Like a delicate scale tipping toward the stress side, balance remains a challenge. Work takes the main role. Responsibilities scream, “Do me first. No time for play.”
But without play, creativity is a leftover.
It fights against the stress and becomes its own version of writer’s block. Not that the words cease, but the sentences are no longer filtered through the divine whisper.
Instead, they sound like clichés as the craft becomes lifeless to the writer.
Without play, stress wins. Because more tasks always appear, more places to go, more projects to complete, more responsibilities to wear us down.
Play pouts in the corner, unable to garner attention yet plaguing us with its silent screams.
In a corner of my office sits my tote bag filled with colorful pens, crayons and the latest Mandala. But work calls through the filter of stress, so I ignore the bag even while wishing for a just a few moments of playful joy.
In her book about recovering balance, Finding the Deep River Within, Abby Seixas writes, “We must break the cultural habit of sacrificing our inner lives for our outer lives, of giving up depth in deference to speed.”
Stress and its deceptive sister, Speed, require that we work hard to complete more tasks. Finish everything before the end of the day. We do our work quickly so we can accomplish more, then check our to-do lists for the satisfaction of completion.
Yet with speed, we sacrifice the beauty of rest that ultimately feeds our souls. We give up our need to go deep and find our most intimate selves.
We lose our place, sitting in God’s lap where he whispers, “Be still and know me.”
The delicate scale balances precariously toward burnout. But the solution is not that difficult. We all have 168 hours each week to figure it out. Yes, work is important. But so is play.
It takes merely a smidgeon of self-discipline to stop multi-tasking, to cut away at the distractions, to invite soul time.
To breath deeply, close the eyes against the computer glare, and embrace solitude. And in that embrace, we learn to love again — our own souls as well as the Divine One who made us in the first place.
To make the decision for more balance brings hope to that inner place where the child still waits for the adult. Where memories of laughter, colors, and sand castles still thrive.
I commit to that decision, embrace hope, and gather my toys. Because hope shines when we commit to play.
©2022 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Be still and know with a devotional book for seniors. Day by Day: Hope for Senior Wisdom.