Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Crumpled Dixie Cup

I’ll begin with a confession. Not particularly big one, or one that’s all that shocking. But still a confession.

I don’t rest well.

I don’t power down easily.

I tend to do things abruptly. I think in a “black and white” sort of way, so that’s the way I naturally live. As in, I’ll be going 100 miles per hour and suddenly I’ll crash. Basically “rest” comes for me once I’ve crashed.

Like I said, not very explosive.

But I guess in that sense, I’m a good American. We go as hard as we can until we can’t go anymore and that’s just life. There are no breaks, no stopping, time is money. Or time is whatever you find to be most important.

Time is relationships. Time is business. Time is family. Time is fun. Could really be anything, I guess.

Regardless I’ve begun to revisit a revelation I had a while back. And that is that the way I tend to emulate a high speed car crash… Isn’t that healthy.

And it’s hurting me.

Today I found the words behind a suspicion I’ve always had. I think I stress myself out so much I get headaches. Apparently these are called “tension headaches” and are super common, which isn’t surprising. Quite frankly, they’re terrible. I don’t think they come close to migraines, but that doesn’t mean I like them. But, like that good American, I press on. Medicating with some form of ibuprofen or aspirin, I trudge forward because that’s all I’m supposed to do. Keep moving.


Well, from what I’ve determined the answer is more like…. Nah.

Not looking too hot
The image I get is a crumpled up Dixie cup. Already been filled and drained several times. Now starting to fall apart. Could probably still do its job, but no one really wants that from the Dixie cup.

Sometimes I find myself a crumpled up Dixie cup. Utterly spent and nearly useless, but still trying. I think we often would call this trait admirable or enduring. Going until you can't anymore, laying it all out, leaving it all on the field. We tend to call this strength in our culture. 

I think we shouldn't be praising those who all but kill themselves in the name of some job or hobby. Instead I think we need to call it what it is, absolutely ridiculous.  

It’s as if I suddenly look up and realize that I’m a train wreck. My intentions are great, my motives pure. But I’m just doing it wrong.

Rest is (unfortunately for those of us who never want to stop moving) biblical. As in, it’s ok to rest. Seriously. Take a deep breath.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I’ve found myself feeling guilty about the idea of rest before. What else could I be doing? Who could I be impacting? What could I be changing?

In a classic example of doing what I say and not as I do, I’ve often given people advice about this. I usually say something to the effect of: “Take care of yourself, you’re no use to people or the kingdom if you’ve run yourself into the ground.” I personally think this is great advice. I’m less jazzed about it when I’m on the receiving end.

Why on Earth am I talking about this? Because I’ve been sprinting for a while and now my legs need to take a break. Because I’ve just about reached the point where my car is about to crash. Because I’m one more sip away from being a crumpled Dixie cup.

And I need to rest.

And I’m not the only one.

Lay down your stresses. Lay down your worries. Lay down your cares. Lay down your desires, drives, and goals.

Once you’ve done that, I think it’s time you lay yourself down… and rest.

Your Father wants to take care of you, provide for you, and restore you. But He can’t if you won’t let Him. If I won’t let Him.

So let’s do it together. Find something, any one thing that gives you true rest. Not Netflix-binge rest. Not food rest. Not unhealthy rest. But true rest. 

Much better
For me, it’s driving to the mountains and playing around in the woods. Something that I’m realizing is more necessary for me to live than I thought. I think we trivialize rest because we don’t think any good can come from anything so seemingly counterproductive. To which I would challenge your perspective. Because like I said, a spent or crumpled Dixie cup doesn’t seem too productive.

What’ll it be for you? Go find it. And see what it’s like to live with a full tank rather than constantly living on empty.