My heart sunk and my heart rate increased at the question. My mind was spinning with how to provide a satisfactory answer in that moment. I was growing much too accustomed to the stomach-churning emotions this question triggered, holding my breath hoping more questions wouldn’t follow. But the worst thing was that it was a completely normal question that I was asked sometimes on a daily basis.
What did you do today?
It was a Monday, my self-designated Sabbath, and I spent the day sleeping in, enjoying an extended time with God reading in the Bible, eating a slow, hearty breakfast, and writing, all while staying in my pajamas for a healthy part of the day. Later I met up with a friend for cappuccinos and cake and went for a swim in the lake.
How should I respond to the question? If I answer directly, will they think I just drink coffee and spend time with friends every day? Spend too much time alone “reading” and having introverted time? Bake and host social events? If I try to explain more, have I already lost them and given them more information than they wanted? When I really think about it, should I have spent the day the way I did?
So goes my thought process in the milliseconds I have before my long pause turns awkward.
The familiar turmoil this question produces within are like red flags signaling a deeper heart issue. Am I and the work I’m doing, legitimate? Am I doing enough? Do I even deserve to have a set day during the week I guard to rest? Is my work actually contributing to the vision of the church? Is God pleased with me? Am I enough?
The temptation to perform and appear productive alongside my professional, European peers feels constant. Most days, from the very moment I wake up, it’s a fight to remain in God’s rest and embrace my identity as child of God that makes me enough. It is sometimes so appealing to look to routine, skill sets, and job positions for meaning and significance, to feel understood by the majority of the population where I’m living.
How do I live with my eyes and heart fixed upon the eternal Kingdom amidst the mundane, temporal daily routine everyone else around me seems to be living for?
The words of Christ are spoken with uncompromising love: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple,” (Luke 14:26). Am I prepared to hate my life enough so that I surrender to the standards and expectations of the lost, poor, and searching world around me? Am I confident in the rest Christ’s salvation secures me so I can live free from performance and invite others in to His rest?
Regardless of the culture I’m inhabiting, how much I accomplish each week, how far I advance my education, which positions I fill, and the needs I meet, Christ and His work makes me enough, what my own work on a daily basis could never accomplish. The routine He calls me to build the structures of my day around is simply being with Him—enjoying His presence, listening to His voice, and resting in His finished work. Fruit cannot be produced without constant abiding in the vine from which life comes.
Such routine may not belong to the rhythms of this world but it is one I can embrace confidently and invite other restless, striving wanderers into.
Is your daily routine marked by this kind of rest? What are obstacles to making rest central in your daily routine?