Monday, September 27, 2010

The Sabbath Experiment

Lately I have been convicted of being too busy. Quite honestly, I work every day, seven days a week. It may only be for a couple of hours, but at the very least, I check emails, respond to clients, etc. seven days a week. It seems my clients have no respect for weekends, because they, too, are working seven days a week. This, I believe, is a destructive pattern, and I am putting an end to it. After all, God Himself created for six days and rested on the seventh.

The Sabbath. What does it mean to you? Are your Saturdays and Sundays filled with running here and there, doing housework/yardwork, working on your computer, grading papers, crunching numbers, etc.? Where does rest fit in?

I am not about to get into a theological debate on which day the Sabbath actually occurs. For some, it is Saturday and for others, Sunday. For me, I will recognize the Sabbath, my day of rest, mostly on Sundays. Occasionally, however, it will be a Saturday for my husband and me. Why? Simply because I refuse to be legalistic about this. The point is we are to rest from our work one day a week.

What does this mean for me? No emails. No blogging. No work in my office. No laundry. No cleaning. Will I cook? Maybe. Will I clean up after cooking? Maybe.

And my husband? He won't do yard work, rake leaves, clean out the garage, etc. Will he water the plants? Possibly...if they really need watering. But basically, he won't be working either.

As I said, most of our Sabbath time will occur on Sundays, starting with church. After church, we'll have lunch with the kids and grandbabies and then, who knows? Maybe a walk in the woods or an afternoon of playing cards. Maybe we'll have dinner with friends. Or we'll watch a Hallmark movie marathon. Or nap. It won't really matter, as long as we are relaxing.

Why do I think this is important? Well, for one thing, God tells us in His Word to do this. But it goes beyond that. I have not researched this, but I have a strong suspicion that the rise in stress-related conditions started within a few years of America ridding itself of the Blue Laws. Remember them? Because businesses were not permitted to be open on Sundays, life was different. People spent Sundays with their families... and not at soccer games or at the mall. They shared Sunday dinners with Grandma or they went on picnics. Life slowed down for one day every week.

Then the Blue Laws were repealed and our frantic, busy pace seeped into our Sundays, making them a day just like all the rest. And no one seemed to notice how this was affecting our marriages and families and... our health!

Bill and I started The Sabbath Experiment on Saturday. Plans to do this on Sunday were averted because we received sad news about the deaths of two friends, so we chose to take Saturday off and revisit some places we used to enjoy. We spent time walking hand-in-hand in the Wildflower Reserve in Clinton, PA and ate breakfast at a familiar haunt from our dating years. We visited my late husband's grave and drove by our deceased friends' homes. We honored memories. 

We bought fresh produce from a local farm market and, once home, cooked a simple dinner, eating in the living room as we watched a movie. It was a bittersweet day, but a relaxing one. I am, understandably, quite sad about the loss of my friends. But burying myself in work would not have made anything any easier. Spending the time with my husband (and best friend) did.

Was it hard for me not to check on work when I got home? Absolutely. I am not predicting an easy transition for either of us. However, I believe the dividends we reap will be well worth it.

My challenge to you... for your emotional, physical and spiritual health... is to follow suit. See where The Sabbath Experiment takes you. And then let me know how it has changed your life. For me, I am expecting great results.

Keeping it healthy with a day of rest,


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