Workaholism… We’re all guilty of it at some point. My personality makes it easy for me to absorb myself in a project, burn the midnight oil for nights on end and even skip meals if I’m in the thick of developing a good idea. I think it’s safe to say that a permanent workaholic lifestyle is a bad idea.
However, I find it just as easy to fall into a different trap: relaxaholism (I’ll quit making up words soon, I promise). Simply put, when I’m not working, I’ll try to entertain myself to death. It’s always having the TV on in the background of whatever I’m doing. It’s checking Twitter on my iPhone while watching a movie with my wife. It’s checking my favorite blogs and news sites every 5 minutes so I won’t miss anything. It’s the tyranny of “staying connected.” It’s a poor use of my time.
Last week brought a welcome change of pace as I departed with our staff for a few days for our quasi-annual staff retreat in a town miles away from home. Upon checking in to our hotel room, like many geeks, the first thing I did was unpack my laptop and check for free WiFi… none was available.
I immediately broke into a cold sweat; what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to hunker over my iPhone all night to catch up with stuff online? Do I have to resort to watching Seinfeld reruns on a fuzzy hotel room TV? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO RELAX?
It hit me then that I don’t know how to relax and replenish myself… I’ve just taught myself to put my brain in neutral and find ways to be “entertained.” This nasty habit is the reason why it’s hard to find time to pray, soak in God’s word, spend time with my family, connect more with friends, etc. It’s a hollow substitute that made me miss so many of the little blessings that God lavishes upon us every day.
A lot changed that night. Instead of soaking up whatever garbage was on TV, I found a peaceful spot and spent some much-needed time in prayer. After returning home, Lauren and I spent a lot of time revisiting old stories and laughing about life in place of staring at a glowing box most of the night. We’ve made an effort to take our time cooking in the evening and enjoy a relaxed (and healthier) dinner while watching our 5-mo-old play in her chair. Heck, we’ve even found time to exercise.
It’s amazing how much time you actually have when you quit trying to keep up with things that don’t matter and force yourself to slow down.
What’s wasting the most time in your life? What’s keeping you from being still and knowing God? Whatever it is, toss it out. Life is better without the noise.