At the top of the stairs, I stopped to take a picture of leashes and reusable shopping bags and an apron from Nano, hanging on hooks behind the side door. The simplicity caught my eye at the end of a day where I’d been doing enough work to make Jack a dull boy.
There is a rhythm that runs through life, and it sounds like this: work, rest, play, work, rest, play, work, rest, play. All of it is worship. Until one starts rising up, taking over the other two and pushing them to the back of the room. This week, for me, work tried to force herself to the front of the line—as if there were a line that needed a leader. She was sneaky, that one.
I let her be the boss of me. After all, I reasoned to myself, I’d taken a day off earlier this week to breathe and play and to catch up with old friends. So, I sat in my chair, my shoulders squeezing tight against my neck, my husband peeking in from time to time to ask, “Is everything okay?” I grunted back in affirmation and kept at it: work, work, work, work, work.
Some days, it’s necessary to work work work work work. There are deadlines and projects that require nose-to-the-grindstone discipline and dedication. We press and we lean in (as they say) and we fall in to bed, exhausted and pleased. Those are good days. The harvest complete, or the last paragraph written, or the documents signed in all the right places, or the walls painted and the curtains hung, or the deal sealed. But yesterday, my work was driven by all the wrong things: feelings of inadequacy, guilt over taking a break, a desire for a person to pat me on the back and say, “Well done.” So, the last time my husband stopped by my office and gave me a look of concern, I closed the computer, filled a fancy glass with club soda, and grabbed my camera.
The hooks behind the door caught my eye, and I set down my fancy glass on the floor by my feet so my hands would be free to take a few shots and I let the sound of the shutter help me rediscover the cadence of worship. The light through the window. The simple items of daily life, hung on hooks behind the door. The knots in the apron strings, the texture of the shopping bags, the light at my feet, and the cool air from the basement wrapping itself around my ankles as I stood at the top of the steps.
God has given us all good things to enjoy. The gifts of work and rest and play were made for us, and not the other way around. We don’t serve them; they are not the boss of us. Jesus is the only leader any of us needs. Maybe you’ve been being bossed around lately by one of these great gifts. Maybe they’ve tricked you into believing you are at their mercy, or that you don’t deserve a different rhythm in your life. I believe Christ would beg to differ, and I encourage you to pay attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit—whether speaking through a concerned husband, a blog post, or a simple “feeling” in your gut.
Are the gifts of work, rest, and play getting the right amount of time and attention in your life? Is one trying to be the boss of you? Make a decision, today, to give space for the one being pushed to the back of the room. For you, which one will that be?