I’ll be upfront about my taste in music: I’m eclectic. I enjoy a variety of styles and artists.
Lately, I’ve been indulging in Mozart and Bach while reading and writing. When studying, it’s all about Elevation, River Valley, and Hillsong. My driving music is usually jamming 80’s tunes. Yet, when the family is in the car, the radio is on a local station as to either fill in the silence or to drown out my random singing (usually the latter).
Every once in a while, a song by Justin Bieber will come on. Honestly, I don’t mind him. The songs are a catchy but I can’t say I’m always looking forward to a new Bieber album (I may have someone in my family who feels a bit more enthusiasm toward his music but my wife will remain nameless #ShesABelieber).
Today came an announcement that shocked the Beliebers world-wide: He cancelled the rest of his tour.
I don’t necessarily keep track of these things. My phone doesn’t get Bieber notifications. But it caused enough of a stir that took over my twitter feed and began to appear on Facebook. You may say, “who cares?” I do. Why? Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that he is an influencer. And what I like to do is to learn from influencers of our culture. As a pastor, I want to grow and I believe that there is much to learn in the church world as well as outside of it. So when these cultural moments happen, I always ask the question, “is there something that I need to learn?”
The Canadian musician has been on tour for the last 18 months and has performed more than 150 shows on six continents. While Twitter began to rant and whine, John Mayer tweeted out a couple of thoughts of perspective:
Though I don’t see exactly why the cancellation, I think the stats hint what has happened. In the last 78 weeks, he’s performed 150 times on every continent (with the exception of Antarctica). This doesn’t even include interviews and rehearsals. This doesn’t include any commitments to any appearances. I look at the few stats and see a larger issue that every single one of us are susceptible to.
What have I learned (or re-learned)? If we don’t claim the pace of our lives, our pace of life will claim us.
Fatigue has a price
Ironically, yesterday I had a conversation about this subject with a recent retired man on the golf course. He talked about how he’d be contracted to work during the day and another company would hire him at triple-time to work through the evenings on other projects. “Pastor Dave, I may have made a lot of money but it cost me my family.” My heart broke as I saw a side of this man I’ve never seen. There was something in his tone and his eyes as if to say, “Dave, please learn from my failure.”
Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many striving to “provide for the marriage and/or family” that they miss out on providing what is truly needed for their marriage and/or family. As a spouse and parent, your presence trumps any present you can offer. You’re focused attention and affection is needed more than you know. Fatigue has a price. And it will cost you the energy, vision, and determination you need to find health personally, maritally, and in our family.
In the story of Sampson, Delilah didn’t take him down. Fatigue did. He could have handled what he was facing if he had guarded himself. But the weariness wore him down cost him his strength and role. We can learn from this. We must do better.
Fatigue creates vulnerability.
I’m not saying fatigue is sinful. We all get tired. But know, when you get worn down, you become vulnerable on every level: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Personally, when I go through times of depression, my wife will immediately check my work schedule. 100% of the time, she’ll see that my pace set me up for the crash. It may have been an email or comment to trigger the funk, but the routine I was living created a vulnerability.
This thought makes me think of Matthew 4:2-3. When Jesus had been in the wilderness, the “tempter” came, not at the beginning, but after 40 days of fasting. When we are worn down, there must be a realization of our vulnerability and a recognition that healthy actions must be taken to position us to healthy outcomes.
Rest is best
So often, I speak to pastors about the issue of rest. I’m a very driven person; by nature a workaholic. I want to be productive and effective and I have to constantly remind myself: One of the most productive things I can do is rest. I’ve learned that lesson all to well from other areas of my life. The best athletes know how to work their bodies to peak performance and for their bodies to work well, they must rest well. Even our electronics work better when they’ve been shut off and allowed to “rest/reset.” I’ve heard people say, “I can’t afford to rest.” I’d submit to you: You can’t afford to NOT rest.
Recognize the cost of rest
Rest has a cost. I’m not trying to set up Justin Bieber as the model of perfection. But I see a young man who made a difficult decision to “pull the plug” on the pace and refund thousands of fans. I see something that I can understand as an important step towards a healthy pace in life. If you want healthy margin, it’s going to have a cost. I meet far too many men and women in their 50’s and 60’s who voice their regrets as spouses and parents. What do I hear? I don’t hear, “I wish I put in more overtime” or “I wish I would’ve been busier.” I hear,
- “I wish I would have spent more time with him/her/them.”
- “I should’ve been at their ballgame/recital/ceremony.”
- “I wish I would have been around more.”
- “I wish I would have taken my spouse and kids to church instead of sending them.”
If you are going to develop a good healthy margin of rest, you need to know what to lay down. You’ve only got 24 hours in a day. Adding “rest” doesn’t work; Rest will cost you something that needs to be laid aside. In the words of another man I encountered, “My family needed a healthy home more than they needed a nice house.”
Rest is intentional.
We’ve got to recognize that rest can be different for everyone. That’s okay. But instead of making excuses of why you can’t find some rest, take opportunities and risk to discover it. For you, rest may be a hammock with a good book. To some, being creative (painting, carving, building, etc) is relaxing. Regardless, rest doesn’t happen by accident. You need to be intentional about scheduling and engaging in it. Rest is meant to realign and refocus your life. It gives you a chance to reconnect with the people and the things that are truly important and critical to your life. Like a car when the alignment off, you can only drive that way for so long before something has deteriorated enough to keep you from moving forward.
Rest is trust
The idea/concept of sabbath is something we don’t talk about enough. Sabbath wasn’t for God, it was a gift to us. The Lord knows how much we can take AND the cost of an unhealthy pace. We need to catch His sabbath heart for us and embrace what He’s given.
Rest is revolution. Rest is a statement against that which wants to rule over us. Rest says, “I sabbath from my pace because I trust God and not myself as my provider.” Perhaps THIS is our ultimate struggle as a rest-less culture; we trust ourselves more than we trust God. For this reason, we need to trust God more. And, perhaps one of the best ways to combat “self” and trust God is to step back and rest.
As a person with the tendency to work non-stop, I speak out of the heart conveyed by the Apostle Paul who said,
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Philippians 3:12
I love you all. Don’t think rest will come accidentally. Make rest happen.
Praying for ya Justin!!
…thanks for letting me ramble.