Just rest, Jill.” Inwardly I groaned. How often did I need to hear that reminder? Recently it seemed to come from every angle. Coworkers, friends, family. “Jilly, do you think you could rest? Why don’t you take time for yourself?”
My response was always the same: a polite nod, with an even politer smile. The words, polished and smoothed, came out the same. “That’s great advice. I’ll look into it.”
The truth was that if I had had time I’d have taken it already. Who has time to rest? to do anything besides work?
And so the days, weeks, months, and years slipped by. Focus, Jill. Yet it became harder for the mind to control the body. And still the treadmill continued: Just one more email. Another voicemail to answer. One last contract to write. Then I’ll rest.
The truth was that I felt trapped. No matter how much I accomplished, there was always more to do. No matter how much I delegated, the next task appeared, staring me in the face. How could I push it aside and rest?
I prayed about it, but no answer seemed to appear. Greg and I talked, but no ready solution emerged. I was stuck. Depression began to settle over me like a fog.
Sometimes God intervenes in our lives in the least-expected way. Recently Greg and I went to Mackinac Island in Michigan for our twentieth wedding anniversary. It was our “island in time.” No work calls. Limited emails and texts. There was time to close my eyes and feel the sun on my face. To lean back in the chair and talk with Greg, listening to the seagulls overhead and the waves on the shore. Time to find out what matters most.
Love. When everything distills down, that’s what really matters.
Love God. Sit and listen for His voice, speaking through the pages of His Word. Focus on who He is and what He’s done in your life. Take time to reflect on His goodness.
Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Or better put, let go of your inability to measure up to your own expectations of yourself. Let God be God. Learn to bask in who He thinks you are. Breathe that in. Allow yourself to accept His view of you.
Love others. God places people in our path for a purpose. Sometimes it’s to catch us when we fall. Or to bring joy and color to life. Whatever the reason, take time to savor those friendships, to be fully present in each moment.
Those three loves are the sum of life. And I’m beginning to discover the joy in those moments. Not the rushed, frantic moments, but the intentional ones. The savored moments, the present moments, the moments to love.
Work will always be here, but life won’t be. Take time to love, for in that moment comes life.