My new book, Addicted to Busy, releases this Fall. I wrote the book because, more than anyone else, I need to embrace rhythms and rest. I would love to know if this book is needed in your life right now.
In one sense, I’m the worst person to be writing this book, seeing as I’m a complete hypocrite when it comes to actually living out the restful rhythms I so passionately espouse. But in another sense, I’m the perfect choice, because I recognize that digging in my heels and demanding self-discipline will never correct my errant ways. They can’t and won’t correct your errant ways either, which is how I can so boldly declare that this book will not change your life. A book never changes our lives.
Here’s what will change our rhythms, our pace, our lives: revelation from the Spirit of God, or, in other words, the ability to detectspiritually what we’ve only had sensory knowledge of before. Yes, life is made up of tasks on the to-do list, our vehicles whizzing down the road, kids rattling off their incessant needs and wants, the hurried embrace of a spouse who is rushing off to drive carpool, the scent of one more bag of fast food—really, now, who has time to cook anymore?
But it also involves an undercurrent, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, a spiritual underpinning holding together our days. It’s the God story that contextualizes the Us story. It’s a spiritual understanding that makes our lives make sense. The highest goal I can set for this book is that it will somehow serve as a conduit for the revelation we so sorely need. Mere words on a page can’t talk us out of our beloved freneticism, but the Holy Spirit can. And will, if we will let him.
I want this revelation, and yet I don’t. Because on the heels of real revelation, real-deal growth is required. “Revelation is not for the faint of heart,” writes Anne Lamott. But how beautiful it is when it finally appears. Without it, she continues, “life can seem like an endless desert of danger with scratchy sand in your shoes, and yet if we remember or are reminded to pay attention, we find so many sources of hidden water, so many bits and chips and washes of color, in a weed or the gravel or a sunrise. There are so many ways to sweep the sand off our feet. So we pray, ‘Oh, my God. Thanks.’”
That sense of gratitude is what I desperately want to feel. I want to receive revelation, I want to live from revelation, and I want to thank God for saving my sanity, by gently prodding me to slow my pace. And yet here’s a question I think about: would I even know how to live a slowed-down life? Would I know what to do with rest? When I was first handed my newborn son, while I was instantly in love with him, there was this secret question rushing through my brain: “What does it do?”
Would I look at a well-rested life the same way?
How do I hold it?
What is it good for?
What on earth does it do?
I wonder if I’d be the guy who would unravel with the quiet of it all.
Still, I’m willing to try. I’m willing to put on a rhythmic life. When we know better, we do better, Maya Angelou says, in her unfailingly poetic way. I’ve known better for a long, long time. I’m ready for the doing-better part to begin.
In Jewish tradition, the command to “keep the Sabbath holy” is followed religiously, beginning at sundown Friday and lasting a full twenty-four hours, until sundown Saturday. Friday evening, as a way to welcome the prescribed unplug, the family recites a blessing—Kiddush, it’s called, literally meaning “holy.” There’s a Kiddush cup that you use, which looks like an ornate goblet that’s been glued to a small saucer—a saucer that’s really important, not only in function, but also in form. When the blessing is recited, typically by the father of the family, wine is poured into the goblet until it overflows, spilling out. You can get the cup and saucer for fifteen bucks on Amazon, but you can get what it represents only by living a rhythmic life. The pouring out, the overflow, the blessing—the symbol here as Sabbath begins is that God’s abundance cannot be contained.
This is what I’m after: feeling not empty, but full. Living not full-throttled, but at rest. Letting whatever abundance God has in store for me come in, sit down, be at home.
Take it easy.
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy.
Lighten up while you still can.