Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Running Running Resting

Do you ever wonder what the reason is that we are so caught up in our infatuating vices and don't enjoy the things we already have? Instead we ruin them in the process. Good health ruined by bad eating habits, the finances to dote on friends and family wrecked by shopaholism, or a good marriage with a wonderful spouse killed by running to someone else's arms. I'm sure there are lots of reasons. Justifications we make up; things we are taught by our parents or our culture or by bad things happening to us when we were growing up; not knowing better habits; the world being screwed over; or that humanity isn't a very happily evolved species after all. So many reasons and maybe many of them are true--probably truest are the ones we can't bear to face.

But maybe another reason is because we're in the hamster wheel of working death where we run and run and run and don't get much vacation time so we don't take vacation and save up that time off so we'll have a big chunk of it, or what the heck maybe I'll just not take a vacation for the next twenty years and retire a year early. And meanwhile I'm working really hard at my job so I can get ahead and be good enough and be better than the next man and achieve something worthwhile and I'll enjoy the fruits of it all later--except that later I won't have health or even a family any more since I didn't spend any time on them, and in the mean time I have needs to be met, so I'll just go with the quick-satisfaction route, food to make me feel better or porn so I don't have to invest in a relationship.

The thing is, we're supposed to make sure our needs are being met, in the right and healthy ways. God wants us to take time off from work, even work he gave us to do, and go spend time with our family and work out and read good books. He means for us to get help for our emotional problems instead of turning to things like food or shopping to comfort us. Philippians says to look after the needs of other the same as you do your own. This tells me that I'm supposed to be looking after my needs; but it also tells me that if I'm not, I won't be very good at meeting others' needs either because, frankly, I won't have the grace, time, or know-how to love and serve them.

I can't love my family and friends until I've started learning to take care of myself. I'll never be perfect. But I need to at least be willing to stop working, risk being seen as an under-achiever, and obtain what I need--rest, sleep, food, relationship, a phone call, soul time, whatever. If I'm willing to take care of myself, I'll be more okay with putting aside my agenda and to-do list in order to take care of others.

Furthermore, human flourishing is rarely an individual act. We live and grow together. We love and respect and learn together. What's good for me is very often what's good for those around me too: family time, a game night, healthy meals, regular corporate worship. We need each other.

Maybe then we won't feel that we need one more cookie or one more dress or one more throw pillow or one more movie or one more affair or one more peek at facebook or one more...just one more. I don't need one more. I realized I already have what I was looking for.