Oh rest, how beautiful you are! I am so SO thankful that I can rest and recover like I am able to these days.
Back when work and ministry were my idols, I viewed rest as an unnecessary admission of weakness. Sometimes I even judged people who took vacations and needed “me” time. Maybe I thought they were lazy, selfish, and even double-minded. Either you’re all in (like, giving 110%) or not in at all, I’d reason. Choosing rest was almost like saying no to something good, and who would want to do that?
Well, now I am beginning to see things differently (read this for more on that) and it is so freeing. If you’re a workaholic, feeling overworked, or going through burnout from giving that 110% (has anyone done the math on that?), I hope you can find peace in rest today! Read this post for a good chat on how to know you’re doing too much.
Let’s Talk About The Sabbath
First of all, if you do not already have a rest day, you really need to practice taking one!
The concept of the Sabbath is a good place to start and is traditionally one in seven days off. The Jewish people were told of the Sabbath when God gave the 10 Commandments. In fact, it’s the fourth commandment.
“And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. […] Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.'”
Straight out of slavery, God told the Jews that they were no longer slaves to work and that they needed to rest. Wow. For some of us, the concept of God-given rest feels foreign. Maybe you grew up feeling like God was waiting to strike you down when you messed up. Maybe now you feel the pressure to measure up to His standards or even your own! But God knows we will run on empty if we don’t take time to fill up.
In Mark 2:27 we read, “And [Jesus] said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.'” It was put in place for our protection and for us to enjoy!
Tips for Taking the Sabbath Off for Rest and Worship
- Chose a day each week to rest from work and spend time seeking the Lord and meditating on His life-giving Truth. It can be any day that you’re off work. When I was working with churches, I took Monday and/or Friday as my Sabbath(s). Now Mr. C. and I take Sundays off.
- Guard this time. It is so easy to let off days become chore and catch-up days. Learn to say “no” to work and activities that deplete instead of replenish!
- Trust God. If you study the Sabbath in the Bible, you’ll see that it was also used as a way for the Jews to trust God to provide. The Jews not only had day-long Sabbaths, but every 7 years they would have a year-long Sabbath. Imagine wondering if you’d have enough food (they couldn’t even grow crops during this time), money (they didn’t work), or other provisions for this year of rest! We can get the same way on our days off. We go through mental checklists and justify doing this or doing that. Let it go, guys. You can do it tomorrow. Today. Just. REST.