Doing More by Doing Less

Okay, I’ve got a confession to make.

This isn’t the post I wanted to write this week.

I had originally planned on writing a post on the topic of grace. Being that I’m a Methodist pastor, it seems fitting (and yes, it does have something to do with the title of the blog). I had an idea in my head, and I ran with it. I was looking up other blogs, re-reading books, looking at some Wesley sermons, it was going to be awesome. And it still is.

Just not this week.

What has happened this week, however, is that my busyness factor somehow felt as though it went up by a factor of 10.

Maybe it’s because I’m settled into my “seminary groove” now, I know what’s due when, and how to get there, so I’ve been able to dig into my coursework more. Maybe it’s all the hours I’m putting in at Target (remember- I’m bi-vocational). Maybe it’s because I have kids who take naps and are then up half the night. Maybe it’s because I try to work hard at everything I do, but am exhausted in the evenings, leaving little time for anything but relaxing (or going to bed early).

I’m sure it’s all of those things put together. In short- life happened this week. In a big way. Work at Target was busy & chaotic (like it usually is), the kids were silly & crazy (like they usually are), and schoolwork is challenging & difficult (like it usually is).

So what made this week different from other weeks?

I finally realized something earlier tonight.

I have struggled for many years with keeping a Sabbath. I have tried taking Sunday, or Monday, or after work- (intentionally not doing seminary work for a day), you get the idea. Recently, I felt convicted that it was something I needed to start doing again, and that to neglect it was to do so at the peril of my soul.

So, this past Sunday- I took the day. Most of it, anyway. I did a few seminary-related things in the evening after the kids fell asleep, but I was present at home for most of the day with my family. And it was good.

Yet somehow, taking one day of rest in my brain translated in going nonstop the other 6. Oh, and trust me. This past week, I did. To the point where today on my lunch break at work, I felt my mind spinning and over thinking work or seminary or church related things. So much so that instead of trying to get some reading done, instead, I put on some Jazz (Chris Botti is one of my favorite Jazz musicians), and prayed the Collect for Friday from the BCP:

“Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord. Amen.”

So I sat, and was.

I wasn’t doing anything, I was simply existing in the presence of God.

Even if only for five minutes.

And you know what? I felt better. I felt like it was a “lunchtime Sabbath,” and one I desperately needed.

And don’t get me wrong, I think there’s something to be said for working hard every day but Sunday, but at some point in every 24 hour period, I need to rest, and also to sleep. And taking every 7th day as a day of rest also doesn’t mean I have to push myself to the edge of sanity every day.

While working on my post on grace (which is coming soon, by the way), I connected with a fellow pastor I met on Twitter, April Fiet. She recently wrote a short piece as a guest blogger on grace, and she had this to say:

“I have heard it said that grace is “getting what you don’t deserve,” but I believe that grace is getting what we need.”

(You can read the whole post here).

And what I needed today was rest. Which, it turns out, was in itself, full of grace.

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