You’re a champion. A goal-setter and go-getter. You probably thrive off of a great to do list, a color-coded schedule, and an efficient morning routine. And you’re doing great things. You’re changing the world and making a difference. Like I said, rock star.
But maybe, just maybe, you’re getting a little tired, a little weary. The constant hustle is wearing on you and you find yourself praying you get a head cold—nothing serious, but just enough to call in sick and spend the day watching a Harry Potter marathon?
I have found myself there more times than I could count. As a recovering workaholic, people-pleaser and perfectionist, sister friend, I get it. But what if there was another way, a better way?
Did you know that God actually commands us to rest? In fact, he says it is how the world will know we are His people. That means that a life following God is one of Sabbath discipline, taking time each week to pause, to rest, and to proclaim that our worth and identity is not found in our hustle, our calendar, or our accomplishments. Our number one identity is as a child of God, a daughter of the King, and because of that we can slow down, we can breathe, and we can Sabbath. It means that God is going to be faithful, He will provide the daily bread needed for today, and when tomorrow comes? Yea, He’s going to provide for that as well.
In his thought-provoking book Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now, Walter Brueggemann argues that the fourth commandment of observing the Sabbath day and keeping it holy is actually the linchpin that makes the first three and final six commandments possible. The first three commandments speak of loving God—of putting Him first in our lives and worshipping Him alone. And the final six speak of loving our neighbors—of not stealing, of choosing compassion over envy, of honoring those who God puts in our path.
And I don’t know about you, but isn’t it so much easier to love God and to love our neighbors when we are operating out of a place of rest over hustle? When we acknowledge that our identity isn’t built on “getting ahead”, but in the God who calls us His redeemed?
This concept, however, is incredibly counter-cultural. Our world is built on the “American Dream”, the hustle and side-hustle, the new planner every six weeks. It takes time to realign our priorities and it takes discipline to learn a new path of doing things, a new way of organizing our time.
Ready to jump in? Here are a couple small ways to get started today:
Say no to one thing this week.
Seriously, just say no. No to that volunteer position, no to bringing another dessert to the kindergarten class, no to checking email after work hours. Just pick one thing this week and say no.
Create a “Do Not Do” list.
Make a list ahead of time that has 7 to 10 things on it that you don’t do, things you can automatically say no to. Do you hate cooking but feel obligated to take every family with a newborn a homemade meal? Instead, bring them take out from your favorite restaurant. Does having a perfect home stress you out yet feel like something you “should” do? Add it to the list—keep it clean, keep it simple and that’s enough.
Say yes to one thing this week.
I believe part of Sabbath and rest is learning to say yes to the fun and life-giving things. Have you really wanted to go out with your girlfriends but can never find time? Make the time. Is there a fun book you’ve wanted to read but feel guilty about being unproductive? Set a timer for 20 minutes and be a little self-indulgent.
Set some boundaries.
Maybe you are so used to work 80+ hours a week that the idea of cutting out an entire 24 hours to rest and not work sounds overwhelming and completely undoable. Start small and set some simple boundaries. Choose one night a week where you can take off and do those “yes” things. If you work from home, decide on an ending time where you shut off the computer and log off of social media—take it one step further and actually set an alarm on your phone to go off as a reminder to step away.
Write it out.
I find visual reminders to be the most efficient way to keep something in front of me (quite literally most of the time!). I have post-it notes all over my computer, steering wheel, and refrigerator. And sometimes, our emotions are not in a place where we can proactively remind ourselves of these truths. Instead, we need them written in front of us. Write down the truths, the promises, and the encouragements of God. Stick it in your planner as a reminder when you’re tempted to add more to your to do list. Hang it on your mirror when you’re stressing over tomorrow at the end of a long day. Post it your computer to see when a friend invites you to coffee and you want to say no, but actually really want to take a break and say yes.
This is about slow progress. Work your way up to taking one full day off from work, chores, errands, and responsibilities a week. Allow grace to flow freely because, the truth is, God’s grace is fresh every moment. And, as writer Shelly Miller states, “Sabbath is not about resting perfectly, but resting in the One who is perfect.”
Happy resting, rockstars.
Are you finding that this season seems to be busier? Which of the 5 suggestions above can you schedule into your day tomorrow?
Photography: Corrie Mahr
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