As I have observed before, we’ve gotten to the point where we boast about our busyness like it is some sort of badge of honor—as if the more we have to do, the more important we must be. Often we excuse our packed schedules by claiming that we’re doing all these things for other people. But the reality is that they might actually benefit more from us doing nothing for a while. Why?
Because we all need to take the time to recharge, to make sure we don’t lose sight of who we are in the blur of all the things we do. We need a sabbath day, a time when we refrain from our regular activity for physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational growth. In slowing down like this, stopping for a while, we not only enrich our own lives but also the lives of those around us, from our spouse to our children, friends, and acquaintances. Here’s how to do it.
Think about this: Having been created on the sixth day, what was the first thing Adam and Eve had to do on the seventh? Rest. They began their task of taking care of creation by taking a break; they started their work from a place of rest.
Wouldn’t you like to greet the beginning of your work week the same way, expectant and at ease rather than anxious and agitated? You can—by integrating a sabbath into your life, a day set apart from all the rest. Here are 5 ways a sabbath day can enrich your life.
The sabbath is for rest.
Just like the rest of the physical world, our bodies have rhythms and cycles. Sometimes they need to be allowed to rest so they can recharge. Sleep in. Take an afternoon nap. Have a leisurely bath. Go to bed early.
The sabbath is for renewal.
You are more than just what you do. As well as taking care of your body, make sure you nourish your soul. That means attending a worship service, spending time in prayer and reflection, and reading a devotional book and the Bible.
The sabbath is for refreshment.
What brings you joy? Take some time to feed your sense of imagination and wonder. I’m not just talking about hobbies or interests, but something deeper. Explore a new interest that expands your thinking and experience. Remember that enrichment isn’t the same as entertainment.
The sabbath is for reconnection.
When we stop the clock, we have time to focus on deepening relationships that matter. Snuggle quietly with your wife and children while listening to some music and let the physical contact speak for itself. Or go for a walk together and talk about some of the things you’ve been experiencing during the day, but keep the coming week’s to-do list off-limits. The importance of families having time together was one of the driving factors behind Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy’s decision to close his fast-food restaurants on Sundays. “It was our way of honoring God and directing our attention to things more important than our business,” he said.
The sabbath is for refocusing.
In a country that honors the “self-made man,” this may be the hardest part of all. But by putting work aside for a day, you are acknowledging that, ultimately, you are not in control of your life—God is.
So what might taking a sabbath look like for you? I’m not going to give you a list of rules because nothing is more likely to take the life out of it for you than to feel like you have a list of “must-dos” to follow. But, here are some suggestions to consider:
- Schedule strategically. If you have errands to run or yards to mow, try to get it done on Saturday. Maybe you work weekends, so Sunday isn’t the best sabbath day for you. Choose a day that works.
- Check chores. Try to do as little unnecessary “work” as possible on your sabbath day. Plan ahead; do the regular chores on another day.
- Tame technology. Turn your phone off for the day. If that’s too much of a stretch, determine not to pick it up except to check to see if an incoming call is urgent.
- Fly solo or invite involvement. Though there may be times of quiet and being solo, sabbath does not have to be solitary. Discuss how it might work for you as a family and what elements need to be incorporated to ensure that you all are observing the Sabbath. Remember, the family that prays together stays together.
Do you observe the Sabbath? What do you do or not do on this special day? Please share your comments below.