Work 6 days, rest 1…work 6 days, rest 1…work 6, rest 1…work 6, rest 1…
What is so stinking hard about that? Why is this the commandment we not only break regularly, but with great pride? "Oh, I am so swamped…I am soooo busy…I have this going and that going and – and – and…" And we are defeated and tired and broken down and lost in fatigue wondering where our spark has gone? There has to be more than this to life, right? Weren't we created for something more?
Here's how everybody knows when you haven't been keeping the Sabbath holy and making every effort to enter the rest God has for you…that's right – it is a GIFT! (see Hebrews 4). When:
- you're crabby
- you're habitually tired, worn out, fatigued
- you have no joy, but deep frown lines
- you are too important to be able to take a day off from work
- you are restless, you allow no one around you any rest, either
- you are burned out, stressed out
- you can't breathe
- you're unhumanly tired, but cannot sleep
- you have general flu-like achiness all over, you swell up
- your heart beats rapidly and you feel nervous
- you feel like everything is about to blow up in your face
- your mind is dull, even when you are working, you cannot seem to do it well, so you keep at it around-the-clock, 24/7 trying and trying and trying to no avail
Everybody knows. I do because, well, you know, it takes one to know one. I know for myself that when I move away from this gift of rest from God, from this invitation to keep one day of the week separate and holy and peaceful and restful, I fall right back into my striving, workaholism ways making me and everyone around me miserable. The more time I put into work, the less I get accomplished.
At the Sabbath rest intensive I attended recently (www.getthewordout.cc) Mary Jean gave us a list about what Sabbath, a day set apart to the Lord, a day to keep holy, really is. I want to share some that hit me between the eyes here. She said it is more than the absence of work. A Sabbath……gives us permission to stop …frees us from the need to be finished …gives us time to remember …is comfort …is time in God's Presence …allows the mind to rest in the heart, helps us surrender to quality time …is being still and knowing …makes me uniquely poised for God's Presence …is a time to play …is a time to pay attention …is prayerful thankfulness instead of prayerful petition …is an acknowledgement that we have enough …makes me unflinchingly useless – nothing will get done or be checked off my list; no goal will be accomplished, nothing will be measured …is time to ask the right questions: Lord, are your really first in my life? Am I seeing You? Am I hearing You? …is time to relax without guilt …is about trust – turning over to God all the things I am holding on to so tightly …is a day to which all other days have no claim …is a day to STOP doing what you ought to do …is for ceasing from the necessary and embracing that which gives life …doesn't let the future have power over our present …is for spending time producing nothing but adrenaline, laughter and memories …is a day God meant to fuss over us with, not us over it!
…is Father's gift to indulge us, bless us, heal us
Oh, my goodness – how would the Church look different if we would accept and receive and repent and obey in this one area alone? How would I look different, more like the woman God saw when He created me? How healed would our bodies and minds be? Would sleeping hard from playing hard bring the sweet sleep of our youth back? Would our brain chemicals get renewed and would we quit turning to food and pain pills and other chemical solutions for what ails us?
Work 6, rest 1…What is so hard about that and why do each of us believe we are the only person to whom that does not apply?…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Remember Him. Remember the Sabbath He made for me. Keep it holy. Get a life, get a healed life. Work 6 – no more than 6, then rest 1. Period. Trust Him. (That just made me think of an old Keith Green song, "Doing our best, pray that it's blessed, and then don't worry-He'll take care of the rest!")