Stop Signs

April 6, 2011

Have you noticed that we live in a microwave culture?

I realized this the other day when I was frustrated with my microwave, because the 130secs it was taking to heat up my lunch was too long! What would someone from 1903 think of my frustration that the preparation of a meal took two minutes? Meals used to be a three hour project for the women of the house; now I pull my hair out in frustration at the sight of:23…:22…:21…

It seems our attention spans have gotten shorter and our to-do lists have gotten longer.

Take communication, for example. 300-page books have been replaced with 140 character tweets. Phone conversations have been replaced with texting. Handwritten letters have been replaced with emails. Television and media shoot images through our minds at dizzying speeds. You can’t even drive anywhere without being bombarded with advertisements and images and messages screaming from all directions.

It seems this information overload has cluttered both our minds and our schedules. The break-neck pace of life is evident in many forms. We are driven by the tyranny of the urgent. Our thoughts and communication and schedules are so fragmented that we have trouble finding all the pieces, let alone putting them together.

Stress, busy, crazy, wild, scattered, urgent, hurried. Calm, peaceful, restful, relaxed. Which set of words best describes your way of life?

Could it be that in all of our busyness, we have lost the art of true relaxation? God never intended us to go non-stop. He built into us the need for rest. That’s why He placed a periodic stop-sign along life’s road. It was so important, he even included it in the Ten Commandments: six days work, and the seventh day rest. (Duet. 16:8) Rest?! We don’t have time to rest! We have places to be and things to do and people to see…

You may not have too much trouble following the other commandments. Hopefully, you didn’t wake up this morning and battle the urge to get a gun and murder someone. But I bet that like me, you have a hard time when it comes to following the command to stop.

This whole business of stopping is not as easy as it sounds. We are addicted to work. We are addicted to running. We are addicted to our to-do lists.

Could it be that by stopping on the seventh day, we could actually be more efficient the other six? Could it be that stopping would actually make us more profitable instead of less? Could it be that it would benefit our physical and mental health? Well, God thinks so.

So I challenge you to break free. Break the routine. Go against the grain. Do the unthinkable. Stop.

Sometime during your day, stop. Power off the cellphone. Turn off the TV. Shutdown the laptop. Silence the radio.

Rediscover the golden sound of silence. Allow the chaotic hodgepodge of screaming thoughts running around in your head to quiet down. And revel in the serenity of stillness.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

You might just discover that God knew what he was doing when he put that stop sign there.

Do you have trouble making yourself stop? Do you rest one day a week? You can comment here.