at YWAM Brisbane and is currently in America working with Truro Anglican Church located in Fairfax, Virginia. He is passionate about discipleship, taking Jesus’ command to make disciples a practical reality that he can live on a daily basis. He loves lasagna, cats and used to dislike Monday's, making him most like Garfield.
Jason LaLone’s previous articles might be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/Jason-LaLone.html