This Thanksgiving I realized, we have no idea how to stop. Many of my friends and family got up on Thanksgiving and ran a marathon. Then came home, fixed a meal for a few hours, ate, washed dishes, squeezed in a little digestion time and bam….shopping we go. There is a good chance you are exhausted from your Thanksgiving “break.” Even the more traditional people (like me) never turned off the football game or stopped playing board games. This isn’t just our holidays this is life.
Afraid of what’s in the bucket
I think we are afraid to stop. Afraid to stop working, stop cleaning, stop committing to new things. It’s like that feeling when you put water in a bucket and start swinging it over your head. As a kid, the first time we did that was amazing, right? However, then we were afraid of how to stop without dumping water all over ourselves.
We seem to be so obsessed with staying busy. Maybe it’s not because there is so much to do. Think about it. If a magic fairy completed all of the items on your to do list for the rest of the year, wouldn’t you just take a deep breath and go get crazy overcommitted in some other area? Maybe, it’s because we are afraid of what is in the bucket. The bucket, in this amazing analogy, is your heart.
Take a day off or die
So the most humorous commands of the Bible go like this:
Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death;those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. Exodus 31:14
Come on, that’s funny! You still don’t get the humor? Let me give you the Grant Abridged Version (GAV)
Take a day off, because this is important to God. If you don’t take a day off and just relax, you will be killed!
Guess what? These people were continually choosing to disobey the Sabbath at the risk of getting stoned. Why? Because we don’t like to just … stop. Why are you afraid to stop? It really is a deep question when you think about it. Here are a couple of possible reasons I’ve come up with,off the top of my head.
- You don’t like being with your family. (Leviticus 19:3 implies one of the purposes of the sabbath was family time)
- Your worth is based on what you’ve accomplished.
- You don’t like to be still because you start thinking about all of your shortcomings and failures.
- You’re afraid to live a day without being a winner.
- You think if you stop, the world will fall apart.
What if the reason you are obsessed with keeping busy is really deep. Don’t misunderstand me, I like people who know how to work long hard days and so does God. However, God invented the weekend. Without the sabbath we would all work 7 days a week, but God said “No, I want you to have a day off each week.”
Please, I beg you, try taking a whole day off once a week. It doesn’t have to be Saturday or Sunday. The day of the week is not really important. I take mine on Thursdays because I work a lot on the weekends. I think there are very few people who have ever really “Sabbathed.” I mean…have REALLY taken a whole day, sun up to sundown, off. Even now you’re thinking: “No way, there is no way I could ever take a day off.” Like I said, that might be an indication that there is a bigger problem than you think.
How to take a day off
- Taking a day off requires preparation. Get everything done during the rest of the week. You may need to work harder the night before to get the oil changed, gutters cleaned or the toilet scrubbed. This was actually God’s command to the Israelites in Exodus 16:13
- Clear your calendar. Again, as you struggle to find just one day off on your calendar, this only further proves my point that we may have a bigger problem than we realize. If you can’t say “no” and completely clear your schedule for one day, your self reliance may be systemic.
- Stop feeling guilty. When you sit on your couch and drink your coffee and fight the urge to scrub the tub, send a few emails or go fishing…do it guilt free. Read these verses if you start to doubt that:
- Replace self reliance with faith. If something pops in you head that you need to get done, put it on a list. Trust God and leave it until tomorrow. Trust God to keep the world on its axis even if you don’t feverishly jump into action. This is key.
I promise, this will change you. I have a long story I won’t bother sharing with you right now, but believe me, I know this problem from personal experience. You will start feeling more refreshed. If done properly, a weekly Sabbath will change your perspective on everything! Intentionally slowing your feverish pace will deepen your faith in God and ultimately change your priorities for the better.