Proving that God’s sense of timing is always perfect, it was no coincidence that the final focus in Jen Hatmaker’s 7 Bible study, stress, fell during a particularly stressful week for me. Back when we started the study I honestly thought it would be one of the least challenging areas for me. I don’t consider myself a super-stressed out person; I’m typically pretty laid back, go with the flow.
But of course God knows exactly what I need when I need it, so I really shouldn’t be surprised that this chapter on stress came in the midst of a very busy time for me at work. I’ve had several moments over the past couple of weeks where I’ve let my stress manifest itself in unhealthy ways, usually being short and impatient with my co-workers and doing more than my fair of grumbling and complaining. It’s especially challenging when you feel like there are some others who aren’t pulling their weight, to the extent that their lack of following through on projects makes more work for you to do.
On top of work stress, there is of course a never-ending to-do list of projects at home, errands to run, and just overall busyness. Most nights when I come home from work I just want to veg out on the couch til bedtime, so most of my chores and home projects get put off to the weekend. Which makes it difficult to follow the ancient practice of Sabbath, as we discussed this week in the 7 study.
But I love the point that Jen makes in her study about the Sabbath:
“There is never an end to the work, only an end to the week. A Sabbath rest doesn’t mean everything is finished. It doesn’t signal completed tasks or every mission accomplished. It may find us squarely in the center of a project, neck-deep in unfinished work. It comes every seven days in the middle of life.”
I needed to hear this. So many times I’ll tell myself that I can rest when I finish the laundry/mow the grass/empty the dishwasher/change the sheets on the bed/fill in the blank. And I feel guilty if I do sit down when there’s plenty of other things I think I should be doing. That’s not to say that the work shouldn’t be done, but it’s okay for me to take a break to rest without crossing everything off my to-do list.
And so I’m going to try to practice the Sabbath more regularly. To me (and everyone’s Sabbath will look different), that means getting my weekend chores out of the way on Saturday (thankfully I had company over for dinner last night so I had great motivation to get the house cleaned). It means running any necessary errands ahead of time instead of doing my usual post-church Target/grocery store/Costco/etc. run. It means planning ahead so that I’ve got something already to eat and don’t have to do a lot of cooking when I come home from church. (Again, I last night’s dinner party to thank–leftovers!) It means settling my busy body down for a nice little nap. It means enjoying the rest that God has given me and not get mentally worked up thinking about all that needs to be done in the coming week.
I probably won’t be able to practice Sabbath every single week, and some weeks it may be a Saturday or other day of rest instead of Sunday, but I’m going to try to be more purposeful in taking time to rest.
Do you practice any sort of Sabbath rest? Do you find it easy to rest or, like me, do you feel yourself constantly pulled in the direction of your to-do list?