Who knew it would be difficult to spend a week in Maui with my best friend with NOTHING on the calendar but enjoying time together, snorkeling with colorful fish, reading books on the beach for sheer delight, watching sunsets on purpose, getting sand between our toes and letting it stay there, listening to the soothing rhythm of the waves, and going on drives with no destination.
There’s nothing like being away from our normal, head-down routines to reveal our obsession to do only the things we think “count” or “matter.” Those things that give us visible, instant results and pats on the back.
I struggled for a few days to do what felt like nothing. I realized how deeply my identity is tied to constantly engaging in work and having my hands in activities that propel me forward, bring a feeling of accomplishment, or lend themselves to a bigger more, more worthy purpose.
Does God still loves me when I’m splashing in the waves instead of digging into Scripture like a good student of His word? Do I make Him proud when I’m walking on a beach instead of praying on my knees?
Such religious rubbish is what that is.
When we explore the depths of His heart, I think we’ll be surprised to find a God who defines all of life as an opportunity to encounter Paradise, feast on His love. And the things that we are determined to do because surely they “count” for more are actually void of the rich meaning and life-giving purpose we’re all craving.
Friends, I’m thinking we’ve got it all backwards in our day.
I’m tired, deeply exhausted actually, of all the talk I hear around about pursuing a successful life. I’m starting to see it all looks the same. DOING. DOING. DOING. Whether it’s working harder in my parenting or on my dreams or in my personal life it’s all centered around striving and pushing for more results. Our shiny efforts take the spotlight, that’s what counts.
BUT God’s Kingdom works differently.
Soul and body rest, empty calendars, a break from routine and goal-driven living, laughing with kindred hearts, space to soak in our surroundings, our season, all of it has a way of showing us what really MATTERS.
My hunch is we all need to stop and reflect on this Father of ours who is inviting us out to play in the waves and gather perspective on the shore.
Perhaps what counts in life becomes clear when we become aware of and lose our obsession with always having a defined and definite destination and delighting in the dangerous space of doing (what seems like) nothing.
“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” Mark Buchanan