Every Thursday in LOL Interwebz, Luke T. Harrington explores the quirks and foibles of Internet culture from a Gospel perspective.

As I write this, I’m awake at 3:00 a.m. on a Monday morning, sucking down espresso and pounding away at a keyboard because, in my mind at least, this is prime writing time. In a few hours, my toddler will get up, and then the next twelve hours of my day will be consumed by my efforts to prevent her from destroying my home and/or herself and/or her baby sister. It’s a schedule I’ve maintained, more or less, six days a week, for the last two years, ever since I realized that a writing career wasn’t going to create itself for me. My time during regular daylight hours was limited, so my morning alarm started creeping earlier and earlier, and now, here we are.

Money asks that you give until there is nothing left; God invites you simply to recline at His feet and listen to His voice.I keep telling myself that eventually the extra work hours and the lack of sleep will cancel each other out and my productivity will hit zero again, and maybe that’s even already happened, but I keep dragging myself out of bed hours before the sun, because I’m convinced that if I’m not using every possible second of my time to work, I don’t deserve success.

So far? Results have been mixed. But it brings to mind a couple of things I’ve seen floating around the Interwebz lately:

The first is a Twitter hashtag that’s been trending in Mexico, #YoTambienMeDormi (“I’ve fallen asleep too”). I’m far from proficient in Spanish, but apparently it all started when a blogger caught a medical resident at a hospital sleeping and published a hot take about it on her blog (as one does), no doubt enraged to learn that doctors might have actual human needs. Medical workers around the Spanish-speaking world responded by posting pictures of themselves napping on the job along with the hashtag, finally daring to say what we were all afraid to: sleep is awesome.

Around the same time, I ran into this article in the New York Times detailing how Silicon Valley engineers are becoming increasingly dependent on drinks like Soylent, a totally-not-made-from-people meal replacement that began as a Kickstarter campaign and is now poised to suck every last bit of joy out of your life (reportedly, it’s like drinking a glass of gritty pancake batter). “Boom times in Silicon Valley call for hard work, and hard work—at least in technology land—means that coders, engineers and venture capitalists are turning to liquid meals,” writes Brian X. Chen.

It all makes me wonder how much more work time I could gain if I gave up eating in addition to sleeping. And then, like, if I got addicted to amphetamines, I could probably crank out seven or eight LOL Interwebz a day. I could turn myself into a writing machine.

And isn’t it weird that we use the word “machine” to describe someone like it’s a good thing? As if denying your own humanity is a positive attribute? I wonder if maybe it’s because we spend so much more time with computers than with people—my computer doesn’t need to eat and sleep and poop, so why do you? It’s terribly inconvenient for me. 

Jerk.

At the same time, there’s a cultural attitude on this continent (including Mexico—the stereotype of the “lazy Mexican” is statistically wrong in every possible way) that if you’re not working as hard as you possibly can, you’re not working hard enough. Only around here do we use the mathematically nonsensical expression “Give 110%”—and never mind that if you literally gave more than you had of your time, energy, etc., you would be, by definition, dead. This is the country where worker productivity has skyrocketed while wages collapsed, and yet we still tell people with a straight face that if they’re having financial troubles it’s because they’re “not working hard enough.”

How long can we keep telling ourselves the lie that we don’t need rest?

Say what you will, but I’d rather have a rested, clear-thinking doctor working on me than one who spent every minute “working hard” (or giving the appearance thereof). And while it’s less vital, it seems to me that the best software will be designed by engineers who actually know what it feels like to be human (to the extent that engineers can, I mean). The fact is, people need rest—and they work better and more efficiently when they have it.

What’s interesting, though, is that God commands us to rest. It’s right there, at the top of the Ten Commandments, ranked slightly higher than “don’t murder people” and “keep it in your pants.” It’s not just good advice or a rule of thumb; its a command.

Take a day off. Every flippin’ week. Thus saith the Lord.

It must be that God knows (1) we need rest, and (2) we’ll fight really, really hard to ignore that need unless He steps in (and probably even after that).

It reminds of this video I saw a while ago, where a Catholic priest interviews Stephen Colbert. Reflecting on his favorite words from Christ—“Do not worry”—Colbert says,

I really like that Jesus isn’t saying, “Like, try not to worry.” It’s “So I say to you: do not worry.” It’s a command.

I shouldn’t have been, but I was dumbstruck when I heard Colbert say that. I’d never thought about how the line was a command, but that’s how it’s framed. These things aren’t lines from self-help books or Hallmark cards; they’re commands from the Lord.

Do not worry.

Take time to rest.

My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Jesus told us, “You cannot serve both God and Money,” and I think that’s axiomatically true, because God and Money ask completely different things of us. Money says, “You’re not doing enough”; God says, “I’ve done everything already.” Money says, “Be better. Work harder”; God says, “Be human. Enjoy Me.

Money asks that you give until there is nothing left; God invites you simply to recline at His feet and listen to His voice.


1 Comment

  1. Very much, an inspiring read. Thank you.

    But the fact remains that there is a lot of work to do, and I’m very bad at getting it done. I think the inability to truly work hard combined with the inability to truly rest is the mark of the damned.

Comments are now closed for this article.