Difficult Emotions

Dedicate Time And Space To Not Doing

I wrote the pursuit in January, 2016. Since then, I’ve exchanged diapers for youth sports. Pandemic restrictions have come and gone but full schedules and upper demands remain the reality.

Perhaps, like me, you need to re-establish your limits to enjoy greater clarity and connection with others.


When I started my day last Sunday, I exhaled and thought to myself, “Today I will disconnect. Today I will rest. Today…I will let go of the measures and expectations of my work and remember who I am.”

This is what I do on Sunday mornings.

Do you requite yourself that type of time and space?

Several years ago, I was at the end of my rope. I was strung out and anxious. Someone gave me the book Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald, which reflects the author’s journey toward understanding how to live his values as a rented leader. One practical idea stuck with me from the book: every human stuff needs regular time and space to rest and remember who they are. This concept has spiritual groundings and is as practical as hydration and nutrition.

Some cultures understand this largest than others.

When I lived in Ecuador, extended family and friends would gather on Sundays at a simple location 45 minutes outside of the municipality to eat, rest and connect. Many hands made for light labor in supplies prep and wipe up. Now I’m sure on these days some people argued, some were worried and others were bored, but the time and space was unmeasured, and the expectations were low.

What does it take to requirement this space?

It’s difficult to do it without the support of those virtually you. The people who count on me at home and at work understand and indulge me this time and space. I moreover let go of the expectations I have of them for these times and spaces. We can foster this rest from toil for each other.

Saying “No” Can Be Your Chance to Say “Yes”

As I discussed in last week’s post, saying “no” allows us to say “yes” to our priorities.

For the past several years, I’ve been a guest at one of my client’s yearly retreats in rural Texas, where people have the opportunity to recharge and connect. They get some work done, but it’s primarily focused on who they are rather than what they need to do. They discuss their brand, their values and their personal growth, and they connect with each other.

Investing money and time in this retreat has been an intentional nomination by this client. They have chosen to say “no” to other voices and demands.

How can you follow their example?

  1. Discuss your aspiration with people who depend on you. Making time for rest is easier through discussion than declaration. Talk with the people who need and want your time so you can stipulate to a shared vision and hopefully a shared practice.
  2. Determine the weightier time. Like any other commitment, this time requires scheduling and planning. Since we have young kids, it’s nonflexible for both my wife and me to take the same day, so right now, she takes Wednesdays and I take Sundays (actually Saturday evening to Sunday evening).
  3. Minimize “doing” influences. I don’t unshut my email, rarely wordplay calls, don’t squint at social media, stave running errands and set expectations with people that I’m less available.
  4. Don’t mart one set of rules for another. Resting shouldn’t turn into flipside thing that is measured and expected. Requite yourself the slack you need, plane if that ways you need to do something. On Sundays, I don’t completely forget that I have a family and a job. I have snow to shovel, diapers to change, dishes to wipe and unexpected needs at the store. Also, sometimes I just requite in to the necessity to do work.
  5. Prioritize availability over productivity. Just considering something is on the timetable or to-do list, it doesn’t midpoint you have to do it. Before you requite in—to the “necessity,” the pressure, the guilt or the temptation—remember that it’s a conscious choice. Saying “yes” to something is unchangingly saying “no” to something else.

Ultimately, for me, it’s as much a mindset for the day—I can let go of thoughts and pressures—as much as it is well-nigh how I spend that time. It amazes me how quickly I let external factors pinpoint me and I need to uncouple from those factors.

Does creating regular time and space for being rather than doing come easy or nonflexible for you? If it’s hard, try writing lanugo a list of the reasons to make the effort anyway.

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