I took off a few days last week and headed on retreat, unplugging from the wider world for a couple days. I feel so much better for it! I disciplined myself to no email, no twitter, no internet… and honestly, it was harder than anticipated. It doesn’t seem to bother me so much when I’m abroad, but when I know it’s there & I could use it if I wanted to… it’s a lot harder not to. I think that time was an eye opener for me, that as much as I love the technology, to never let my worth come from my use of it. Nouwen wrote that as we embrace silence, we quickly discover how dependent we are…

“When we enter into solitude to be with God alone, we quickly discover how dependent we are. Without the many distractions of our daily lives, we feel anxious and tense. When nobody speaks to us, calls on us, or needs our help, we start feeling like nobodies. Then we begin wondering whether we are useful, valuable, and significant. Our tendency is to leave this fearful solitude quickly and get busy again to reassure ourselves that we are ‘somebodies’. But this is a temptation, because what makes us somebodies is not other people’s responses to us but God’s eternal love for us.”

[Henri Nouwen]

These words always hit me hard between the eyes, as I try to live them out and know how miserably I fail. I guess that’s why there is a constant refrain ‘to remember’ in the Bible; God calling us back to the root, to being somebody in his eyes alone. In that knowledge, I long to re-enter daily life with a slower pace; a more relaxed attitude. The world does not fall apart if I check out for a few days. God’s still in control.

I feel like I worked some holy margin back into my life over the last few days; like I gave myself a little space to dream, to play, to be again. I need that little bit of margin in my week to give me space to breathe and dream and create; that somewhat paradoxically actually increases productivity by taking time off. I know that’s been missing lately, and I desperately want to cling onto it this time round.

So tell me, what works for you guys? What rhythms, if any, do you have for your days & weeks? For those of you who often work weekends, when do you take time off?