Take a Break!

“I have to write a post for tomorrow morning. I’m on a schedule!”

It was getting close to bedtime, and I’d been staring at a blank document for the last thirty minutes. My mind was totally blank.

“God, I need your inspiration, and I need it now, please!”

No answer. No thoughts popping into my brain. Just exhaustion.

Instead, I kept mentally reviewing the list of tasks I had to accomplish the next day: Pay bills, balance accounts, clean the house for coming guests, defrost a freezer-burned hunk of mystery meat and turn it into that night’s dinner. Do a load of laundry. Feed and water the chickens, cat, gecko; water the drooping houseplants (I have an indoor jungle) and flower beds. Find some time to work out or go for a walk. Spend significant time with God. (Why did that always seem to be at the end of the list?)

And that didn’t even include working on my photography business.

Between extensive out-of-state travel this spring (to conferences, a baby shower for our coming granddaughter, and then a return trip when she arrived five weeks early), getting a pile of my photos printed, matted, and ready for my first craft fair booth, a steady stream of houseguests, and the Waldo Canyon fire (we’re fine, but we had a houseful of evacuees, plus it was highly distracting watching the mountain across from us burn), I hadn’t had a chance to just sit in over a month.

Finally realizing I wasn’t going to write anything useful that evening, I rescheduled a post I’d intended to run another day. Then I went to bed, resolving to take the next day off. The home accounting, cleaning, and cooking could wait one more day. I did have to tend to my menagerie (both animal and vegetable), but that takes less than an hour. Mostly, I planned to spend the entire day hanging out with God and doing as little else as possible. I alerted Pete that it was every man for himself for dinner, and he offered to bring home takeout. What a sweetie.

The next day God and I hung out. I had eggs, tea, and Mark 6 for breakfast, then computer solitaire and prayer all morning. Lunch was Mark 7 with a PB&J, followed by a nice, long nap. By the time Pete arrived with some fast food burgers and sweet potato fries, I was beginning to feel sane again. Finally, I went to bed at 8:30 and slept for ten hours.

And I learned that I can’t live as I’ve been living. I have to take time to stop. Pray. Think.

This isn’t something new, but how easily I forget. When chores overwhelm and schedules are full, I tend to substitute the urgent for the important. It’s odd that we as a church are so focused on nine of the ten commandments, but we readily skip over the fourth one: remember the Sabbath day. Perhaps that’s why God used the word remember!

Not every Christian believes in taking a Sabbath rest. There’s a whole theology (called Non-Sabbatarianism) based on Colossians 2:16, where Paul abolishes a legalistic mandate to observe a weekly Sabbath. After digging in on this, I’ve concluded that, just as with the other laws of the Old Testament, Jesus didn’t abolish the Sabbath as much as He took the concept even further. Not only should we not murder, we shouldn’t even call people names. Not only should we not commit adultery, we shouldn’t even lust. No, we don’t have to sit around between sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. Yes, just like all God’s creatures, we need to rest at times, and a weekly rest day is a good place to start. Then we stay flexible, adjusting our schedule as the Spirit leads us.

Although it’s traditional, resting on Sunday doesn’t work well for me. We’re up early, we go to Sunday School followed by a 90-minute church service, and then we take my 90-year-old dad out to lunch. He usually needs to go grocery shopping afterward. By the time we get home, usually in the late afternoon, I’m worn out.

Thankfully, I doubt that God cares which day I take off. This morning I sat down and went through my calendar, choosing one day a week to set aside as a day of rest, both physical and mental. It’s not always the same day, but I aim for Tuesday or Thursday, just because that’s convenient for me.

I intend to apply the same “rule” as Pete and I have for our monthly date day—we can move it around, but we can’t delete it. Sometime during the month, we need a day set apart just for the two of us. And sometime during the week, I need a day set apart just for God. After all, those are my two most important relationships!

The next time I think I’m superwoman, I hope God knocks me upside the head long before I get to that degree of burnout. As always, Father knows best.

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