Strange Days, Rest, and Decision Making

Well, I’ve spent the entire day sitting in a medical facility with a blood catheter in my arm. This is all part and parcel with the drug trial that I mentioned yesterday, but it’s still been a strange kind of day. Both odd, because I’ll have 27 vials of blood drawn by the end of the day (which is a freakin lot of blood), and oddly familiar, because I’ve been sitting in the facility doing my job all day long. I have to admit that I truly love the ability to take my job with me pretty much anywhere. However, it’s both a blessing and a curse because this ability also means that it is very hard to stop doing my job. For a long time (and still every now and then) I found myself working at all hours. I would be up at 3 am grading papers, I would work seven days a week and just never stop. Obviously, this isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. However, I got over a quarter of my week’s grading done today, which is great. Both yesterday and today have been extremely productive, which I am very, thoroughly glad about. I’m hoping to get everything done by Thursday so that I can take most of this weekend off to spend some time with my nephews.

Rest is extremely important in our lives, and I usually take Tuesdays off, so I haven’t had a really thorough day of rest in a while. I think that in America, and even more so in Japan and Korea, we don’t recognize the importance of rest enough. I know that I was raised to assume that taking time to rest was simply being lazy. It was wrong to relax, to just sit down and do nothing important, because in that moment I wasn’t being productive. Now I make sure to take time to rest (time that seems sufficient to me) and I still have a lot of friends who think that I’m working myself to death.

Here’s the thing that I’ve learned. No matter what I believe or choose to do, someone will think that I’m wrong, and somebody will be disappointed. This part sucks. Some people are going to tell me that I need to slow down, to relax, to rest more, and let myself heal, but others are going to tell me that I’m a lazy bum and that’s why I’m poor. What I’ve learned the hard way is that no matter what you do, someone is going to think that you’re wrong. This is always true. However, this is why Kipling encouraged us to trust ourselves even when everyone doubts us. The key is to not simply trust ourselves, but to be willing to listen seriously to the doubts of others. When it comes to rest, jobs, marriage… anything really, we have to be willing to listen to the advice of others, and then make our own decisions. If I simply do what everyone else tells me to do (which is all to often the case with me when it comes to women), then I will be lost in a maze of conflicting opinions and advice from which there is no escape.

I have to trust myself, and really I can only trust myself if I am willing to trust God. My goal, my quest, my responsibility, is to seek God in everything, and rely on him to guide me through my life. So, what I have to do is discern, trust, and follow. Which winds up being a whole lot harder than it sounds. Still, I think it’s worth the effort.

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