We've had two young men and my mother-in-law staying with us for the past while. We're running a soccer Bible camp, hence the young men, and it was my mother-in-law's 89th birthday, hence her visit. It's turned out to be a fun time. We have three daughters, all grown and away, so having some guys around has been great, even if they do eat a bit more. Well, okay, a lot more. "Grandma" has been teaching them to play dominoes so there's lots of laughter happening around the kitchen table.
I'm on the run, doing registration, being the "go-fer," making meals, cookies, doing laundry, etc. etc. etc. I don't mind it at all, but trying to get to my computer for some extended writing time has been a challenge. I was getting rather stressed about that when I remembered something that happened a while ago in the parking lot of a local bookstore. My husband and I were heading for our car when I heard my name being called and looked back to see one of my favourite writers, a mentor and friend for some years, Sigmund Brouwer. I was pleased to bump into him because I'd sent him an email some time before about speaking at a writers' event and he hadn't replied. When I mentioned it he explained that when he's writing he doesn't do email. After chatting for a while we went our separate ways and I commented to my husband, "I wonder what would happen if I ignored my email for that long?"
"The world would stop spinning and fall of its axis," he said. His sardonic reply made me grin and I realized there was a lot of truth behind his response. Having just gone through a whole year during which I could neither do much writing nor involve myself in most of the other endeavours in which I usually engage, I have come to realize that I'm not totally indispensible and a break in routine doesn't necessarily mean disaster. The world didn't stop spinning. Life did go on even if I had to take a break from some things. And the slower rhythm of life gave me time to ponder and listen and sometimes just enjoy.
So, with this week getting more and more busy I gave myself permission to take a break from the writing regimen I'd set out for myself to finish my latest w.i.p. The pause will throw the schedule off a bit, but it won't stop the world from spinning. As soon as I made that decision the week immediately became less stressful and a lot more fun. It reminded me of one of my favourite verses from The Message my Eugene Peterson - “I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)
"The unforced rhythms of grace." Words to ponder, words to build into our lives, as we take the time to "keep company" with the Lord, draw closer to those around us and closer to the interior workings of our thoughts and emotions, motives and dreams.
How about you? Is it time to give yourself permission to take a break?