Life is busy. We're constantly moving from one thing to the next. Our meetings, commutes, cell phones, etc. rush us along. The Protestant work ethic suggests that we're faithful and good Christians only as long as we're constantly working and busy. The extreme of capitalism suggest that we're important and productive people only if every time slot in our planners is filled with something work-related. The image of Jesus as selflessly sacrificing his time and life for others suggests that we're Christlike only if we're also selfless with our time and life. All of these things form us into super busy and stressed out people who can forget the importance of fun, sabbath, solitude, recreation, quality family time, etc.
When we feel pressure to conform to a busy, stressful lifestyle, we must remember that Jesus took time for rest and renewal - and invited others to do that too. Jesus recognized the need to take care of oneself in order to help take care of others. He understood the importance of self care. Mark 6:31 offers important words: "Jesus said to them, 'Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat." In other words, it's a faithful act to take care of ourselves.
It's okay to limit our jobs to 40 hours a week. It's okay to limit our jobs to 5 days a week. It's okay to take vacations with family. It's okay to practice sabbath by doing things that renew our spiritual energy. It's okay to do fun things that provide us with peace and pleasure. It's okay to live out our life goals in the present moment. It's okay to take care of our own bodies and minds. It's okay to take time to exercise and eat healthy. It's okay to enjoy retirement after a lifetime of work. Really! These things are okay, despite what the dominant narratives of our culture tells us.
Life is short and should be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. Jesus came to invite us into "abundant life" (John 10:10) and "complete joy" (John 15:11). Thich Nhat Hahn invites us to appreciate the miracle of the present moment: "The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. " Nadine Aydt invites us to live fully in the present with a simple suggestion: "Do something every day to make a good memory." All of these ideas beckon us out of incessant busyness and into the "here and now" so we can more fully enjoy our daily lives.
Alanis Morissette's new song, "Incomplete," is a powerful hymn about living life to the fullest in the present moment. The song begins by talking about a list of things Alanis wants to do "one day" (when she has enough time), such as being a good friend and developing a relationship with God. Then the chorus of the song is about realizing she has been rushing toward the finish line of life without making time to do the things she really wants to do in life. In the end, Alanis realized that she'd been "missing the rapture this whole time," so she chooses to change her life and live her dream of "one day," everyday. Instead of rushing through life, she decides to live more fully in the present moment with God, friends, peace, etc. In the end, this song is about discovering that life is now or never. Therefore, "Incomplete" is a great reminder to slow down and enjoy life in the here and now.
Now is the time. Now is the only time. If you want to seek union with God, do it now. If you want to be faith-filled, do it now. If you want to be a good friend, do it now. If you want to find peace, do it now. If you want to enjoy your family, do it now. If you want to have fun, do it now. If you want to seek wholeness, do it now. If you want to appreciate life more fully, do it now. Every moment is a kairos moment, a moment drenched in divine possibility.
Life is sacred. Soak it up for all it's worth!