Downtime

Time during which production is stopped
especially during setup for an operation
or when making repairs.

(Merriam-Webster)

Do you need some downtime? Are you ready for a break? Is your mind, body, or spirit telling you that it needs rest, a change of pace, a vacation? Often we push so hard that these organic systems have to become symptomatic – show dis-ease – before we will stop production. What can we do?

In manufacturing or IT, downtime is considered a problem. We are loosing profits when the machines are not running full tilt, all out, 24/7/365. The experts receive a text or page when this happens, and thus are called in to make the repairs, debug the system, and get everything back up and running. No work means no pay – for hourly workers and shareholders – and it may cost salaried employees their jobs. Without question, downtime is a bad thing and to be avoided at all costs.

Unless you are a slave (indentured servant, forced laborer, sweatshop worker, you get the picture). In most cultures, slaves have been considered by those in power to be expendable. The Abrahamic religions – Jusaism, Christianity and Islam – all share the commitment to sabbath as a common core value, at least in theology if not practice. The first two trace their origins to a tribe of slaves in Egypt 3500 years ago. Islam, having arisen in the 7th century of the common era, developed among a people intimately familiar with Jews and Christians.

The notion of sabbath is grounded in the idea that God also rested, stopped productivity, on the 7th day of creation (Genesis 2:1-3). The first creation story (Genesis 1) offers a compelling picture of a wildly and at times frantically creative artist. Separating light from dark, or land from water, may not seem like much to accomplish in a day. But then, to create all the lights in the sky – sun, moon AND stars – that is a crazy busy day. You’ve perhaps had some days like that. But God doesn’t rest yet. Days are spent making the vast diversity of living creatures with whom we share this planet – plants, bugs, birds, fish, reptiles, animals (bacteria, protozoa, amoeba, etc). Tired yet? Perhaps, but rest must wait. One thing remains – humans. Creation is not complete without them, and we are nothing without creation, and all things arise from and hold together in God. We are a thought in the mind of the artist.

Then, after all of that, rest finally comes. Don’t you just want to fall back in the tall, cool grass, staring up at all that surrounds you, breathe in the sweet air, and sigh?
(Thanks to Mama Pea Pod for this image.)lie back in the grassI imagine this is precisely what the story is trying to tell us that God did, that we are to do by emulation. We are to work with creativity, passion and all the energy that we can muster to cocreate with God this wild world in which we live (1 Corinthians 3:9).

AND we are to rest.
One message is this: If God took a rest, it is OK for you to take one also. The work will still be there when you get back.
Another says: If God needed a rest, what makes you think you can go without one?
And this: You can’t really appreciate the fruit of your laborers unless they are balanced by the fruit of rest.
And finally – perhaps most importantly: Rest is a part of the creative process. Your labor, in your job, family, recreation, hobby, art, or life of faith, MUST INCLUDE periods of rest in order for it to be what it can be. Your work is not, cannot be, done until it includes downtime.

Jesus encouraged his disciples to take some time away (Mark 6:31)

This does not come easy. If it were easy, natural, first nature to rest in this way, then the Israelite law would not have included “Honor the Sabbath and Keep it Separate (Holy)”. There is no need to legislate what everyone is already doing on their own.

Perhaps you need or want some help getting this part of your life in order.
Is your plate so full you can’t imagine having time to rest?
Do the demands of work, relationships, and even your spiritual life exhaust you?
Are you constantly running from one thing to another so that even your self care is really just another task and obligation?
At one point Jesus got so exhausted that he slept through a storm, on a boat! (Mark 4:35-41)
Are you crying out: “Stop the world! I want to get off!”?
Stop the world i want to get offSpending time with a coach can be a helpful approach to re-ordering and re-balancing your life. I know what you may be thinking: “If my life is hectic now, how will I find time to work with a coach?” That is a fair question. Two responses:
1) Can you really afford not to do something to change how your life is now?
2) Work with a coach does not take as much time as you think.
Fifty minutes per week, in person or by phone or Skype, can get you heading in the right direction. What can you give up for the next six weeks (a TV program, perhaps?) to begin to get your life back? One coaching session per week for six weeks will help you begin to reorder your thinking, doing, and even your beliefs about your life. The work won’t be done in that time, but it will get you heading in the right direction.

You might also consider the “Get your life back boot camp” – 150 minutes per week for 8 weeks. If you think you are up for this kind of effort, AND you are ready to make dramatic changes in your life in a brief period of time. Then the “Get your life back” Coaching Boot Camp may be for you. Complete the form below for more information.

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