For most of my life I have been obsessed with trying to get things right. I have been hyper-sensitive to the teachings of the Evangelicalism which constantly nagged me about what a good Christian does and does not do. That list is a web of expectations nearly as involved as those of the legalists of Jesus’ day who turned being God’s child into a judicial code. I have been persistent at striving to comply with those expectations and berating myself when I failed to do so.
That has been changing the last few years as I have granted myself permission to enjoy life and do things simply because I enjoy them and they refresh me.
After all, Jesus went to parties, accepted a lot of invitations to social events, played with children, and told some awesome stories. He said he came so we would enjoy the fullness of life. Howard Thurman put it like this, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Taking note of the subtitle of my first book, I need to feed life and starve religion. I had that backwards for far too many years, by feeding religion, I was starving life.
Jesus said the Sabbath, a time of rest, reflection, and refreshment, “was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). Obviously, the Sabbath principle is important not just for spiritual reasons, but for mental and emotional health, as well. There is no better time to do those things that breathe life into your soul than your personal celebration of the Sabbath. It doesn’t have to be any certain day of the week, but Sunday is probably the best day of the week for most people’s schedule.
What breathes life into your soul? What refreshes you? What do you enjoy? What sets your mind at peace? What renews your energy? What helps you to regain your equilibrium? What makes you feel alive? Make a list; right now. Begin doing those things regularly. Make it as important as anything else on your schedule. It may be the most important thing on your schedule since it energizes you to do the rest of the things you need to do.
An excerpt from my book, Free Range Faith.