Tag Archives: rest

Phillies lost, Fetterman won: What do we do after all that?

It has been such a bad few years for many of us! I think we will finally get a decent interpretation of what came over us before too long. But, right now, I think most of us are still a bit shell-shocked — I know 2020 started a series of traumas for me! Nevertheless, it seems like we’re finally perking up a bit — like how you feel when you’ve been sick for a week and you take a shower and wash the bed. I, for one, was recently taken up in the tornado of Bryce Harper and Dr. Oz — the former’s quirks and latter’s quack. And I am glad all that is over. What now?

The suggestions I am about to offer for “What now?” are hardly new ideas. But they are tried and true contrariness. It is true, isn’t it, that Americans think steaming on and making progress is reality and anything less than constant growth and achievement is mentally ill. If you don’t keep up with the madness of all that, you’re contrary.

I’m suggesting being contrary to madness like this: Goop’s “mind architect,” Peter Crone, counsels the folks at Muscle Intelligence to “create your reality to express your greatness.” Crone is also on Netflix’s Heal show, which says he “redesigns the subconscious mind that drives behavior to inspire a new way of living, from limitation and stress to freedom and joy.” And it is not just us looking for the shortest road to our personal perfection; in the Times of India, the headline reads: “Rewire your brain in just 21 days!”

I deeply appreciate how much we know about neuroplasticity these days and how we can change what feels unchangeable in us. Nevertheless, I regularly suggest to my avoidant, individualistic, wounded clients that taking charge (a la Peter Crone) and improving their “zone of control” in a new way is a positive rendition of the godlike project they’ve been failing at for years. Their “immanent frame” is the proverbial bubble (or tomb) they live in and feel obligated to gain power over. No amount of rewiring can permanently change that misperception. Let’s get out of the zone.

So my suggestions for what to do after the TV does not traumatize you every day lean toward being released (for a while, at least) from your preoccupation with imminent things beyond your control — like Swarber hitting a home run every time he gets up to bat, or like global warming and democracy being your personal responsibility. My suggestions lean toward being released to do something other than what you think you can control and relating to something immanent — being given over to something beyond you, something deeper, something communal, something that is more about love than calculation, something more mutual than contractual, something more at home in the present environment than faithfully making the factory run for future rewards. You get the idea. So here are my suggestions.


Joe Biden probably said it, I don’t know. But while he was crowing about not being as defeated as expected, he must have said “There is still a lot of work to do.” All politicians say that because it is a truism everyone believes around here. And it is true, work will always be there if work is all there is. Contrary to that bondage is sabbath, which is central to Christians and most other religious people – but, what do you think? Do about 10% of us actually practice such deliberate resting?  Even if you are super lazy, you probably feel guilty for resting; it is reputedly so unproductive! What would it mean for you to rest?

Get out of the media

I got to the point where I didn’t even like watching the Phillies – all that tension! I would not even follow the Eagles to Prime; I’d had enough. And I was so glad to not see Matt Cartwright commercials on YouTube! Poor Georgia! They are going to get a bonus month!

How about a semi media fast of some kind? Not just abstaining, necessarily, but doing better things. Try leafless forest bathing. Take a sick day – a sick of it day and get into the fall light and wind. Enjoy wearing a sweater. Call all your friends – leave cheery messages if they don’t answer; talk about them, not Trump, if they do answer. Make something: art, food, love. Read something fun.

Do something spiritual

There is only so much godlessness a person can take. Americans (and maybe everyone) think their government should save them. There is another way. I admit that most of my faith expression right now is personal or one on one. But why not go to a church meeting? I went to a meeting I might not return to last week. I found plenty of goodness and redemption in it. And I did something.

Write or sing a prayer song – or listen to one if that is the best you can do. Read that serious book that’s been laying there – here are my Goodreads suggestions. Talk to someone about where your heart is post-pandemic. This is so important! If you are married, have you even brought this up as a topic yet? Will a friend listen to you?

Face something personal, not just existential

I am not talking about perfecting your avoidance with any of these suggestions. But I do think we are so eager to control our environments (or so overwhelmed by not being able to do so), we are in a general state of anxiety which generally feels terrible. Given how little I like Mr. Crone, I might avoid an internet-mediated processes for facing something personal. Instead, try sitting quietly for an hour and taking an inventory of what feels good and what does not. You don’t have to take a test to do this. Let the thoughts and feelings rise from what you already know or what God will show you. Gently examine what you think and feel. Take one thing that needs some help and do something. Forgive someone. Clean up your desk. Consider how you use porn. Have that conversation. Make a connective gesture.

Prep for the holidays

Have the holidays at the level you choose, but choose. Holidays should be holy, but even if they are not, they certainly should take days. I know it is irritating when Mariah Carey starts again (another thing I can’t wait to be over every year). But how about not looking at all the bad stuff, not gritting your teeth and getting through the holiday season? This would be a great year to make a plan for what you want to do with the season and doing what you want to do, rather than having “one more thing” you have to deal with. We’re needy this year.

Get a head start on 2023

What do you really want to be and do next year? I don’t mean what should you be and do, but what do you desire? What’s more, what can you really do? Americans generally respond to new years by making plans and having resolve. I have one acquaintance who makes a plan to get drunk and usually succeeds! But most of us make a plan to get paid somehow and proceed accordingly.

Am I being too hard on us? Don’t we think that doing something for free is a waste of time? Aren’t we’re generally a very contractual bunch? A partner in a couple I counseled realized, “I don’t want to forgive, so I decided no one needs to forgive me” — give up on reconciliation and all sorts of problems get solved! Some people don’t want to feel guilty, so they go with Peter Crone’s advice to “name yourself perfect as you are.” So, in looking toward the new year, you may have already said, “I don’t want to be disappointed in myself or in 2023, so I will not have any expectations.”

When I say “Get a head start on 2023” I’m not talking about revving up for a productive year. I’m talking about being content, happy, joyful – somewhere on that spectrum, and getting started on that. Get ready for a year of heartfelt goodness and love, and a glimpse of the truth. What can I loosen up? What step can I take? What long-term reformation can I begin? What stirs me, just thinking about what might come after all this?


Labor Day: You matter. What you do matters.

A few thoughts on Labor Day to answer a common question: Can I do the job I am supposed to do, can I think as I am supposed to think as defined by my employer and still be a Christian?  Can I dare to serve Jesus without reserve and still have a normal job?

Yes. When we do our regular duties, they are made holy because God is with us in the process and we are in God’s world. We don’t do anything that does not matter. No matter what person or institution claims to own us, we know better; we are children of God.

We can go to work and receive whatever comes as full of possibilities. For from [Christ] and through him and to him are all things (Romans 11:36).

On the active side, we can do whatever we are doing at the moment to God’s glory, meaning we do it as an act or service, or obedience, or hope, or whatever. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

How can I be a Christian at work? Part of it has to do with how you see work. Are you God’s at work? Do you do your work with God in mind? Do you see the workplace like God does? It all makes a huge difference.

In Christ, work is no longer a necessary evil. It is now an opportunity, just like everything else.  “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). The work doesn’t make me who I am, I make the work serve my deepest purposes, no matter what it is. I can be who I am in it.

Jesus is who he is in his work! When he was doing his work, he never “went to work.” All the various things he did were about being who he is and doing what gave him opportunity. Christ did everything his Father commanded until he could honestly say, “It is finished” on the cross. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work(John 4:34-5)…. “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:19-21).

Does Jesus live to work or work to live? He does both. He was born to do his work. And he says he is fed by the work he does. We are called to share that ongoing work of re-creation in every generation. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world (John 17:18 ). When we show up at our jobs, our cells, our PM Team rehearsal, our work day on the community garden we’re there to honor God in what we do and in how we do it — or not.

Three general ideas on how to be a Christian at work

Let your life speak

Go to work tomorrow or next month or next year and do your absolute best. Be the best employee, the best manager, the best counter person you can be. Be known as the most honest, most humble, most ethical, most competent person in your field. And do all that not to merely advance your own career, but to advance God’s fame. It makes every day worth living.

If you desperately want to make a difference in life, but you have a habit of not showing up to work on time, or you don’t return calls or complete assignments, people will not think God looks that great, probably, should you ever reveal you know Jesus. Being a slovenly worker is why some people never mention Jesus at work; they expect to give Jesus a bad name.

At the same time, don’t get crazy, thinking your work is all Jesus has going for him. But even though the Lord is not relying totally on your perfection, you matter — and you have the same job as Jesus! He probably would not have been a pastor or missionary the way we think of them; he probably would have been more like you. He probably would have worked at Target or Starbucks, since he would inevitably meet everyone on the planet there.

Look forward to problems

You might know some way-too-happy Christians who go to work thinking that since they love Jesus, everything is going to work out. It’s not. You might miss your quota. You might lose a client. You might get fired. You might have tensions with your boss or your co-workers. These things don’t mean that Jesus doesn’t love you or that God isn’t on your side or that God is punishing you for that sin you can’t forget. The problems are just the inevitable result of living in a sin-ridden world; thorns infest the ground. Work doesn’t always work the way it should. So have a big idea of how you are a re-creator with God but be realistic about sin, too. Jesus hasn’t come back yet.

Every problem is an opportunity to rely on Jesus to redeem it. Problems are what keep us redeemers in business. So if you work with problem people in a problematic place that might be the best of all possible worlds for the redemption project. If your work is hard, that might be an advantage to your deeper purposes.

Keep the Sabbath

Rest is crucial to work. Rest is the ying to the yang of action. It is part of how we work. I’m not talking about the bifurcated idea of work-life balance, or work and leisure. That’s one of those binary descriptions of things that got popular in the 1800s and we have not shaken off the definitions yet. We have a calling that is 24/7 and we express ourselves in various ways. We might rest from our labor, but that does not mean we are not generally at work. We don’t find ourselves in our leisure and do work to pay for it.

Resting is elemental to working and working is elemental to resting. Without rest we do not work right, without work we don’t rest right. Most of us are so tied up in our music, video, e-mail, social networks, entertainment, texts and general busyness that we tend to forget the art of resting. Maybe the best thing we can do for ourselves, for our employer, for our careers, and for the glory of God is to set apart one day in our week when we unplug — when the cell phone is off, when we don’t check email, when we take a really long nap, when we worship and pray, when we take a walk or watch a sunset.

If your work obligations don’t permit a 24-hour period of rest every week, then consider taking a personal day every month for solitude and silence and rest. Why wouldn’t you? Your co-workers will take personal days when a pet dies or when a girlfriend breaks up with them or when they are hung over from a long weekend. We don’t need to feel guilty for taking one day out of every 30 to refresh our souls through intimate communion with God.

God is with us in the process and we are in God’s world. We don’t do anything that does not matter. No matter what person or institution claims to own us, we know better; we are children of God. So here’s my blessing for you on Labor Day: Therefore, my beloved [family], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).