Pencils Down

Quitting time would be easier if deadlines, insecurity, perfectionism, and expectations disappeared. We could simply lay our pencils down and walk away from the task in peace. Unfortunately, this is not our experience. The urgent trumps the important. The urgent trumps the clock, too. “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for God grants sleep to those he loves.” Conceptually appealing, yet realistically challenging when pressure knocks on the door, the wisdom of the Psalmist often fails to change our ways.

This Pencils Down series at The High Calling helps us face questions we'd rather avoid. The hope is that in everything, from to-do lists to identity, we will be encouraged to make small advances toward stopping when it’s time to stop.

-Sam Van Eman, Content Editor

Mar 15, 2014

The Secret to Increasing Your Capacity

Mark 1
In the middle of primetime, I sink into the couch, feet propped up on the coffee table, legs forming a desk for my laptop. While proofing a piece of writing, the background music of The Voice fills the living room. I’m attempting to be present with my family while I...Read more +
Mar 13, 2014

Pencils Down: You Have Permission to Quit

As a working member of society, I’m not allowed to quit. Not really. Cadillac’s recent caricature confirms this. Through an overdone and strongly criticized television commercial featuring the 2014 ELR, the ad contains more fact than fiction about how North Americans value the balance between time on and off the...Read more +
Mar 12, 2014

Transitions: Looking Back and Leaning Forward in Retirement

For nearly 25 years, my life looked like this: raising three children, volunteering in church and community, editing school newsletters, teaching Bible studies, and hanging a whole lotta wallpaper (It was the 70s, remember wallpaper?). I think they called what I did then, ‘staying home’; all I know is that...Read more +
Mar 11, 2014

Time’s Up! Productivity Lessons from Grading for the College Board

Everybody hates paperwork. Imagine facing a stack of 1.4 million reports more than a mile tall. That’s the reality for graders of the College Board’s Advanced Placement English tests. As a high school English teacher, I aimed for the highest national achievement I could imagine —becoming a reader for the...Read more +
Mar 10, 2014

Popular Blogger

The first time I was called a popular blogger was when twenty people were subscribed to my blog. A movement with a theological bent had sprouted on my undergraduate campus and I wrote a timely blog post critiquing what I saw as the problematic beliefs embodied by its leaders. The...Read more +
Mar 9, 2014

How Rest Informs Your Work

Psalm 127
We have a pet in our garage, but no one knows about it except me. Well, maybe I let my husband in on the secret. On the first night of frost, a small lizard snuck into the garage with my potted plants. Surrounded by garden shovels, Christmas boxes awaiting return...Read more +