I tried to take a day off yesterday.
And I succeeded.
Actually, I should say WE succeeded.
For I was allowed this opportunity by the people around me who love me and get that I must refuel if I hope to be able to take others anywhere important in their lives. These are the people who responded with loving-yet-tough words when I wrote what I did last week, asking, "How can we help you say 'no' better?" And the same kinds of voices who asked, "You take care of us, but who takes care of you?"
So yesterday I turned off my cell phone. That meant when I was driving around and thought, "Oh, I should probably call Blaise about an idea for basketball this Sunday" or "There was this thing from Monday night's meeting that I should follow up with Jon about," I simply kept the phone off and kept driving. And when I was tempted to turn it on to call home about something, I thought, "You know, today... I'll just wait and drive the extra three minutes because I can wait to ask Katie that question when I see her in person."
It's amazing to let your day be more like a crockpot versus the microwave we often make it out to be. (It even tastes better.)
I also only used the internet for a few random things... like helping my boys out on a video game they got stuck on (some websites are quite detailed in how to crush a 2-dimensional turtle with spikes on it). There was also an email I had to check for a personal reason, which meant that as I glanced at the other email subjects that wanted my attention for work I had to practice the discipline of "intentional overlooking until later." And then I did little Bible study to help me replenish my perspective with God... the core of any good Sabbath one might take.
So here's what I (re)learned...
It turns out a person can turn his cell phone off and the world continues to turn... proving that we are not as important as we think we are. I know that's not what we like to hear, which is why when we are in a face-to-face conversation with someone or sitting in a meeting we are constantly are checking our Facebook page notifications, looking to see if someone send us a TXT or voicemail, or hoping our email inbox is full.
I mean, have you ever had someone you're attempting to have a conversation with keep typing away on their laptop or QWERTY phone pad instead of looking at you? Or maybe the better question - have you ever been that person? (I'll raise my hand on that). In one relationship I had in the past I found I couldn't carry on conversation with someone on staff face-to-face - his eyes were always fixed on his laptop whenever we "talked."
And yet the people I did interact with yesterday enjoyed the fullness of my presence with them... proving we are more important than we think we are. When my youngest son asked, "Can you play with me?" and my answer was a quick "Yes" - not "Sure, let me finish this" or "I can't right now because I'm working," his face and life lit up. And when my oldest son looked at me after we'd spent time swimming at the local rec center together, he said, "Dad, I really like it when we spend time together with you like this." I wouldn't trade that comment for a million dollar check.
This morning I was talking with my wife about it all, and she felt the overflow of it as well as she said, "It makes a real difference in my day when you're able to give us all your full attention." We talked about a few other things along those lines, but that's lovey-dovey husband/wife chat that I don't need to write about here. The point is that now today as I go off to fight the good fight and come alongside of others my family won't resent me doing so... and my tank is full, so I don't think I will resent it all that much either.
Because, again... we are not as important as we think we are, proving we can be unavailable for a day.
But we are more important than we think we are, proving we must be available for a day.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. 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." (Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30, MSG)
If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he's talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God's church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap. (1 Timothy 3:1-7. MSG)