A while ago, I read a blog post which stated that we were designed to “work from rest” instead of what is typically done, which is resting from work. I’ve thought about it a lot lately, particularly what it means for me to live a sustainable life. The day before the new year, I sat down in my favorite Jackson, MS coffeeshop and wrote down what living a “sustainable life” meant to me. To me, living a sustainable life means one that is deeply rooted in community and in rest and work. It means not just "putting up" with work, but rather finding fulfillment and purpose in the work that you do. It means having enough love and rest stored up in my heart so that I am kind and loving to strangers, it means having time to go out of my way for people and to change my plans to show up for my friends & family in unexpected circumstances. It means feeling spiritually, emotionally, and physically well, and if I’m not feeling those things, to rest.
While what living a sustainable life means to me will be different from what it means to you, I think that there are common themes in what everyone wants in their life than we realize. I don’t know of one person who doesn’t want to live a full and rested life. However, it’s easy to think that living a full life means not resting, means always saying yes. From experience, I know that saying yes to everything, only resting when I’m completely burned out, tends to have the opposite effect. Not only do I feel as if I’m on a treadmill, constantly trying to catch up, but I am always looking forward to the next time that I can decompress. I think a good metaphor is “living pay-check to pay-check,” except this time, we’re talking about rest. For my whole life, I had done this. The argument of “just say no to things!” never worked on me, because when I said no, I always felt like I was missing out on my life. However, since I’ve started thinking of life through the lens of “working from rest” things have changed for me. While it’s hard, I’ve decided to invest in a couple of areas in life and invest in those things all the way. I’m learning to rest hard and work hard, giving my heart completely to both areas of my life. I’m learning the complete beauty of giving life a big yes, and then giving rest a big yes, and that it’s all yes. Saying no to every opportunity that passes your way isn’t limiting, but rather gives more opportunity for you to invest in the areas of your life that you already have.
Through this, I’m learning to work from rest, not the other way around. It’s hard, and a lot of times I do the whole thing wrong. But I’m learning, and through the learning, I’m feeling more whole.