Headstart: Do you want to start over? #5 R&R
Bernadette is in marketing and a natural whiz. She is happy, bubbly and a keen young worker who would be up at wee hours in the morning just to have a cuppa with a crazy young worker’s program manager. Find out below what she thought of resetting R+R.
For our final week of Headstart Term 3, we tackled the age old topic of R+R. Don’t we all dream of a little more relaxation time?!
Like the considerate person he is, Mark kicked off the night’s talk by sharing photos and stories of his recent holidays to a group of weary young workers. Singapore looked so fun!
Travelling often involves a fun and fast experience of hopping from one destination to the next. Often, we are crossing different time zones and different climate. Our ability to make a quick transition between climates and cultures will lead to less stress along the way! Going from a Sydney winter to a sweltering Singapore? [shocking to the body!!!] Pack shorts in your carry-on so you can switch easily to a temperature-appropriate outfit.
Are we ready to reset? If, we fail to reset our approach, we’ll also fail to see how far we’ve come. Likewise, when we make the transition from unbeliever to saved by grace, we also experience a BIG change. If we fail to stop, reflect and reset, then we’ll also fail to see how far Jesus has taken us and how much he’s transforming us.
With this in mind, we dived into the discussion on rest and work.
Is this the right question - work to live or live to work?
It’s a common question that gets thrown around. Which is the ideal: work to live or live to work? Both offer a less than satisfactory option. They both have their respective positive and negative consequences.
Work to rest :: Rings true in some ways!
- It echoes a known pattern in creation — that God spent 6 days working on his creation, before taking 1 day of rest. Work, then rest.
- However, making rest the end goals leads to problematic implications. Work becomes merely something to survive, so that you can enjoy the “freedom” of hard-earned rest. In fact, this idea underpins the way many people think of retirement!
Rest to work :: Also bears some truth.
- In our daily routines, we experience this pattern of resting to work. We invest time in rest to ensure we’re energised for the day.
- However, once more this is perfect approach. Making work the end goal devalues rest, perhaps overlooking the God-given way our bodies are attuned to rhythms of work as well as rest. Furthermore, this idea can simplify us humans as mere batteries needing a “recharge” to get the job done.
The question is, how do we piece together these incomplete perspectives on work and rest? Our lives are bigger than our 9 to 5 and our 8 hour slumber.
And that’s why we need JESUS.
Jesus changes the equation :: Work or Rest → Work AND Rest
Looking at Mark 2:23-28, we see how Jesus has made us for more than JUST work and rest. In fact, as Christians, we don’t just seek out the “work/life balance”. We seek Shalom.
Shalom is a Hebrew word that means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, or wellbeing. It’s a big word that conveys a complex idea that everything has its place — and we see this in the bible! Shalom means there is a good and rightful place in our lives for all things, including work, rest family and relationship.
This changes everything!
When reflecting on our approach to work and rest, it’s helpful to keep these things in mind.
- Rest can be an idol as much as work. Therefore, it’s crucial to ask yourself the tough questions. Is wanderlust pushing your spiritual health down the priority list? Are picture-perfect holidays pushing you to work hard, rather than a desire to serve God?
- Be intentional about rest. Make it a habit, not an escape. When rest is an escape, we’re more likely to depend on and idolise it. Without prioritising rest, we may even devalue it. Find your rhythm of rest by building healthy habits.
- Be flexible, not legalistic. Everyone will approach rest differently, because each person is unique and experiencing different life stages. For example, some will find it helpful to save up their leave for a month each year to fully detach from work and unwind. Others will prefer to take regular weekends away, because it helps them spend time with their kids. We can experiment and change the pattern so to find what works with our stage of life.
Thankfully, by grace we can experience a life that’s not always in tension between work and rest. Jesus is greater than all our workplace conflicts and weariness—and that gives us a sure hope and strength as we seek SHALOM. Work and Rest has its own place. They are not in competition. In Shalom, there is a good and rightful place for all things including work, rest, family and relationships.