“When I finish this project my life will finally feel smooth sailing again.”
“As soon as my kids are in school I’ll have time for myself.”
“As soon as the wedding/graduation/school/move/baby comes/project completes/or any other [fill in the blank with YOUR BIG THING] happens, life will settle down.”
I have sad and wonderful news:
THERE IS ALWAYS A BIG THING.
It’s sad news because we unfortunately fool ourselves too often into thinking that reprieve only lies at the finish line of projects or events.
It’s wonderful news because as soon as we learn this truth–THERE IS ALWAYS A BIG THING–we can finally adapt our daily life into living happily with our current BIG THING.
Although there are many remedies to being happy in the present as we move through life with OUR BIG THING, I want to present one potent and vital ritual that makes it possible:
A day of rest. Regularly.
Too often I put off the idea of rest until all the work is complete. Till the project is complete. Till the event happens. But even God Himself took a day of rest on the seventh day of creating the world and passed on the truth to Moses when he gave him the Ten Commandments, commanding that we take one day out of seven to rest from our labors.
If God needs rest, who am I to think I can keep going on without it? He was smart enough to even give us a schedule and clear expectation of how often we needed it!
Inviting a Sabbath into your life can take many different forms. At the heart of it, I believe, is carving out regular sacred time that looks and feels different than the rest of the daily grind. Most importantly, this time is meant for detoxing from the world and recharging your soul to make it through another week in tip top shape. Skipping this ritual leads to burn-out and decreases your performance in every area of your life. God was smart.
In addition to regular days of rest that allow us to live happily with OUR BIG THING, it is also necessary to build in extended periods of rest at the completion of YOUR BIG THING… because another one is coming!
My own tendency is to finish MY BIG THING and immediately put a NEW BIG THING in front of me. I rarely allow myself any breathing room between them. It’s habit. I finish creating a new online course and the moment it’s ready, I move to the next project. No celebration. No vacation. It’s sort of like training for a marathon, running it, crossing the finish line and immediately setting my focus on training for the next big race. My body, my mind, my family, all need a break! And the next race will be better run if I give myself a recovery.
Built into my daily task list now is a brilliant new addition: The Reward and the Sabbath. I already know how to set goals and make them happen, but I’m not very good at celebrating them and having a Sabbath period in between them. This is for many of us the “missing piece” of goal setting. What do you do once you get there?
The reward can serve as motivation, but it can also serve as celebration and a form of Sabbath before the next BIG THING comes. Pick something fun to reward yourself with and mark your calendar for some recovery time off.
Work hard. Celebrate. Rest. Repeat.