July 21, 2014
Malaysian Airlines Flight 17: did the Russians do it?
Boko Haram: what’s happening with the girls they kidnapped in Nigeria? Lois Lerner: will anyone find a way to reconstruct her e-mails? Gaza: will the ground offensive become an all-out war, drawing outside participants? Health Insurance: will my policy cost go up 25% next year? Immigrant Children: what should we be doing with 90,000 kids this year, crossing our southern border? ISIS: who’s doing anything about the violent eradication of the Christians in Iraq? The Stock Market: what if global instability kills the Bull and deflates my 401(k)? Political Impasse: how should Beltway paralysis effect my voting this Fall? Oh, by the way: have you opened your calendar this week to see what is expected of you at work, at home… and, at church?
The intake portal on your brain is running at maximum RPM. In the old days, you could choose to watch the Nightly News – on one of three national networks – or, not. Even then, the reach of their reporting teams was pretty limited – in the analog world. Today, instant access and global alliances have made minute-by-minute refresh so constant that the Talking Head in the middle of the news screen is framed by life-time text streams across the bottom – and, along the side – forcing the viewer to multi-task the experience. Within our generation, bombardment is the baseline: breaking news is breaking us.
In the midst of Jesus’ season of public ministry – with the crowds growing and the demands increasing – he took that time of high-intensity personal engagement to send his 12 associates into their own field testing. Two-by-two, they were dispatched to try their hand at ministry and messaging – their attempt to replicate what they’d seen Jesus doing – and prove to themselves whether they could reproduce outcomes like the ones they had seen from Jesus. They’re back: “The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” (Mark 6:31-32)
Everyone has a red-line on their tachometer: it’s the point at which your demand exceeds your capacity, and your wheels fall off. In the gym, the limits on heart rate cause training regimens to target 80% of maximum beats-per-minute. Short bursts above that may happen, but hammering your heart with too much action leads to a blowout. Your brain has some boundaries, as well: are you at – or, beyond – those limits, today?
News Flash: “It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high. Oh, your daddy’s rich, and your mamma’s good lookin’; so hush, little baby, don’t you cry. One of these mornings, you’re going to rise up singing. Then you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky. But until that morning, there’s nothing can harm you. With your daddy and mammy standing by…” (George Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess; 1933).
God calls that rest experience Sabbath, and He’s really into it. Once a week is your personal oil-change; once a year puts you in the shop for a major: tire rotations, check the belts, measure the brake wear, top off the radiator and transmission. It isn’t about earning the break, through performance: it’s about taking the break, to ensure performance. It’s not optional…
Ask Fox / CNN / MSNBC (pick your poison) to put your feed on hold for a week. Give yourself permission to shut off the intake; be the unusual career pro who takes all of your allotted vacation time this year, and do it for the benefit of your customers / bosses / employees / stakeholders: you owe it to them to take care of yourself.
I’d love to talk about that more, but I’m getting ready to go do some Sabbath with my grandson…