If limits have always been a part of humanity’s experience from the very beginning and we were and are designed to function optimally in a rhythm of light and dark, day and night, winter, spring, summer, and autumn, what seems to cause us to try harder and harder to avoid or jump over limits and limitations? We do it in every area and if we succeed, we call it success.
Have we been lulled into seduction to believe we can be limitless? We want to run faster and farther and beat records in every area. We aren’t satisfied with what we have or are, so we push ourselves harder, stay up later, go farther into debt, and chug expresso drinks and energy potions as a way to keep going. And many of us can keep that up for quite some time without remembering that even the most well-engineered machines will stop functioning as they are designed to do if their limits are not adhered to.
There was a time not that long ago when our war with limits was less intense and we even seemed to recognize a need to set them for ourselves and applauded our self-discipline. Many of you have no memory of it and are likely locked in “The Matrix” with the world pulled over your eyes.
Perhaps we are like Jenny Lind in the popular movie, The Greatest Showman, singing the song, “Never Enough.” The lyrics reveal much about her character when the words speak of never enough spotlights or stars in the sky to satisfy her soul. We may not say or sing that but are we living like that? Do we have a clear understanding of what we are searching for and would satisfy our souls?
Some of us remember when life was not so much like this. We say it was a simpler time and might recall we thought we had to work harder back then. Our jobs or work was usually more physical. We walked more than we rode. We carried and hefted and bent and looked with satisfaction at the end of a hard day’s work. We didn’t need to go to a gym we created to work out our muscles. When we finished the day’s work, we didn’t stay up late doing other things or watching TV. (TV wasn’t on air 24 hours a day.) We read more books or played games or watched the sun setting. There was honor in doing a hard day’s work.
Children learned what was modeled for them early. There was school of course but not a plethora of extracurricular activities to enjoy after school hours. We had chores to do, and our parents didn’t have time for carpools and the like. It was “normal” everyday life. Weekends had a rhythm as well. Saturdays meant more chores and finishing work and tasks not completed during the work week and Sundays meant resting.
Sundays in good weather meant sitting on a front porch or stoop and connecting with neighbors, leisurely reading the big thick Sunday newspapers that were loaded with things for nearly every family member to enjoy. Sometimes it meant a drive to visit grandparents or other older relatives and often it meant going to a worship service of some kind with a nap at some point in the afternoon. Shops and restaurants were not open so that everyone could enjoy a “day of rest.” And never would these businesses be open on a holiday. It seemed we valued the rhythm of work and rest even if we might complain.
But maybe we decided we really wanted more of those “rest” days and didn’t want to work as hard, and dissatisfaction was sowing seeds of discontent and generating ideas about how we could make that happen so that a shift started to happen where not as many of us did physical work and we drove to cities to do other things. With extra time, we began to look for other things and ways to fill the time we thought we gained and soon we accelerated to where we are today. And we have a generation still trying to push limits and plagued with a nagging dissatisfaction many times.
But we missed some important insights in all this.
“There is more going on than just our body’s need for rest. Our souls need rest too. But the rest that our souls need is not simply a nap. It’s the rest that comes with realizing we don’t have anything to prove anymore. We don’t have to prove we are important.
This is why we live in a culture that can’t accept sabbath; we do not believe that work is from God and for our neighbor. Instead, we believe that work is from us and for us. It’s something we pursue to become who we want to become. Our careers define us…”Justin Whitmel Earley
Perhaps we need to look at and remember the original design built into us for work and rest and value that design and begin honoring those limitations to help us rein in the dissatisfaction in our souls and remember that only God can satisfy that itch we can’t seem to scratch.
“I believe our souls harbor a deep, nameless knowing that we were created for something far better, something unshakably solid and enduring. That ‘knowing’ is what C.S. Lewis called our ‘lifelong nostalgia’ to be reunited with our Creator.
With ancient echoes of Eden whispering in our souls, we’ve been longing for belonging ever since. And with our sinful self-wills screaming for obedience, we’ve been trying to satisfy that longing every which way but God’s.”Sandra Wilson
13 thoughts on “What Shifted?”
Such a good, thought-provoking post! Some things about the “good old days” weren’t good at all–but the things you’ve mentioned here really were closer to the rhythms that God designed for us.
Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!
Thanks so much for the encouragement and the feature exposure. Glad to also follow God bringing healing to your son!💕 It can take longer than we wish based on my own healing journey at present.
Life is certainly faster paced these days. It’s not uncommon for kids’ extracurriculars to be scheduled on a Sunday. To me, this is a microcosm of the greater emphasis our society places on busyness and filling our time with endless productivity—in an attempt to fill up the inside. But then, this is nothing new, is it? Since the beginning of time, we’ve striven to fill the hole inside us with anything but God; today’s culture just tries to fill it with busy. Interesting post today, Pam!
Rest was my word of the year last year and this really spoke to me.
Love this Pam. I’m going to come back to it for a reread! My word for this year is Simplify, and what you shared here speaks into my mind, heart, and soul yearnings.
Love that, Lynn💕
Well said Pam! Something that I have been echoing for a long time.
There is an over stimulus that clouds the brain in this modern age…or as one of the Hobbit movies stated, ‘ there is a sickness over the forest’ 😉
The best sleep I’ve ever had was the entire time I was a farmer’s wife working in the fields & with the stock each day.
Bless you, Jennifer
Thanks so much, Jennifer.
It saddens me that our grandchildren do not have exposure to what life was life before all this that we live in the midst of now.
Good reminder from the Hobbit movie and love that you shared about life as a farmer’s wife. I grew up on a 60 acre farm and knew that kind of life.💕
Have a blessed weekend,
Yes, it saddens me too Pam. You have a blessed weekend too 💕
Pam, you have brought some interesting quotes to ponder today. I didn’t get to stay up late enough to see TV sign off but I do remember waking early and it was still the fuzzy snow on the screen. Today we have more channels and distractions than we know what to do with and still can’t find something to watch. We are living with sensory overload, and the craving is for quiet. For rest. You words brought to mind this verse: “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.But you were not willing” (Isaiah 30:15, NASB). May we be willing!
You’re right…it lasted until the AM. We are bombarded with things on every side and seem to have forgotten the benefits of a simpler life and quieter more restful days to our detriment. Love this passage in Isaiah!💕
What great encouragement – and pause to consider. And such beautiful photos, too! Ah, I remember the days when the tv station signed off for the night…and the fuzz took over. We could use a little more “fuzz” in our lives:)
Thanks, Jennifer! I agree about needing more fuzz…💕