Updated: Mar 24
When I was in 8th grade, I was an editor on the school newspaper, participated in half a dozen other clubs and one sport, and by the grace of God managed to land on the honor roll more often than not. What that looked like in real life was that I was on the go from 6 AM to 9 PM or later, barely seeing my family and only talking to my peers about class- or club-related stuff. I remember one day, while literally running from a newspaper meeting to a study group, thinking to myself, "If I were an adult, I'd be considered a successful person."
Never mind that my automatic next thought was, "I'll never be this successful as an adult." Yes, even as a 13-year-old, I was a touch pessimistic. No, what astonishes me now when I think back on that day was how I'd already internalized our societal view that busyness=success. I was busy; I didn't even have time to eat some days (and developed terrible eating habits that are still haunting me); I spent next to no time with my nearest and dearest; all in the name of getting ahead before high school.
We all know that the world, and certainly the workplace, hasn't gotten any slower since we entered it. Societal pressure has gotten worse, not better, to the point that many humans have to have pointed out to them what should be obvious to us all: Going without sleep just to keep working should not be considered an achievement. And that's just one sacrifice we're collectively making--what else is getting left behind?
It's not like we can easily jump off, of course. In this time and place, this is how a living is made. But that's not to stop us from exerting the influence we have in our workplaces to model the gift of rest that God has given us: "Be still and know that I am God." Be still. I suspect the subsistence lifestyles of the ancient Israelites didn't afford a lot of stillness if they wanted to eat the next day, and yet God instructs them to know Him in their stillness and not in their busyness.
How do we model a success that includes stillness?