The Bigger Problem of Losing Your Car Keys

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You’ve been there. Or if you haven’t, let’s just pretend you have for the sake of making me feel better about my own tendency toward forgetfulness.

I’m referring to the moment when, after frantically searching for something – usually something you use often, like your car keys, or your glasses – you realize you’ve been holding it the whole time you’ve been looking.  

There needs to be a word for this phenomenon. If there’s a word for déjà vu, it seems only fair to have a word for this, too.  

While I don’t know of any official words for it (if you do, please share!), I do know why it happens. At least, I know why it happens to me. It’s one of three reasons, and sometimes a combination of all: 

1. I’m rushing and stressed. There’s no margin. I haven’t allowed enough time, let alone extra time, to do what I’m supposed to. I’m going too fast to be careful.  

2. I’m thinking about too many things at once. Fourteen different thoughts are competing for my attention. The simple thoughts are the first to get pushed to the back of my mind. Thoughts of worry, agitation, etc. take central position. I lack focus. Or, perhaps I have plenty of focus – just not on the right things.

3. I’m allowing my subconscious to run my life. Certain parts of my brain are running on autopilot. I’m not stopping to examine, evaluate, or consider. I’m just plowing forward, without clearly looking to see where I’m going. Sort of like a car, driving in the rain without the windshield wipers on.

It’s pretty harmless when the lost thing is something as tangible as a set of car keys. But, what about when we do this in less tangible ways? What if we’re living in a way that’s too fast, too unfocused, and too unexamined to notice and appreciate what’s right in our hands?

A long, long (looooong) time ago, the Bible told us that it’s important to pause; to set apart some time; to rest. Sometimes it seems like so long ago that it’s no longer relevant. It seems like a mere suggestion from a much different time. It’s not a mere suggestion, though. It’s actually one of the Ten Commandments.

But I don’t want to get too much into that, not right now at least, because this whole idea of margin can be so very beneficial whether or not you accept the Bible as Truth. Our human nature is the same now as it was when those words about rest first went to paper – or stone, rather.

If left unchecked, we all have a tendency to move through life on autopilot, without recognizing the blessings right in our hands. For some of us, this looks like being too productive. For others, it might look like being too wrapped up in unintentional rest (said without judgment – because I’ve had my share of Netflix binges, too).

Engaging in intentional rest – time purposely set apart on a regular basis to reflect, examine, and be thankful – is nourishment for a weary soul. I happen to think it’s extra nourishing when this time is also in worship of God, but more on that some other day.

For now, is there some way you could make room for intentional rest in your life? What would it look like for you? Getting out into nature for a day? Spending an hour or so journaling? Enjoying an entire cup of coffee while it’s still hot?

Don’t be afraid to start small. Your to-do list, in the short term, will probably suffer a little. But it will be so good for you and worth it in the long run. And that’s a promise – written in stone, a long (looooong) time ago.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

This message begins to scratch the surface of what real-life Sabbath looks like in today’s world. More to come in the future, under the category of “Rest/Modern-Day Sabbath”.

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