Nothing is impossible!
That’s the spirit, yes it is. It is good to believe in the impossible, to accomplish what others say cannot be done. But I got a different view of this phrase the other day and if you have a minute or two, max (three if you read slowly; four if you really pace yourself.), I would like to share it with you.
Just a few days ago, while on my first extended weekend (and, really, first weekend of any kind) in months, I decided to take one of those days and “just do nothing.”
I wanted to vegetate. I wanted to lie in bed as long as I pleased, get up when or if I pleased, and do as little as possible. By 7 AM, my back was killing me from laying in bed too long and I had already gotten up to pee twice. So much for sleeping in. I really do envy the teen who can literally sleep away an entire day and not miss it.
By 10 AM, I was anxious, restless, and sure there was something wrong somewhere. I could not sit still another minute. I needed to do something, even if it was the laundry. So, I did. At first, I was disappointed in myself, disgusted, really. How could I squander one of those rare moments available to me in which I had nowhere to be, nothing pressing to do, and no one breathing down my neck?
Then, I started thinking about doing nothing and how we are not meant for that, not made for it. We are meant to keep moving. Stay sedentary too long and you will see a decline in physical and mental health, an increase in appetite and weight, and you might get hemorrhoids or an aching back!
God designed us to be active.
Think about the Sabbath
God rested on the seventh day of Creation. He also mandated that people rest on the seventh day of each week. Cool your heels. Take a load off.
Now, the only reason anyone needs a Sabbath is because of the hard work expected to be affiliated for all those days that are not the Sabbath.
Jesus and the boys ran into some religious blowhards one Saturday. The following is a record of it…
One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat. But the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”
Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God (during the days when Abiathar was high priest) and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. He also gave some to his companions.”
Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”
The Holy Bible, Mark 2:23-27
Rest is for the weary. Weariness comes from exertion. That bunch of blowhards were trying to impose regulations on a thing they hadn’t worked hard enough to need for themselves. Thus, they had plenty of time and energy to keep an eye out for Sabbath-breakers.
Think about Newton
Sir Isaac Newton wrote The Laws of Motion. The first of those laws is called The Law of Inertia. It goes like this:
The behavior of all objects can be described by saying that objects tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing” (unless acted upon by an unbalanced force). If at rest, they will continue in this same state of rest. If in motion with an eastward velocity of 5 m/s, they will continue in this same state of motion (5 m/s, East). If in motion with a leftward velocity of 2 m/s, they will continue in this same state of motion (2 m/s, left). The state of motion of an object is maintained as long as the object is not acted upon by an unbalanced force. All objects resist changes in their state of motion – they tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing.”
There is an important condition that must be met in order for the first law to be applicable to any given motion. The condition is described by the phrase “… unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” As the long as the forces are not unbalanced – that is, as long as the forces are balanced – the first law of motion applies.
The Law of Inertia says it is hard to get going. Ever experience that on a Monday morning? How about when it is time to put up or put away Christmas decorations?
It also says that what is in motion requires some other force to slow and/or stop its motion. My maternal grandmother was a picture of constant motion. She was always busy and preferred it that way. My father-in-law is that way, too. The worst thing to them was to have nothing to do. In fact, they never had nothing to do. I do not know why I am speaking in the past tense. I am sure Granky is wearing tracks in the streets of gold as I write and Tommy, my father-in-law, is 85 and still the epitome of perpetual motion.
Though it can be exhausting to keep up, I prefer them to the sloths who find it natural to do nothing or move so slowly, as my Dad would say, that “you have to drive a stake beside them to see if they’re moving.”
Think about keeping your balance
Balance, however, is what is wanting here.
The same Bible that contains Ecclesiastes 9:10…
Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, for in Sheol, where you are going, there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
also contains Psalm 46:10…
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted over the earth.”
Maybe it is worth noting that Solomon wrote the bit about putting your might into your work and his Dad, David, wrote the thing about being still and letting God do HIS thing. Between the two of them, we have a good balance of motion and stillness, of enterprise and inertia, of work and faith.
Think about motion sickness
My initial premise, nothing is impossible, is still in play here. Even when you are not moving, you are moving at an incredible speed.
When someone complains that they are going 100 miles per hour “trying to get everything done,” they are actually going much faster than that…and so are you, even if all you are doing is listening to them complain about all they have to do.
The earth’s motion on its axis is just the first part of the equation, however…
If that doesn’t make you feel like you are on the old Spindletop at Six Flags, consider this…
I am subject to motion sickness. I have a hard time riding in the backseat of any car and the passenger side of some. I used to consider this a weakness. Now, I wonder if it isn’t a superpower. Maybe I and my fellow motion-sickness heroes are just more finely attuned to the speed of life. Give us the respect we’re due.
Think about your purpose
Why is it so difficult to do nothing? Why does it feel like you are stealing? Why does it make you sluggish? Why is it the less we do the worse we feel? Why does the sedentary lifestyle lend itself to mental health breakdowns and physical maladies?
I think the simple answer is that nothing is impossible to do because we are made to do something. Even when you are doing nothing, you are breathing without thought. Your heart is pumping. Your mind is working. You even dream in your sleep.
Anything is possible because nothing is impossible.