I am really fascinated with culture. How a culture interacts with itself? Why they behave the way that they do? What can we learn from them? What is a culture telling us? There are several things that our current culture is highlighting that fascinates me and tells me something.
There is a huge drive towards: natural, organic, real, authentic etc. We see a trend back towards gardening, or garden sharing. We like the idea of buying local or from markets. Even within the city people are trending towards fishing or hunting – living off the land. We observe a culture that is fighting the ideas of bigger and better. The drive towards power, financial gain at any cost, has left us still feeling empty and without. We know that we have been duped into many things and we didn’t ask enough questions. I observe that we want to have things back in our control. Knowing where things come from, how we make it. It is becoming less about efficiency and more about enjoying all the aspects of the journey.
I see a trend towards gathering together and making food together – FROM SCRATCH. What about the convenience of fast food? We appreciate it when we need it – but recognize that speed and quickness doesn’t allow the soul to rest, or people to engage in relationship. So why not gather, share, make, explore, talk, love?
I watch a trend towards moving onto small acreages, out of the city, larger lots etc. People want to move to a place where the hustle and bustle is gone. People are willing to drive an hour commute to live in some tranquility. Its something that has become a value of sorts for many. Or trending towards camping, cabins and getting away into nature.
We recently built a patio in our front yard. I was told by the contractor that this is becoming a huge trend. Getting out of the backyard and into the front yard. Getting away from isolation – and recognizing that we want relationship with our neighbors. This is so interesting to me.
How about holidays? It used to drive me crazy that people worked so hard that they would almost burn out – only to have enough money (almost) to go on a vacation and go somewhere that would allow them to relax. Just to come home to work really hard to afford a break from the crazy lifestyle of work. But through the years I have begun to observe it quite differently. Perhaps the culture is saying that there is more to life than work! Perhaps our culture knows that we need changes of pace. Perhaps we love the idea of exploration, adventure, beauty. Maybe the drive hasn’t been to get away from work as much as it has been to see the world, experience new cultures, and find rest for our souls.
In all of my working life I can only remember using all of my holidays one year. I have some guilt for using them and guilt for not using them. For some reason there was work to be done, ministry to happen, places to preach, messages to write, hurting people to be comforted. There is this mentality that we need to work harder and accomplish more. That in order to change the world we can’t sit around and watch it! This isn’t all wrong or untrue. But research is proving that this method isn’t effective. Phrases like work smarter not harder become our mantras.
Research is proving that to be more effective (I am not talking Christianity alone) we should change up our days. We should have regular exercise – going for walks – even mid day. We should get fresh air often and talk with each other not just email. Research has been saying that employers should cut the work day down to 7 hours but pay for 8. Paying for employees to ‘work out’ for an hour during the day – and productivity will improve.
Again this ideas of rest; change of pace; nature; exercise; working with your hands; back to the land; how things used to be; markets; hipsters; sewing; creating; live edge; do it yourself; fishing etc. To me it screams that our souls are begging us to live a life that God has been saying all along. To include a rhythm of rest.
Take a sabbath break. God made the sabbath for man not man for the sabbath. Even God knew that we needed time to be quiet – every single week. We are talking a full day. IT is good and necessary for us – it is even good for God. He rested on the 7th day.
We see scripture like:
“Be still, and know that I am God”.
(Knowing God requires stillness)
“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.”
(Lots of our efforts are mislead and need to rather be all about God)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that be testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Wondering/testing/searching for the will of God)
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate (unoccupied) place, and there he prayed.”
(Even Jesus modelled this lifestyle)
1 Timothy 2:2
“For kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
(We are to pray for our government in this way)
2 chronicles 16:11
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
(King David’s life)
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Jesus says that following him is like this)
I think our culture is teaching us something. The culture is begging to be ok with stillness, quiet and peace. They want to know that this is ok. I think our culture is fighting to say that stillness can be ‘not working’. Where watching movies or Netflix is the same as rest. But this is NOT TRUE!
We long and need – stillness, waiting, resting, seeking God, patience. We likely need more naps in the park, playing in the dirt of our gardens (without music playing), arriving early for meetings to give us a few min to be quiet to hear God.
I trust that reading this helps you to realize that your inner desires of stillness and peace are acceptable and good. I hope this encourages you to schedule this into your life regularly – Every day spending time with the creator. Use a holiday to have a day of isolation and quiet in a park somewhere. Practice enjoying nature. But plan it out – so that it doesn’t come and go – without you realizing it.
I am committing this year to being the first year that I will take all of my holidays! I will keep you in the loop as to how this impacts my every day life 🙂
Have a great day!