Monday, May 14, 2012

Belated Sunday Fresh Take: Rest!

I had "one of those days" last week...all week long!  I felt grumpy, tired, frustrated, and just plain-old burnt out.  I kept trying to get things done only to have one of my children undo what I had just worked on.  Their schedules didn't line up the way they normally do.  We didn't get outside for exercise at all--even when the weather was beautiful.  I kept saying, "There just aren't enough hours in the day!"  I just felt like screaming!  So by the time Friday was here, I had finally had enough.  When they all napped (at the same time--hooray!), I decided it was time to lay down and rest.  No e-mail, no television, no phone, no magazines or books; just me and the couch with my eyes closed.  It was beautiful.  While I was laying there, I just thought a lot.  I prayed a little, organized my days a little, but mostly, I just thought.  By the time I was done resting, I felt, well...rested!  It was at that moment that I realized what my next Sunday Fresh Take needed to be about.  It was at that moment that I realized, "So THIS is what the Sabbath is all about!"

"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord hath blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it."

Recall this?  Yup, it's one of the ten commandments.  God actually orders us to rest.  And how many of us actually listen?  Even when we're taking some much needed down-time, most of us are still doing something.  We turn on the tv, talk on the phone, check our e-mail--and before we know it, our time of rest is over and we find ourselves thinking, "Wait, what just happened to the last two hours?  I was planning on resting!"  See previous post

It may seem unrealistic to have one day where you literally do nothing and go nowhere.  It probably sounds a little boring.  It probably sounds like an ancient, unnecessary practice.  After all, many of us have to work on Saturday, so Sunday has to be a day to get things done, right?  Or if not to get things done, then many of us use it as a day to catch up on reading or to watch tv.  But what if we all sat around and did NOTHING?  Would we fall behind?  Would we feel lazy?  Would we be bored?  I believe that the answer to all of these question would  be "No!  We wouldn't!"

When you get sick, you probably lay around and sleep a lot.  And after a couple of days of that (or maybe after just one), you feel soooooo bored and ready to rejoin the world.  Think of a day of rest like resting when you're sick; your body needs that rest, but after it gets what it needs, it's ready to get back to life as usual.  When you're sick, you don't want to move a muscle.  But when you feel better, you usually have more energy.  Think of the sabbath as a day to renew your energy levels.  When you're sick you don't get anything done around the house--and you typically don't need to because you haven't done anything for a day or two.  What you do need to get done, will get done because it's just what you have to do.  Think of your day off as that push that you need to get done what's necessary during the rest of the week.  Now imagine having a day of complete rest every single week!  I bet we'd be feeling ready to get back to life as usual, we'd have more energy, we'd find ourselves being more productive during the week.  We'd find that we don't feel burnt out as often, we'd probably find that we enjoy (and need) exercise every other day of the week, and maybe we'd even find that we don't get sick as often because our bodies don't require the extra rest and the "mental health day."

If you're still skeptical about our need for the Sabbath, try it for a few weeks.  There must be one day of the week that works for you.  See how you feel.  God wouldn't command such a thing if he didn't feel it necessary.

Enjoy your next day off!


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