Sometimes the most important thing you can do is nothing. As the great theologian Winnie the Pooh said, “Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
I rediscovered the importance of doing nothing on my summer vacation–long days with no agenda, no obligations, and few phones. Endless hours included time to crochet and read mindless novels that provided mental rest and laughter. Lovely dinners cooked with simple food and glorious sunsets added beauty to the atmosphere of doing nothing.
This was not as easy as it sounds for a girl who is very project and goal oriented. I never touched the little projects and books I had brought along with the thought I’d have time to work on my website or study for a retreat message. Every time I looked at them I heard the Lord say, “No.” So nothing of “value” was done during vacation except:
1. I rested–both physically and mentally.
2. I had a great time with my husband who was also suffering from work withdraw.
3. I found my creative juices slowly regenerating.
4. I let the world be bigger than what I could control.
5. I discovered that not caring about some things is a very important discipline.
6. I learned that it takes several days to really get into the practice of doing nothing.
Since Tom and I take Fridays as our Sabbath, the practice of doing nothing is an ongoing discipline–a spiritual discipline that provides a place and time to connect with God and each other. How do you work the spiritual discipline of doing nothing into your life?
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
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After relentless writing deadlines, I make time for this sort of thing in the week following. It’s hard to do because I’m always multitasking, and I find that not mentally doing this is the most challenging. I don’t know how humans can be endlessly “productive” all at the same time without sacrificing something important, like hearing, listening or observing. And then there’s that doing nothing without the hearing, listening and observing. That’s the most seemingly non-productive at all. But wouldn’t you know it, some of us become the most creative, insightful, or prayerful when we’re washing the dishes or our hair. Maybe it’s because we’re held the most captive to emptying our noggins of all the clutter. The warm water helps to get our attention, too, I’ll bet.
Okay, I guess I could have done absolutely nothing just now instead of writing this. So maybe I need more training. But I wanted to peek my head in and see how everybody else was doing and check in, if even virtually. Back to deadline-mania now. It’s a doozy and I need grace. But I’m looking forward to the next slice of quiet and maybe even nothingness this time. (I think these days, they’re called “naps.”)
It is hard to do nothing. Even on vacation, I’m thinking of ways to incorporate the photos and the experiences into writing / teaching / song. 🙂 The most times of doing nothing are when down with a headache. One of my kid’s mother-in-laws has praised God for those needed respites. I’m not in that place either–to praise for pain. But I think there is great value in being still and just knowing God.