Wednesday, May 20, 2009

procrastination and Sabbaths…

I've been thinking about blogging for quite a while now. thinking and not doing, of course.

But school is out, and I don't really have any excuses any more. And really, I want to do it…it's just a matter of sitting down and making myself stop long enough to write.

Making myself stop long enough to do anything, really.

Now that school's over, I'm not exactly sure what it is that I'm so busy doing. There's a lot I NEED to do (finish cleaning apartment), and a lot of little things I have finished doing (running errands), but I guess I'm still trying to find the balance between being non stop with school, and now redirecting myself to be purposeful with work and the rest of life.

I think I have a need to always be doing something. I hate it when I'm stuck in the middle of it, whatever it is (school, etc), but then I can't seem to get much done without that pressure. I wait until the 11th hour, I procrastinate, and then, voila, I am inspired.

But I hate it. I hate pulling all nighters like I did last week with my New Testament class. I hate that I can't seem to discipline myself, that I pretty much have to be forced or coerced or outwardly motivated to get anything done.

I'm days away from 29 and still such a lazy, slacker kid…

I'm so good at talking myself out of things, especially if they are related to me doing something I need to do, and even want to do, but maybe don't think is a priority…yet. Like going to the dentist, taking a spiritual retreat, going to the grocery store, etc. I NEED to do all these things, for a variety of reasons, but I'm terrifically good at putting them off, because I'm not yet in a position where I HAVE TO do them. My teeth aren't hurting or falling out yet, there's still cereal in my house, I finally took a spiritual retreat, but it was such a challenge to make it happen. And the only real challenge was me…

This book that I'm reading now, Eat, Pray, Love, by Elisabeth Gilbert, is very interesting, and I think has something to say on this topic. I got this book over a year ago, and wasn't really drawn to it at first because I knew it was going to be very spiritual, new-agey, etc, but the funny thing is that I really felt drawn to it on my day of spiritual retreat last week. Go figure. But it's turned out to be a pretty good book, for a lot of reasons, and I definitely think I can learn something from it.

The first section, which I just finished today, is about the first leg of Gilbert's year of travel, where she spent 4 months in Italy, seeking pleasure. It seems such a strange and even wrong thing to say, seeking pleasure—it usually has a negative or selfish connotation. But as I read this section, I couldn't help but think about the very Christian/Jewish idea of a Sabbath. Gilbert, who's just been through a nasty divorce, etc, finds rest and healing in the simple pleasures of Italy. She is free and able to rest and enjoy life.

I think about my life, and how I'm always trying to cram more in, to get to do everything and how frustrated I am when it doesn't all work out the way I'd like for it to. I think about what a control freak I am and how much I just want things to happen my way, when I want, how I want—how much I want time and events and people to work that way, and how mad/sad/etc I get when it doesn't.

And I have to wonder, do I really enjoy life?

I mean, I enjoy moments. I have really fun days and memories, but do I, overall, look at life with the perspective of enjoying it? enjoying others? Not in a selfish way, but in free way, really free to love others and enjoy life, come what may, without trying to control things?

I think, unfortunately, I am too caught up in having things go my way to really even enjoy them when they do.

I'm always thinking about what's coming next—worrying and planning and what not. And definitely never resting and enjoying.

That's a big issue for Americans, especially American Christians. We think of Sunday as a day of rest, and generally don't like to "work" on Sundays (though that's becoming less and less an issue), but really, we do anything BUT rest. Sunday is the busiest day of the week for me, and for many other church employees, and members. It's not rest. It's not really enjoyable, not like I think it should be. It's definitely not Sabbath.

So, what's the point?

I admit, I haven't done enough research to really have a firm grasp on this Old Testament idea of Sabbath, but I think that we are definitely missing something. I KNOW that I'm missing something. And I think a lot of it goes back to trust. Who do I trust to keep things going, keep the world moving, keep life together? Me or God? I'd like to say God, but I think my actions show me all too often. I procrastinate, I slack off, and then I panic and try to do everything myself.

But do I trust Him? Do I enjoy this amazing story He's writing for me? Not like I should. Hmm….

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