The old story goes:
A rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find a Southern fisherman lying lazily beside his boat smoking a pipe. “Why aren’t you out fishing? asked the rich industrialist.
“Because I have caught enough fish for the day,” said the fisherman.
“Why don’t you catch more than you need?” asked the industrialist.
“What would I do with it?” asked the fisherman.
“You could earn more money,” was the reply.
“With what you sell your extra fish for you could get a better motor and boat; you could go into deeper waters and catch more fish. You could buy nylon nets. You could catch more fish and make more money. Soon you could have two boats, then a fleet of boats, employees, and a real business. Then you would be rich like me.”
The fisherman asked, “Then what would I do?”
The industrialist said, “The you could sit down and enjoy life.”
The fisherman said, “What do you think I’m doing now?”
I had some low back pain back in 2013 that became acute a week before Thanksgiving. My current profession is personal fitness trainer. I teach my clients to keep a strong core to keep the low back healthy and I practice what I preach. Having a surgery earlier that spring forced me to cut back on my core work and muscles became weak. Injury happened.
I also teach my clients that all movement originates from the navel center area of our torso. I got to prove that theory. With my low back pain, just about every move I made hurt, including sneezing. Smiling, however, was pain free. I did the usual self-care, doc, chiropractor, physical therapy. Progress was slow and I spent a lot of time flat on my back, which is difficult for me because I like to be on the move. My health care providers decided an MRI would be prudent and I took a trip to visit my neurosurgeon. There I got good news, was no surgery was necessary. He said I was just going through a rough patch and he told me to rest as much as I could and to take the rest of the month off from work. So, I did. I cut out almost all activities and I got better. I got better not just physically, but I also got better mentally and spiritually. I began to appreciate once again having time to spare.
In addition, I came to the realization that previously, I had little or no space in my life.
I came to see I had been afflicted with the distraction of busyness. And during my recuperation period, I began to understand and appreciate the less is more philosophy.
I had been given a great gift.
Not long before this experience, I had recognized modern conveniences and culture had added to my problem of over busyness. Because I felt our society pressured me to believe I “needed” things and experiences in order to make my life richer and to be happy. But the truth was, these things robbed me of my life because I packed in more and more stuff and activity.
Modern life is part of the problem and most especially the fake news that I had to be a human doing in order to have worth in our world. I had lost sight of what it means be a human being.
During this forced down time I came to understand I had fallen prey to similar stinking thinking about finding God. I erroneously thought that in order to find God I must pretend to act like him. Well, running the universe is a big job, let me tell you. I thought I had to be on five committees, sing on the praise team, read the latest and greatest Christian author, and run myself ragged in the middle of it all. I had little time left for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ or to study his Word. Which wasn’t working so well. So, I guess he put me in time out.
I also saw I was under the misconception that I had to be Wonder Woman. The culture I lived in told me that in order to have value I had to be Super Mom, Wonder Wife and Career Queen, and I had bought the lies hook line and sinker. I ran on that treadmill for a long time, until I had the gift of forced rest and space entered back into my life.
I have since decided to hang up the cape and store those boots in the closet. With zero regrets. In fact, it forever changed my life for the good. Which an encounter with Christ always does.
And I fell in love with time again. Because I was no longer racing against it and it was no longer my enemy.
I came to the conclusion that my theme for the rest of my life is back to basics. The most important thing is this: To love God with every fiber of my being, and my neighbor as myself. And just who is my neighbor? Everyone, especially the difficult folks. I can’t do that if I got no time to listen to God to help me do it.
Doesn’t mean I become a couch potato, at least not all day. But perhaps some of the day. Doesn’t mean I am not working, but today I work smarter and not harder, letting God lead the way. It doesn’t mean I won’t be involved in worthy causes, just those I feel God calling me to. No more guilty “yesses.” You know, the yes that you really wanted to be a “no thank you”. I operate by the less is more plan.
Shall we join the fisherman from the story above and realize that we don’t need to overdo in order to enjoy life? Shall we follow Christ and make time to love the One True God with all of our being and our neighbor as our self?
Might be just what the Great Physician ordered.
Let’s get back to basics, shall we?
Be Joy Filled Always,
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