Life is full. I resist using the word “busy” because it has too many negative connotations. I delight in and gladly welcome the wealth of opportunities that are before me at the moment. Yet. Yet, I am at risk of being overtaken, overwhelmed, and overcome.
The “To-Do List” is long—and growing—while deadlines are fast approaching. I am beginning to worry that I will not get it all done on time. I am starting to fear that I will not do it well. So, I woke up this morning tempted to do something that I almost never do: work on my Sabbath.
You see, in crunch time, I start to think that if I put in a few extra hours on my day off, I will be doing myself a favor. I will be taking the edge off the teetering pile of tasks so that life will be a bit more manageable tomorrow. Besides, who can even relax while being haunted by a waiting pile of work?
Some days, Sabbath is easy—a welcome respite. However, some days, Sabbath is hard. It is an act of outright defiance against my sin nature—a refusal to believe the lie that my life work is more important than my life.
Sabbath is a brazen act of faith that screams, “NO!” to the spirit of self-importance. Sabbath is a peaceful protest against the tyranny of the urgent. Sabbath is trust in action through intentional inaction. It is not a luxury for the lazy, but God-ordained time-out for the workaholic.
It goes against every fiber of human reason, stands in opposition to principles of productivity, and defies the laws of time management. Still, Sabbath is probably the most fruitful weekly endeavor one can pursue.
So today I will rest.
— I will not work on PowerPoint presentations for tomorrow’s sermons in French and in English.
— I will not write the final message for my speaking engagement at a retreat next weekend.
— I will not download the conference materials for the European Leadership Forum that is just around the corner.
— I will not work on the meditations for the Learning Community in the first week of next month.
— I will not read books for school, or write responses to emails, or compose a newsletter.
— I will not bathe the dog or change my sheets (though both have been long neglected).
Instead, I will set all those things aside and entrust them into the capable hands of a God who never slumbers nor sleeps. I will struggle to rest so that I can endure the rest of the struggle. By my rest I declare to my soul, “You are NOT in charge! Sit still, be quiet, and breathe. The LORD of the Sabbath is near; behold Him, adore Him, receive Him. There is no greater work than this.”
Question to consider: How do you “struggle to rest”?
Originally published here on February 17, 2015; adapted for Thrive.