When I was looking for a church to join in Miami shortly after moving to Florida, I spent several weeks moving from one congregation to the next seeking a spiritual home. I’ll always remember this time, because over three straight weeks and inside vastly different churches, the sermon was the same.
Looking back, I find it so apt that the message that greeted me when I moved to Miami was to rest.
To let things happen. To let the Lord do His thing. To wait. To quit the endless doing.
The last decade of my life can best be surmised with one word: Work.
I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am.
Over the last decade, there have been few moments were I truly felt I could let my guard down and rest. I have spun my wheels in every direction, taking on countless projects, jobs and opportunities that came my way.
In the sport industry, work is glorified. If you glance at my Twitter timeline or read the Facebook feeds of my friends in this industry, it is as though we are in a competition to out work each other. The competition is fierce, and there is a perception that if you slow down someone will sneak in to take your spot.
Given this pressure, when I entered the sport industry in 2011, I rarely took breaks. I worked weekends. I glanced at my phone during nights out with friends and even while on dates. I worked from sun up to sun down and was always “on.” “Vacations” were traveling to sporting events to cover them for whatever media entity I was working for at the time. My life resembled nothing of a work/life balance.
Then I heard those sermons. My first Sunday in Miami, the pastor who preached at the church I attended said something that I had known since my first week of Sunday school: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”
A lightbulb went off in my head: If God could create the universe and still find time to rest, I could be a productive member of the sport industry and still find time to rest.
Resting isn’t weakness.
Resting is about recharging.
Resting is about securing your purpose.
Working in sports, it’s easy to get burnt out. The days are long and the seasons seem to never end. Working without rest, it’s easy to lose your purpose and rather, just begin to exist.
In the last year, I’ve become very intentional about observing the Sabbath. Yes, the Sabbath is about worship, but it is also about rest. It is one day that we are called to stop and pause our worldly work. It is a day to recharge our batteries. It is a day to ensure our relationships are secure. It is a day to slow down to fully appreciate all that has been given to us through His grace and beautiful work. It is a day to question whether we are truly living out our purposes on this Earth.
I’ve said, “No” more in the last year than I ever have. I’ve turned down speaking engagements. I’ve opted out of trips. I haven’t written as much as I used to.
I’ve rested more than I ever have.
And in that rest, I feel that more so than ever, my purpose has come to life.
I am no longer scattered. The work, people, places and activities that I invest in are intentional. I know that each fulfills the purpose I was put on this Earth to live out.
When you don’t rest, you lose restlessness.
Instead, you gain focus.
And through that focus, you develop priorities.
When your priorities are set, time to rest becomes abundant. You recognize the times in which the work is done and all that is left, is for you to enjoy it.
What are you doing that you aren’t meant to? What wheels are you spinning that are making you tired? What are you pursuing to keep up with others that prevents you from living out your true purpose?
It’s critical to identify a mission for your life. No mission is too small, and no mission is too lofty. A mission is a reason for existing. To identify your mission, ask yourself what purpose you most desire to serve.
After identifying your mission, brainstorm ways you can accomplish it. What goals must you achieve to ensure that your mission comes to fruition? What roadblocks might prevent you from achieving it?
Those living for a mission–or higher purpose–know that their livelihood must be spent working towards achieving that mission. They cannot get lost pursuing roads that don’t lead to the completion of the mission.
Yet, those living for a mission–or higher purpose–know that they are best equipped to achieve their mission if they allow themselves rest.
If you don’t know your mission yet, that’s ok.
I’ll let you in on a secret, though.
I didn’t find my mission through working. My mission didn’t come to me through long nights or hard work.
My mission arrived when I stopped everything. When I slowed down. When I took long walks. When I sat on the beach and journaled. When I sipped coffee and turned off my smartphone. It came to me when I gave my brain and heart permission to pause the rat race and search for what I am here to do.
It’s an amazing thing that our purpose isn’t found through work, but in rest.