Hustle for the Fun
I read a quote recently that talked about how we live in a culture that rewards exhaustion. This is so true, but I never would have thought to put it into those terms! People seem to compete to see who stayed at the office longer, bragging and proud if they were there after dark. As an educator, I remember the clock watchers, making fun or passing judgement on the teachers that left at 4 pm. They must not be working hard, or doing their job, they all thought. I say "they" because I was one of the four-o'clockers. I remember walking out one day and one of my coworkers made a big show of looking at the clock and saying "WOW! Must be nice!" To which I answered, "Girl! It totally is, you should try it." I didn't do it to be snarky (well, maybe a little), I did it because I truly did want her to try it. I wanted her to go home to her kids and her husband and her life outside of work. But that wasn't my call.
Growing up, I saw my mom work her booty off as an elementary and then later a middle school teacher (35 years, go mom!). She would stay late, pick me up and go back to work, go in on weekends, bring work home, and I remember thinking man, I wish she could just not work for a while; not for me, but for her. I wanted to see her enjoy the fruits of her labor, rest, read a book, watch TV, relax. I vowed to never bring work home and I have done a pretty good job so far. But it wasn't/isn't without pressure.
Remember this Hyundai commercial that asks "When did leaving work on time become an act of courage?"
Look at the stares, the looks of irritation, when in reality any one of those people could have left on time if they didn't give a crap about the peer pressure or if they understood that whatever they leave undone on their desk will be right there in the morning when they come back. Someone told me one time, if you were to die tomorrow, it would be sad, but you would be replaced at your job. The world doesn't stop because you do. It goes on and you can pick right back up where you were.
Now please understand, I am NOT AT ALL saying not to kick ass and takes names at work. Make a list of the things that need to get done and check them off with a giant pink marker! Get your business taken care of like the rock star that you are. Then walk away.
Another issue when it comes to busy, busy, busy? It's uber tempting to save all of the fun or relaxation for when we are done with (blank), whatever that (blank) may be. I am SO guilty of this. I tend to push and push and push myself to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion before I "reward" myself with a break or a rest in the form of a shopping trip or a pedicure or a night with friends. But, what if instead of reaching that point and seeing the rest or the fun as a "reward" for challenges or hard stuff and probably affecting the mood I am in and how I interact with the world around me along the way...what if I stopped during that process to enjoy the life I am building for myself? A devotional the my friend and I recently read together says of rest, "Instead of saving it for when we're tired or when we have time, we live in a place of continual strength."
So I am issuing this challenge to myself and to anyone reading this. Let's live in a place of continuous renewal. Let's hustle for the work and feeling of accomplishment, but let's hustle for the joy and the rest, too. Let's "run and not be weary, walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31 NIV).