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Volume 09, Issue 21: Just Show Up

Early last month I entered into a natural slack phase that happens to all of us after a good run. This was around the time in the new year when we can feel like slacking off from the efforts we laid out on our action plans for the year. There were days I woke up feeling sluggish, not wanting to do anything productive.

What sees me through such days are the words I repeat to myself, "I will be productive today. Irrespective of how I feel, I will give my all today, and leave nothing on the table." When it's hard, we have to find ways to make ourselves show up.

You can bear me witness that it's not always easy to keep going, to keep up the fight, do what we said we would do. These are the times we have to decide to just show up. Show up and keep with the program even when we don't feel like it.

I don't always feel like working or writing or reading or praying or exercising or meal prepping. Those are the times when I have to push myself to do what I said I would do, and actually do it whether I feel like it or not. I have learnt that we are not our feelings. We are not what we feel. Just because you feel lazy today doesn't mean you have to act lazy. We can choose to ignore how we feel and do what is right for us. The appropriate feelings always tend to follow suit once we get started.

It's never hard because we are overworking ourselves. It's always about wanting to do nothing or just the bare minimum. But the bare minimum doesn't make the cut for amazing results. When you're out of steam, give yourself a little break but have the stamina to get back on the race. You owe it to yourself to finish what you started.

The hardest thing can be keeping our word to ourselves. Nobody knows the goals you set for yourself and the action plans you laid out to follow through daily, weekly, monthly and so forth. Better still, nobody cares if you don't do what you said you would do. But you should care. We should be accountable to ourselves if we want to reap the benefits of staying committed to our growth.

Show up even when it's hard - when you really don't feel like it. Keep showing up until it gets easy again, and it will, it always does get easy again. Just show up, and before you know it, you will take off again.

Good things don't happen to those who need them, they happen to those who deserve them. If you want more out of your life, keep showing up. If you want to develop yourself in order to develop others, you've go to do a little more, a lot more. You've got to show up even when it's hard, even when you don't feel like it.

If you want your best body now that will also serve you well in your sunset years, you've got to put in the discipline to eat clean, and the time and effort to stay in shape. If you want to grow your mind, if you want to go deeper with God, if you want to scale heights in your career, if you want to grow your business to stand tall in comparison to the competition, if you want to equip your children for greatness, whatever it is you want, you've got to put in the extra effort. You've got to show up - take the actions you said you would take to get you there.

None of the great athletes we celebrate win their medals on the race day. They show up every day on the track and gym to prepare for the race day. They train hard and long day-after-day irrespective of mood or weather. Why do we think it should be any different for the rest of us? Each of us was made to be a world champion at something, yet we settle for so much less. It's time to decide to show up in all seasons.

Show up for yourself everyday. Show up if you want to leave your mark on this side of eternity. Show up if you want to go beyond ordinary. Show up if you want to make a difference with your life. Show up if you want to leave behind a legacy of something awesome. Just show up, as you said you would.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 20: Rest is Logical!

I want to wrap up my reflections from EMS Hancock's book, "The Rest of Your Life: Finding Relaxation in a Non-Stop World" by expounding on how rest helps us function well.

Hancock revealed that if you deprive any animal of sleep, even for a short period, it will die. There are biological, theological, physiological and sociological needs for us to rest. In other words, rest is logical!

When we sleep at night, our resting brains are far from idle. In sleep our brains go to work consolidating memories, reviewing the events and conversations of the day and looking for creative solutions to the problems we have faced.

Every second of your life you are busy producing antibodies, repairing yourself and adapting. Removing rest damages your ability to remember and learn. You also increase your chances of stroke, heart attack, other illnesses, mess up your skin and even set yourself on a path of weight gain (EMS Hancock).

This shows that we are intricately built and fabulously designed. But we have a part to play in order to help ourselves function at our best. We need to be reminded that God gives rest to his loved ones. It is useless to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat, for God gives rest to his loved ones - Psalms 127:2.

One of the problems we face is that we work hard and then wait for the world to grant us the space to rest. But it never comes. You are not going to magically find a time when your life slows down. Therefore, you need to deliberately practice rest now. It requires discipline and planning. If you want rest, you will have to prioritize it, diary-date-it and be intentional with it (EMS Hancock).

Rest is logical, helps us function well. However, let's not be mistaken that rest is just the absence of work. Rest is more than lapse of idle time. Last week we saw that rest isn't just a day off, but a day plugged into God himself. "Our rest isn't measured in minutes or hours, but in proximity. Sabbath is a day, but it is also a place with God - a place he makes, where he pursues us...." Paul Maxwell.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 19: Why Should We Rest?

Rest is one of God's priorities for us. EMS Hancock expounded on the importance of rest by reminding us that rest is Biblical. In the book of Exodus, God established rest as a command. Up there with "Do not kill", it is built into the order of creation. Therefore, we know that our Father God takes it seriously.

God designed us to need and take regular rest. He was specific about not working for one whole day a week and taking it as a holy or holi-day. But sadly, some of us just blatantly ignore him. We keep going, doing and being. As a result, we get grumpy, dopey and sneezy! (EMS Hancock).

While reflecting on this, I thought of my blender, one of kitchen gadgets I use frequently in my current interest in wholesome nutrition. Being the one of the most used kitchen gadgets in my household, I notice that unlike the cooker or oven, if we run the blender for more than 5 minutes at a time, it stops running, takes a pause. We sometimes find that frustrating when we are in a hurry to get smoothies into jars, but I wish I too had a pause button. The blender comes back on after a few minutes of down time and continues its magic as if it hadn't gone off just moments before.

When I first started using the blender, I feared it had broken down when it went off in the middle of processing, only to hear it raving on again moments later. Just like us, the blender was designed to pause after running for a set amount of time. We were designed to need to pause after working for a set period of time. And this pause is not just on the sabbath, but within the six days of work as well.

Unlike the blender that has an inbuilt pause button, we have to stop ourselves when it's time to take a pause. But many times I carry on exhausted to finish the task at hand. The blender doesn't care if the job is incomplete when it its time for a pause. It understands that for it to grind through the different ingredients thrown into it to the best consistency, it has to be at its optimum performance.

When I push through to complete a task before I can take a break, I take longer and even make mistakes I wouldn't make when operating at my best. The blender could opt to continue running at a slower pace, but it chooses the better option, to stop, then pick up the task later at its optimal speed. I need to learn from the blender. I would do both myself and my tasks justice if I decided to pause when I am exhausted rather than push through to the finish line in spite of my exhaustion.

Imagine what would happen if I did not only push myself from task to task, but also from week to week without a day off? God commanded that we rest on the Sabbath, then he blessed it. This means that he gave it credence, imbued it with majesty and made it special. When we avoid having a Sabbath, we miss out on that life-giving, healing blessing (EMS Hancock).

Our rest connects us back God. When we rest, we reconnect with our Father and thus makes us both strong and unshakeable. Rest isn't just a day off, but a day plugged into God himself. Matthew 11:28 "Come to me....I will give you rest." Here, Jesus is saying, "I am the source of rest. I am rest. Come to me and get it." A decent day of rest recharges you, makes you happy, healthy and helps your spirit function at its best (EMS Hancock).

So why should we rest? Because we were designed to need and take regular rest in order to function at our best. If I want to be my best self and do my best job tomorrow, I must know when I have done all I can and should for the day and take time to rest. I must also not do any work for one whole day a week to get fully recharged and stay connected to God, the source of my strength.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 18: Rest is More

Rest is more than absence from work. Reading EMS Hancock's views in his "The Rest of Your Life: Finding relaxation in a non-stop world" book, I was excited to realize that Adam's first day on earth was a day off. I like that, starting life on a day off.

I had a hard time learning to sit back and lounge when I first came out of college. For some reason, I felt I had to always be doing something productive. I don't remember why I felt that way, but I am glad to know that God doesn't judge us by our productivity. We are just as loved by God and precious to him when we are resting.

Within maybe one or two years, I learnt to put my feet up and rest. As I got busier, I learnt to schedule times for lounging. I am doing better now, but not so long ago in the most demanding season of my career, I struggled to find a sense of complete rest that I couldn't imagine I once didn't feel I needed to rest.

For the most part of my adult life, I thought rest meant not working. The biggest lesson I am grasping about rest from Hancock's book is comprehending that rest is more than absence from work. I am still trying to connect the dots. Looking at rest as simply an absence of work robs it of its power and strength. Rest is not just a negative vacuum - a time of counting the hours before work starts again.

Hancock emphasized that when it comes to the subject of rest, it seems that we may have been missing the point. Rest and work are not opposites, they are friends that need one another in order to function. We need to realize that we need to rest well in order to live well. We also need to rest efficiently to work effectively.

Hancock added that life is frantic, but it's not God who is standing over us to get busy. His desire is to lead us into a life that is productive, fruitful, beautiful and restful. Yet, so often we go against Him.

If I don't rest well at the end of each day and week, I go back to work feeling clouded and burdened. So, how do I rest if I haven't finished what I needed to finish before I could call it a day or week? I have to accept that I have done all I could do. We are intricately built and fabulously designed. But we have a part to play in order to help ourselves function at our best.

Hancock added that one of the problems we face is that we work hard and then wait for the world to grant us the space to rest. But it never comes. You are not going to magically find a time where your life slows down. Therefore, you need to deliberately practice rest now. It requires discipline and planning. If you want rest, you will have to prioritize it, diary-date-it and be intentional with it.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

Volume 09, Issue 17: It Worked!

Late last year I wrote about changing my approach at a time when I knew I had to make some drastic changes in how I went about work and rest. I am glad to report that it worked! Several months down the road, I can't remember the last time I felt seriously fatigued or overwhelmed.

Working with a calendar and being realistic about how much I can take on at any given time has made all the difference for me. I am much more present with my tasks and productive. Letting my constituents know that I am only going to tackle one objective at a time rather than juggling several balls all at once has kept me focused and effective.

I took a break from work and home with my family last week to relax and recharge for the next quarter. I have now become very religious with these routine breaks, having learnt the hard way from a bad experience of not resting well. I work hard, but I have learnt to rest hard too. I know when to take a break now. I have learnt not to wait until I am drowning in fatigue to take a break.

A few years back, I would push myself until almost at the end of the year before taking a real break and change. Whenever I took short breaks from work in between, I would stay home, where I wound up preoccupied with tidying up, organizing and running errands. By the time my break was up, I wasn't all that rested. Now I physically take myself away from my familiar environment to guarantee complete rest from professional and domestic work.

Although I think it's important to step away from our work every now and then to experience rest, we need to appreciate that rest is more than absence from work. Rest and work are not opposites, they are friends that need one another in order to function well. We need to realize that we need to rest well in order to live well. We also need to rest efficiently in order to work effectively. Let's explore more of that next week from EMS Hancock's work in "Finding relaxation in a non-stop world".

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi