Why Your Effort and Energy Matters


The first home my wife and I purchased together was a home we built brand new. 

Once a week while the home was being built I would go by in the morning on my way to work and drop off coffee and donuts for the construction workers. On my way home in the evening once a week I would drop off cold water. I did this one, to be kind, but two, I heard happy workers build solid homes. I catered the guys as our first home was built with zero issues. 

Danny, one of the construction workers, loved digging in the dirt. He treasured the purpose his work gave him of giving people a safe home. He honestly loved what he did for work and looked forward to it. 

I think God wants that for everyone. Whether it’s a kid hitting a ball, a student studying, a parent loving on kids, an adult with a career, a retired person living life to the fullest each day, God wants us to love what we do. 

Do you ever stop to think about the chairs you sit in, like the one you’re in right now? Do you ever relax and wonder, Who made this so I could sit here? Or maybe you stare at the soap you hopefully used in the shower the past 24 hours or so, or the coffee maker you used this morning, all of these simple things, and wonder who made these so we can proceed with our day? What makes this world really, so mind-blowing amazing is that all of the work we do, it’s all interconnected.

We are inter-dependent. It’s ironic that we live our lives in such privacy and pride like we don’t need people, we don’t ask for help or lean on others, but we live every day knowing that we can’t survive without others. 

An author named Lester Dekoster writes, “Imagine that everyone quits working, right now! What happens? Civilized life quickly melts away. Food vanishes from the shelves, gas dries up at the pumps, streets are no longer patrolled, communication and transportation services end, utilities go dead. Those who survive at all are soon huddled around campfires, sleeping in caves, clothed in raw animal hides.”

And then Dekoster writes, The difference between a cave and a culture is work. There may be no better way to love your neighbor, whether you are writing parking tickets, software, or books, than to simply do your work.”

You need to know, however old you are, whatever your tasks are for the day: Your work matters. Whether you are an employee, employer, unemployed, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, a student, someone who’s retired, someone chasing a dream, your work matters. 

Princeton University did a study on occupational happiness and they discovered that 82% of American workers hate Mondays because  they hate their job. Other stats they found that most suicide attempts in our country take place on a Monday. Most heart attacks in our country happen on a Monday. 

Most people don’t like Mondays because  they don’t like what awaits them at work or what awaits them at school or what awaits them for the week.

How do we go from, Take this job and shove it, to, Take this job and love it?

On the Saturday mornings where I didn’t want to get out of bed, or I’d rather go to the pool with my friends, or I didn’t feel that well, my dad would repeat this phase over and over: Your workplace is your worship space. And then he’d say – It’s time to go worship, Z. And I’d go to school with a better attitude or I’d clean my room or go to my part time job with a better attitude. My worship was my workspace. It comes from a verse in the book of Colossians, 

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. [Colossians 3:23]

Your workplace is your worship space. 

The reality of it is 40% of your life will be in the workplace. 15% of your life will be or was in the classroom (and stay at home parents probably feel like their life is 110% working), so it would make sense that we would learn not just that we should work, but how we should work, as Christians, so each day doesn’t feel like a Monday. 

C.S. Lewis said it this way,  “The man who is weeding a field of turnips is worshiping God.”

The most menial task Lewis could think of in his era, weeding turnips, it can be turned into the most meaningful thing people can do, which is worship, if Jesus is invited into it. 

You’ve been at a fast-food restaurant (not named Chick-fil-A) where the teenager behind the counter is lethargic and unmotivated. They don’t have a high purpose for what they view is a very low position. They don’t see their work as an act of worship. It takes everything within them just to ask, Do you want anything else with that?.

It’s a challenge to ask a teenager who is flipping burgers for minimum wage to see their menial task as a meaningful task, until, in their mind and heart they are going to commit to showing up to work promptly, working hard and cheerfully, with gratitude and integrity, not because  they’re getting a paycheck or trying to look better than other coworkers to impress their superior, but because work is an act of worship to God.

We should wake up each morning and place our day before God with this prayer of, God, I want this day to be a day I live for You and serve others. I want my work to be worship today. 

Even if my boss is moody, God, today is Your day. 
Even if my children are whiney or hurtful, today is Your day, God. 
Even if my physical ailment is painful, today is Your day, God. 

Even if my expectations for the day aren’t met, even if my to-do list isn’t done, even if others attack me, even if my co-workers or classmates are incompetent and lazy, even if the people around me during the week just complain and gossip, I declare that my workplace is going to be my worship space. 

Christians should be the best employees, the best bosses, the best students, the best retired citizens, the best parents our culture sees. But if we’re flippant or selfish about it, it will not give God any glory, it will not bring any satisfaction, they’ll be no worship. 

Personally, I think talent is over-rated and hard work is underrated. I would take a humble, team-oriented hard worker on my team any day over an isolated, talented person who thinks they’re pretty amazing and mails it in at work.

Your career is what you get paid for. Your calling is what you were made for. 

We are so much more than our jobs and our responsibilities. 

There are police officers who do more than write tickets. There are pharmacists who do more than fill prescriptions. There are barbers who do more than cut hair. There are salesman who do more than make deals. There are stay at home parents who do more than pick up messes. There are empty-nesters who do more than just travel. There are those of the next generation who do more than just hold their phone. There are cooks who do more than feed others. There are bosses who are concerned with more things than the bottom line. 

There’s a woman named Linda Wilson-Allen, a bus driver for public transportation in the city of San Francisco.  She loves the people who ride on her bus and she proves a love for them by learning and remembering their names, by knowing which stop they are on, by listening to their day, she waits for them if they’re running a bit late. 

A reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle rides her bus every day and he wrote a front page news article about Linda. She writes, 

“Linda has built such a little community of blessing on that bus that passengers on the bus offer Linda the use of their vacation homes. They bring her potted plants and floral bouquets. When people found out she likes to wear scarves to accessorize her uniform, they started giving them as presents to Linda. At the end of her line she tells her passengers, “That’s all. I love you. Take care.”  (The San Francisco Chronicle) 

When’s the last time you heard a fast food worker, an Uber driver, a barista, a grocery store clerk tell you they love you?

Think about what an ungrateful task it is to be a bus driver in a city? Cranky, tired passengers. Engine problems. Difficult left turns. Traffic jams. Gum on the seats. Long hours, low pay. How in the world can Ms. Linda have a joyful attitude with the job she has? 

Here’s her secret. She says,“My mood is set at 2:30AM when I get down on my knees to pray for 30 minutes. There is a lot to talk about with the Lord.”

Let’s not just do our tasks, let’s do our tasks with excellence. Not to be noticed but to help people. Get pumped today about being the person that helps people. 

Let’s go get it this week. You are loved.


Balancing Work and Rest Post-Pandemic


So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. (Genesis 2:1-2 / NLT)

Most evenings in our households while putting our young daughters to bed this is what the routine looks like: pajamas on, teeth brushed, hug mommy goodnight, have daddy read a fictional book and a chapter from their children’s Bible, then, prayer and kisses (and then they have the endless excuses to stay up like: I’m hungry, I’m not sleepy, I’m itchy, my tongue hurts, I’m afraid of that fly I saw earlier outside, etc). 

The other night for their children’s Bible time we read the creation account where God the Creator creates the world in six days. 

To their numerous amount of questions I was explaining everything God had done in the Creation week to my  daughters. I’m saying, God did this. God then did this. God then brought the animals. God then made Adam and Eve. 

One of the girls takes the children’s Bible from me and puts it under her sheets as if she was tucking in her own child to sleep. She looks at me and says, God needs to go to nap time.

She doesn’t comprehend it yet, but God doesn’t rest on Saturday because He was beat. God worked and accomplished so much, but He the reason He rests on Day 7 wasn’t because He was all plumb-tuckered out. 

God didn’t wear himself out to the point He needed to go to Florida for some R & R. He wasn’t like, “Oh, man! I pulled a hamstring. I got calluses. Whoo, making the goats, that was exhausting. I’m not as young as I used to be.

But what God did, God finished his work, and then He rested.

The point of rest is this: To enjoy life.

Did you know that? 

The point of resting is to enjoy life. So many people work and don’t enjoy life. 

I know people who work really hard to get a boat and don’t go boating.
I know people who work really hard to get a car and never go for a drive.
I know people who work very hard to have a vacation property and don’t vacation.
I know people that got married and don’t go out on dates.
I know people that have kids and don’t hang out with them. 

It’s because they keep working. They can’t stop. They won’t stop until they completely crash and harm what is good in their lives. This is why we have rates of burnout and anxiety and depression, because people just keep going until they absolutely come undone. 

What God is saying is this, “Work hard for most of the week. Work hard, do work that honors me, make things good and very good. But then, take your day off. Sleep, rest, enjoy. Don’t just work all the time.

I am concerned about what life is going to look like post-Covid-19 for some of you because still, after all of this time seeing how things are out of our control, you think everything is up to you and you have to work constantly and you’re fraying yourself, you’re going to come undone and you’re missing moments with your loved ones. 

When I moved to Brooklyn, NY right out of college, during my time there I didn’t take a day off. I had three jobs. I slept 4-6 hours a night. I burned myself totally out. I was frustrated and angry and easily agitated. I was not as pleasant to my friends, or my roommates and I treated the girl I was dating at the time in a disrespectful way. I can’t blame that on anyone. That was absolutely my sin that I needed to repent of.

And it was all due to not resting. 

The point of rest is to enjoy life and when I refuse to rest I harm the good life I’ve been given. 

It’s the person who hasn’t slept and is stressed out and freaked out and angry and agitated and then their productivity suffers. Those who don’t rest well, don’t work well.

It’s the person who works hard and well, and then rests and plays hard and well, and then goes back to work that has this rhythm in their life. 

I have parented two toddlers in my history of being a dad. Toddlers play hard, they work hard and they sleep hard. Toddlers have rhythm. It’s how we’re created. If they get off that rhythm, the ugly side comes out. 

Adults aren’t much different. 

The subtle thing behind people who work too much is this: If you don’t take a day off, and if you don’t take a nap, and if you don’t cease from your work to enjoy what God has given you and what you’ve done by his good grace, then you are demonstrating to the world that you don’t trust God. 

(you might want to read the above paragraph again, slowly)

Those who work too much, too late in the day, at night and on the weekends when their family is around, checking their phone all vacation, they’re saying, If I don’t work, it all falls apart because God’s not sovereign and he doesn’t hold things together.

If we don’t take time to worship and we don’t take time to rest, we don’t take time to love, we’re being terrible followers of Jesus. We’re sending out very mixed messages about God to our loved ones and to the world, This is the God who’s sovereign, but I have to keep everything under control.

But, the person who works hard, takes time day off seriously, enjoys their family and their friends and enjoys their hobbies – those are people who live better lives and longer lives. They leave a legacy that is more productive. We should rest. 

Don’t feel guilty about resting, it’s biblical. 

I can think of two types of people who have the hardest time having a Sabbath and a rhythm of rest. 

(1) The Self-Employed and (2) The Mother

Those who are self-employed struggle to rest and find boundaries in their schedule because they don’t have a boss, and they just keep working. And mothers, because on the weekends, their kids are still there. Motherhood never ends (in a good but exhausting way). 

No matter the case, when some type of normalcy begins to occur, it’s going to be important for those of you who have fast-paced lives make sure that you still Sabbath, that you get your date night if you’re married. That you get time with family and friends. That you make time for a Bible study. That you make time for prayer. That you can put the phone down. 

People can get real legalistic about Sabbath, they ask really detailed questions like, What constitutes as work – if I mow the lawn or bake a cake? Or if a go for a walk, is that work? Am I sinning against God? 

If you want to go for a walk and that’s restful for you and you enjoy the Lord, it’s a nice day, go for a walk. If for you it’s restful to take a nap, take a nap. If it’s restful for you to be out in your garden, then go work in your garden. If it’s restful for you to have people over and to have a big meal and to enjoy your family and friends, then enjoy yourself and have people over.

Let’s not argue too much about the Sabbath. It’s a gift that God gives for us to have joy and rest. And that’s why some people argue over the day. Well, is it Saturday, is it Sunday, is it this, or is it that? Paul says in Romans 14, it’s whatever. If Tuesday’s your day off, Sabbath on Tuesday. If your job forces you to work Sunday, and Wednesday’s your day off, enjoy Wednesday.

Some people have this picture of God, that when God tells us to do something, it’s bad, and we need to be defiant. I’m telling y’all, when God tells us to do something, it’s good. When I looked at my toddler daughter, and noticed, Whoa, Mr. Hyde is back in your personality. Toddler, go take a nap, that’s because I love her. I want her day to go well. I know what it’s going to look like if she doesn’t rest.

I know what my life will look like if they didn’t rest.

God’s just like that. God’s a good Dad, who looks at us and says, “You need to rest today. You need to just read and pray and hang out. It’s a nice day, go for a drive. Go for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Take a deep breath of fresh air. It’s a nice warm winter day. I’ve given you the whole world – get out of your cubicle, go enjoy a little bit of it. Go play some golf. Go read a book. Take your preacher out to Chili’s with you.” 

Alen Cohen says, “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” 

We have been given the gift of rest and time with God and with loved ones for a couple months now. All I’m inviting you to do is discipline yourselves to, when you go back into life once the restrictions lift, is to keep rest in your week. 

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 



Choose a Rhythm of Rest or Ruin Your Life


God has blessed my wife and I with two very active, young daughters. When it comes time for bedtime or a necessary nap time, they both fight the idea of laying down as if their mom and I were asking them to go swimming with sharks. 

Rest time is abhorred by our children.
They’ve even started to barter with us. 

I’ll do this chore or I’ll play in the playroom nicely or I won’t kick my sister in the stomach – all so they don’t have to lay down. 

If we allow them to skip a nap or if we allow them to act like every night is a slumber party and they don’t have to go to bed at a decent hour, they are going to be nightmares the next day.

The reason they don’t want to rest is because they are afraid at missing out on something. 

And I would venture to say, that when it comes to resting for you, if you don’t rest, then you are going to miss out on something going forward. And that something, is a lasting legacy. If you don’t rest, life will be a blur.   

As I look through the pages of the Bible there are a few reasons that show why inserting rest into our weekly rhythm makes so much sense.

1. A rhythm of rest RENEWS your body.

God has created our bodies in such a way that they work and function best when they are set and committed to a rhythm of rest. 

Physicians inform that 75-90% of doctor’s visits could be avoided if people could just eliminate the weight of stress and anxiety due to the lack of rest in their life. 

The magazine Business Weekly conducted a survey where they asked people in the workplace this simple question: How are you feeling? 

The number one answer in the workplace to, How are you feeling? was by far this answer: I’m tired.

Question: How are you feeling?
Answer #1: I’m tired. 

The 21st century has already been dubbed, The Century of Fatigue.

I was reading about this internal clock humans have in their body referred to as, The Pineal Gland. This pineal gland collects serotonin. Serotonin is released (how God designed this to work) when the sun rises in the morning. When released, this serotonin gives the human body energy and joy and anticipation for what awaits for us for that day.

Is that what happens to you when the sun rises? Is joyful what you feel right when you wake up? 

Not so much. 

When the sun rises, you’re not thinking, Oh what a beautiful mooooorning!
You’re thinking, Snooze alarm clock, and then you think, COFFEE NOW!

But my daughters, they wake up with a smile and with energy ready to go. 

Then in the evening, when the sun sets, the serotonin is converted to melatonin, and that’s what gives us this sense of being tired and pretty soon we’re ready to sleep. It’s why we are out like a light before 9:00PM in the winter time. When the sun is down early, we’re down early. 

A physician named Dr. Archibald says that most Americans ignore this internal clock in their brain. The pineal gland doesn’t know what’s going on so the serotonin and the melatonin are confused on when to be released and we’re up when we should be down but we’re restless and stimulated by TV and tablets and smartphones and then the next day we’re lethargic and easily agitated and slow and depressed-feeling. 

It’s all because we’re violating the way God wants us to function daily and when we continue to be on the run and not rest, our bodies will be weak, and weak bodies lead to terrible sins.

Fatigue will not prepare you to say no to the temptation that is waiting for you. 

Maybe you read a blog like this and think, More rest? Okay. Sign me up. I would love to rest but there are projects around the home I promised would be done last week and the contract needs to be written up or this client needs an email from me on the weekend and the kid’s have all these activities and I don’t want them to fall behind and I would love more rest but it’s all going to fall apart if I establish a simpler schedule.

In the book of Leviticus, God continued to instruct His people to have a life of rhythm where He says, Every 7 years, I want you to give the land a rest. Don’t plant or plow or harvest the field in the 7th year. 

The people say back to God what we would’ve said, Okaaaaaay, God. Sure, we’ll go a year without working. How are we going to eat?

Here’s how God responds,

You might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years.When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the large crop of the sixth year. In fact, you will still be eating from that large crop when the new crop is harvested in the ninth year. (Leviticus 25:20-22)

God is saying, When you take that 7th year off from farming, do nothing. It won’t make sense on paper. You won’t be able to rationalize it or predict it, but trust Me on this. If you honor Me with your time, if you to put Me at the center of your life you’ll see and experience change. You’ll get so much more from Me by taking time off than you would if you blurred your time together. And by resting your bodies you’ll be ready to go back into the mission I have in store for you.

A rhythm of rest doesn’t just renew your body, but also, 

2. A rhythm of rest REPLENISHES your relationships. 

If we violate this rhythm of rest we will also damage the special relationships God has put in our lives.

MSNBC did a report on a study done by UCLA’s Center For Every Day Lives. UCLA followed around 32 families for 4 years. They recorded each family for the length of 1,600 hours. It was like, The Truman Show. 1,600 hours of videotape over the course of 4 years for each of these 32 families. 

The researchers were stunned at the hectic pace these families were living their lives to and as a result, how distant and cold family members treated each other.

One of the clips from this study was of a man who came home from work late. His young kids were already asleep and his wife was sitting on the edge of the bed. She’s folding laundry and she’s got her bedroom television on. Husband walks into the bedroom and there was no, Hello, from the wife. No smile from her. No, How was your day? No hug, no kiss on either exchange. 

What does happen is the couple picks up mid-sentence an argument they had 15 hours earlier that morning about who left the milk out the night before and now it’s spoiled.

Another clip is of this business woman, dressed in an executive, silk suit. She’s got a forced smile on her face and she’s trying to get her daughter just to look at her. Her daughter refuses to look at her mom until finally the embarrassed nanny in the room, who is putting her daughter’s pajamas on, prompts the girl to acknowledge her mom’s presence. 

Another clip is of this big bear of a man walking into his crammed home-office and his teenage son is playing a video game on the office computer. Dad rubs the hair of his son playfully and the whiney response the son was, I thought you were going to get this monitor fixed?

The researchers found just 1 family out of the 32 families had unstructured, structured time together. 5/32 of the families had no time together. At no point in 4 years through 1600 hours of tape did 5 families spend time altogether in the same room.

We need to live life with a restful, slower, more intentional pace, spending quality time together. When we don’t, our relationships will suffer. We can’t choose be possessions over people. 

Where are the kids who want to go for a walk with their mom just to talk as they leave their phone at home? 

When was the last date night for mom and dad? 

What family would try going without TV for a month?

What household is kissing and hugging the spouse and the kids every single entry and exit of the home?

Do you see what we’re missing by adhering to the frantic pace of culture? 


3. A rhythm of rest RESTORES your soul. 

More than rest for our body, more than rest for the relationships we love, this rhythm of rest keeps us close and aligned with God. 

“Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Be still and know God is God. You’re not. He is. You can’t change things. He can. You can’t heal it. He can. You can’t control it. Let Him.

When we refuse to honor God with our time (days without the Bible or prayer, weeks without church, months without making Christian friends, years without leading our family toward Jesus, decades of the same sin) when we refuse to honor God with our time we are saying to Him, God, You can’t do this. I have to do it. I don’t trust You to come through if I rest. 

One of the most healthy things we can do on a daily basis is to step away every single day from things and say and believe, God, You’re God. I’m not. I’m dependent on you. And I not only need You, God, but I’m thankful You’re strong enough, loving enough, more than enough for me, my situation, my family, my fear, my dreams, Thank You for taking the burden to put my life together.

Picture a three year old. If you know three year olds, they want to do everything adults can do. They want coffee. They want to drive. They want to stay up late. They want to watch shows mom and dad watch. They walk around the home in their parents loafers or high heels. 

What every three year old loves to do in the springtime is help mow the yard.

It takes a lot of energy for a pre-schooler to reach up, push and walk with a lawnmower while mom and dad are also mowing. After a while of mowing, the child gets exhausted and steps aside and stops pushing the mower.

Each time the parent mows with the child, it’s the child who thinks they’re pushing the mower but when they step aside to rest, the child sees the mower is going even while they aren’t. They sees their parent is the one making it happen.

What if God is thankful we take a break and when we do, He gets more done in our lives while we rest?

You’ve got to figure this out for you. Get some rest. 

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 


What to Consider When Adding One More Thing to Your Schedule


Growing up my family didn’t have cable television. No ESPN. No MTV. No Nickelodeon. No TV Land. What we did have were three channels and a VCR (if you’re under 25 years old, Google, “VCR”). 

It seemed like whenever my mother held the scepter (the remote) while the television was on, the only two options on TV were: Little House on the Prairie and figure skating. 

I had a long childhood.

With each episode of Little House on the Prairie I watched as a kid, I would hide the tears because Charles Ingalls (“Pa”) would do something to soften my heart. Every single show he got me. 

I started watching Little House on the Prairie with my wife and our two young girls. We went to the library and got the seasons on DVD.  As binging provides, we zoomed through episodes and not long into Season 1 I noticed clearly how much things have changed since the timing of when the Ingalls lived. 

It really wasn’t that long ago when Little House on the Praire‘s pace of living was the norm. Things have sped up quickly and they continue to speed up faster each day. 

Think about how much little time we have to rest/reflect/repent/invest in our relationships? This blog takes five minutes to read and because of a frantic page, most readers who click on it won’t make it to this sentence because they’ve moved on to something else. 

We do well to keep our relationships busy and be around each other but we are poor at having qualitative conversations and making intentional memories. 

We do well to relax by watching TV or are addicted to scrolling through a newsfeed but we are poor at being still and having the spiritual discipline of solitude. There is little rest and pausing and praying in our day. 

I’m watching LHotP and I’m thinking, Nowadays the norm is 50 hour work weeks for dad and mom with a 30 minute commute and it’s home to give the kids drive-thru conversations and leftover energy.  

Most families don’t gather around the table while Pa plays the fiddle as they eat a home cooked meal, laughing together or learning a lesson from each other. The norm now is to eat on the go on your way to practice or eat a heated up meal after getting home late or eat in front of the TV and we make fun of the reality TV stars and that’s what we call “family time.”

We’ve got tee times and workout schedules and the kids and grandkids have so many activities that we dare not allow them to miss because they might get behind on something that won’t matter in 20 years to them and we’re rushing through the present-day life God wants us to live with Him as our calendar metronome gets quicker and quicker. 

The rhythm of our culture is what we’re adhering to and it feels normal to us. Here are some cultural beliefs that you and I have unknowingly, yet foolishly bought into: 

Action is better than rest. (FALSE)

Work is more important than home. (ERR!) 

Possessions are more important than people. (NOPE)

More is always better than less. (LIE) 

How we choose to spend time reflects all of these things.

Who believes with their schedule that rest is better than action, home is more important than work, people are more important than possessions, less is always better than more?

When it comes to adding something to your life – to your daily, weekly, monthly schedule – I would be very careful with that. Impulsively we add new commitments to our calendar and we don’t think how much it will affect what should be important to us.

Let’s say you have 8-9 different things to do during the week and you think, I’ll just add a 10th thing in my life, to my family’s scheudule. It’s just one more thing.

Author Steve Farrar talks about the way we view our time and our schedule with this concept called, The Fibonacci Numbers. The Fibonacci Numbers were named after a 14th century mathematician who came up with this new way of counting where it looks like this:


It counts like this: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13,  21, 34, 55, 89, 144

You add the two numbers next to each other and go forward. So 1 and 1 is 2, and 1 and 2 is 3, and 3 and 5 is 8, 8 and 13 is 21, 21 and 34 is 55, 34 and 55 is 89, 55 and 89 is 144 and so on.

Stay with me. 

This way of counting is better to measure the pace and schedule of our lives and our family’s routine because we think in consecutive numbers, Well, I’m just adding a 7th thing to my schedule or to my family’s schedule. We had 6 and now it’s 7 with football or church consistently or gymnastics or a new show. According to the Fibonacci scale, it’s not a 7th thing, it carries the weight of 13 things (7 is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13). It increases dramatically, in weighty, stressful fashion with each thing you add.

If you can think about the 7-8-9 things your allocate your time to – school, work, family, church, hobby, TV, Facebook, sports, shopping, reading. My schedule doesn’t reflect this every day, but if I were to prioritize what is important to me, my current 9 things would be: 

1. Devoted and faithful husband
2. Committed and present father
3. Being a consistent and generous friend
4. Being an eager student and teacher of God’s Word
5. Working bi-vocationally
6. Coaching recreational soccer
7. Taking graduate school courses
8. Exercising daily
9. Writing weekly blog 

That’s nine things easily.

What if I want to add two new things to my schedule? No big deal, right? I’m just going to go +2 to my life routine, and those two added items are: 

10. Swimming lessons for kids
11. Country line-dancing.

I just want to go from 9 things in my week to 11. On the Fibonacci scale, check out the number on the right when adding more to my schedule: 

1. Devoted and faithful husband
1. Committed and present father
2. Being a consistent and generous friend
3. Being an eager student and teacher of God’s Word
5. Working bi-vocationally
8. Coaching recreational soccer
13. Taking graduate school courses
21. Exercising daily
34. Writing weekly blog
55. Swimming lessons for my kids
89. Country line-dancing 

I just added 2 more things but I went from 34 to 89.
That’s a lot more added to our effort and mentality. 

When we keep adding things we’re not just adding to our schedule, we’re adding weight to our well-being. We’re adding he weight of coming through, the weight of not giving up, the weight of anxiety and putting on the good face for everyone. It’s not a 11, it’s an 89 and it’s going to crush us eventually. 

Here’s a true/false quiz (10 questions) to help us figure out whether or not we need more rest in our schedule. I’m trying to keep us honest here.

1. True or False: You’ve cut through a gas station to avoid stopping at a red light.

2. True or False: You don’t like to take vacations where there isn’t always something to do.

3. True or False: You frequently look at your phone or a clock nearby throughout the day.

4. True or False: In conversations you like to get right to the point. You don’t enjoy small talk.

5. True or False: People who talk slowly irritate you.

6. True or False: You become annoyed when the person at the checkout line in front of you chooses to pay by writing a check.

7. True or False: You often find yourself finishing other people’s sentences for them or interrupting people during conversation.

8. True or False: When you go to sleep at night, your mind often rehearses all the things I didn’t get done that day or what I have to do the next day.

9. True or False: When delayed and running late, you are irrationally upset.

10. True or False: You have difficulty finding time for things like a haircut or a physical or an oil change. 

We just live at this frantic pace and as we get older it doesn’t slow down, it only increases in speed. 

Because we’re not prayerful, because we’re arrogant, we think I can handle more. And if we’re not protective of our time and energy for what really matters in this life – God and people – we’ll watch life slip away and miss out on things like legacy, purpose, evangelism and the more we add the more devastating it’s going to be when we ask, How did this happen? Look what I wasted!

Jesus says it this way: 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 / MSG)

God doesn’t get upset when you take a break. God doesn’t get disappointed when you tell someone no, I can’t do that for you right now because I’m needed somewhere else more important. 

If you say as a family, we’re going to eat a family dinner around the kitchen table 4 times a week for the rest of this year, no phone or TV, all intentional conversations, no matter what – most of the world might think that’s bizarre but God will smile on that commitment because you’re saying to God and family: Here’s what’s important to me. 

If you say, As a Christ-follower, I’m going to add attending worship weekly, but that means I need to let go of other things. I’m going to go from attending worship monthly or less to attending weekly, to give weekly, to serve weekly – because I’m showing God and God’s family that’s important to me. 

OR, I’m going to get up 10 minutes earlier to read a chapter in the Bible to start my morning off focused in prayer and reflection for how I want to live.

OR, I’m going to fast from something I lean on daily so I can pray in those moments I want to give in to sin.

As I look through the pages of the Bible there are a handful of instances that show why living this life of God’s rhythm makes so much sense. If you don’t run your schedule your schedule will run you. Be prayerful adding one more thing to your routine. I recommend adding rest and intentionality.  

Thanks for reading. You are loved. 


Taking a Nap May Be the Most Spiritual Thing You Can Do


The average American each year spends over $3,000 on soda/coffee/energy drinks. That’s $250 a month spent on all things caffeine-related just to stay awake and somewhat alert during the day. 70 million Americans will pop some sort of pill to help them stay asleep throughout the night this year.

In 1967, a group of doctors stood in front of the United States Senate and they gave a report on the well-being and health of American citizens. In this report, 50 years ago, they shared:

“Labor-saving, time-saving technology will change the way Americans work and live. Within 20 years people will be working 32 weeks a year on average, at a rate of 22 hours per week, so they can retire by the age of 40.” 

These doctors went on to predict, “The number one challenge Americans will face with no regard to time is what to do with all their excess time.”

Other than those of us who have won the lottery, has this prediction come true for you?

Business Week Magazine conducted a study to determine the number one response to the question, How are you doing? The top most frequent answers were (Survey says!):

1. I’m tired.
2. I’m busy/I’m stressed.     

We live in a time where there is 1 minute rice, 1 minute peelers, 1 minute abs (on my Christmas list). There’s a 1 minute Bible-reading plan. We’ve got instant coffee, instant oatmeal, instant replay, instant downloads. People are speed-reading, speed-dialing, speed-dating. People are even wearing speed-o’s and probably shouldn’t be doing that. Society has created things called “speed bumps” just to try to slow us down.

How many times during the course of our year do we say to someone, Hey, you know what? We need to get together sometime! Let’s get our families together or let’s grab coffee or let’s watch the game together. Let’s get lunch, (and we put this word on the end) sometime. That sometime never comes.

In his book, Making Room for Life, author Randy Frazee says that when it comes to most American schedules, they engage in what he refers to as Chaos Management.

We would love to believe that our lives are ordered and organized, systematized and structured. We want to have a grasp on our days. We want to be put together deep down inside our desires. Yet the reality of it is most of us are constantly reacting to life. With all of the things we fill our hours and our loved one’s hours with, all the promises we make, all of the impulsive irons we put in the fire, all of the plates we’re spinning by agreeing to everything asked of us, we are ruled by the tyranny of urgency. If the CELL PHONE SOUNDS with a call or a text, we feel like we have to answer.

Even on the weekend or at night with the family, on vacation for goodness sake, people get an email and they feel like they have 30 minutes to respond or they’re going to be incarcerated. I can’t find out who created these new burdensome, unwritten rules that govern social etiquette but they are ruling our lives and are diminishing the quality of what a healthy, thriving, content life could look like. We now are working more hours with added responsibilities that we agree to which have us run into the weekend with longer weeks, longer months, longer years only to have the quality of our lives and relationships cut shorter and shorter.

We must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives – Dallas Willard.

There are few things out there that will destroy our spiritual growth and our vitality more than always having the feeling of being rushed.

Honestly, when was the last time you sat still and prayed silently about something uninterrupted?

Do you need to slow down before you burn out and ruin something special? It’s easier said than done or we would have slowed down and attained balanced by now. I want to trade busyness in for balance. I want to let go of feeling rushed and embrace feeling restful.

Maybe the most spiritual thing you can do today is fix a bowl of ice cream and then lay down to catch up on some much needed sleep. 

Think about a sleeping pill. I don’t know how much 1 Tylenol PM pill weighs. I just know they’re very light. I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like I need them and I take them. A study done by the Sullivan Institute reported Americans consume 30 TONS of these pills every single night. Just to get some rest. People looking for rest are consuming 70,000 pounds of sleeping pills.

What’s more powerful and peaceful than a sleeping pill is this:

God doesn’t sleep so that we can. 

God is inviting you to relax. To sit back. Take a deep breath. Pray. Relax. Reflect. Slow down. Enjoy. Be thankful for this incredible life, this incredible world, the great community He’s purposefully put you in.

Maybe the best thing you can do for yourself this weekend or next is to go find somewhere pretty to sit. Drive through the scenery. Go hang out at a park. Maybe take it further and go a week without TV and reflect on the important relationships in your life and how can you make them better. Pick up this thing with printed words on paper called a book. Start a discipline of only checking email in the morning or only looking at Facebook once a day or turn your phone off for an hour a day (not on silent, completely off, Siri will forgive you). Choose to intentionally love someone in a practical way. Sit in your backyard. Get back to reading your Bible daily. Take a second nap. Take a family member on a date. Reach out to a distant friend. Start thinking again about that dream you had back in the day.

Whatever it is that bothers you, whatever you’re anxious about, whatever you’re trying to control, whatever you’re behind on – Would you just take an intentional step to go into a closet, shut the door, sit on the floor, turn your phone off and restfully pray to God about whatever is on your mind. Something like, God, I give you (whatever it is). He would love to take that burden off you so you can rest.

I want to invite you to take one minute after reading this, one minute to sit in silence with your eyes closed to give God whatever is bothering you, whatever you’re worried about, whatever is too much for you right now.

I’ll start us off, God, we’re going to take one minute, to give You whatever is heavy on our heart right now…….(This is your cue: take a minute to pray about what is heavy on your heart or for wisdom to balance your life further).

I’ll close the prayer, God, thank You for listening to us and working on our behalf so we can rest. Continue to ease our burdens. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Now take a nap after devouring that bowl of ice cream. Thanks for reading. You are loved.