In his book, The Art of The Rest, Pastor Adam Mabry describes the way that he would sometimes ask his wife what she wanted to do that day, and she‘d respond, “Let’s just hang out.” In response, he says:
“I’d then proceed with a list of activities which I thought were conducive to this ‘just hanging out’ of which she spoke. We could take a walk, play a game, have a discussion… any of these. But please, PLEASE, could we have a plan for our relaxation, because the whole day could go by without us making progress on that “hanging out” task, and then we would end up failing to hit our goal of relaxing.”Adam Mabry, The Art of Rest
Of course, you might sense a bit of “spiritual dysfunction” in a statement like that, and Pastor Adam agrees! “Here’s my problem,” he confesses. “I don’t ‘just hang out.’ In fact, I don’t really ‘just’ anything. I do.”
Now, those who know me won’t be surprised to hear me say that Pastor Adam’s confession resonates with me. I tend to live in a state of constant motion, always looking for the next meaningful way to use my time. And while this does allow me to be reasonably productive, it also puts me at risk of getting burned out – or of missing what really matters in my rush to stay busy.
And that’s why it’s such a gift to find myself on sabbatical. As of last Monday, I have an opportunity to set my “task-oriented impulses” aside so that I can focus on “being” rather than “doing.” Of course, the transition hasn’t been easy. For much of this last week, I’ve found myself struggling with the sense that I ought to be accomplishing something. But as of last night, my family and I have arrived in Orlando, where we’ll be enjoying a week or so of vacation. And it is my prayer that our visit to “The Magic Kingdom” will deepen my capacity for living in “The Peaceable Kingdom,” in which the One who reigns loves us not because of “what we do” but because “who He is” and “what He’s done.” As Pastor Adam Mabry puts it: “Resting requires you to admit that you are not sufficient, and to acknowledge that there is One who is.”
So, here’s to “Just hanging out” in the days ahead. And here’s to the Savior who calls us to come to Him, so that He can teach us rest.
Pics to follow in the coming days…