“I feel like a rat in a maze!” “I wish I could just get off of this treadmill and take a break!” “If only I could come up for air!”
Familiar comments for many workers. People are working longer hours, taking fewer vacation days, and finding it more difficult to “unplug” than they have in decades past. In a study published several years ago, one third of American workers reported feeling chronically overworked, and the issue certainly isn’t limited to the United States.
It is possible for each worker to find balance and right direction, to step off the treadmill of life’s incessant demands, and take a deep breath by scheduling a “timeout” with God. Christ Jesus did it. He pulled “all-nighters” praying, and then came down from the mountain ready to heal multitudes! What did Jesus, who had the most productive life of anyone who has ever walked this planet, know that enabled him to teach, heal, and pray 24/7? For one, he kept his thought in total alignment with God and thus didn’t identify himself or others – as a sinner, an invalid, or hopeless. And, perhaps above all, Jesus knew who he was: the Son of God.
A good starting point in our prayers about busyness is to peel off the labels that the world seems to have applied to God’s children – labels like: exhausted, depleted, overburdened, overwhelmed, and frustrated. These are not and never will be descriptions of God’s offspring, to whom, the writer of Genesis assures us, was given dominion “over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26). God’s creation cannot be depleted or exhausted when divine Life is perpetually renewing and replenishing it.
It is also important to realize that rest and stillness are qualities of Life, not selfish pursuits. Why, otherwise, would the Psalmist write that our tender Shepherd, God, “maketh [us] to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth [us] beside the still waters” (Ps. 23:2)? “God rests in action,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 519). And within that action dwells a calm serenity above all the hubbub of everyday living – in fact, right in the midst of it. There is nothing idle in the sweet rejuvenation experienced in the presence of Soul, spiritual sense.
In an article titled “Improve Your Time,” Mrs. Eddy commented on the inclination to evaluate one’s day or even one’s worthiness in proportion to how busy that day has been or how many things have been accomplished. She identifies one of several ways of wasting time as “mere motion when at work, thinking of nothing or planning for some amusement, – travel of limb more than mind. Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 230).
One never gets the sense that Christ Jesus ran around frantically trying to meet the multitude’s demands. No, Jesus proved that God’s healing presence and power were everywhere for everyone at all times, and He spent his career witnessing to that truth and strengthening the faith of others so that they, too, could see God’s healing power. There is simply no rush in being about our Father’s business. Eddy wrote, “The best spiritual type of Christly method for uplifting human thought and imparting divine Truth, is stationary power, stillness, and strength; and when this spiritual ideal is made our own, it becomes the model for human action” ("Retrospection and Introspection," p. 93).
The sons and daughters of God need not be justified or depleted by human busyness. Activities prompted by Love, God, animated by Spirit, supported by Principle (God’s law), and planned and executed by divine Mind (intelligence) are carried out in reflected movement, not through personal effort. Like the light that dances on top of the wave, or the plant turning naturally to soak in the warming rays of the sun, man is the reflected image of God in action. Yielding to His control brings rest, for the burden is not ours, but God’s. The Bible promises, “I [God] will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isa. 46:4).
We never need to accept the fiction that man is a rat on a treadmill, running the “rat race.” Each of us, as the “royal” children of our Father God, have the sovereign right to step off the treadmill and find rest “in green pastures ... beside the still waters,” in the arms of divine Love.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.
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