Earlier this week I had coffee with a good friend. We were talking about how we recover and recuperate after busy seasons in life. Some weeks I don’t have anything extra on my plate and it’s a relatively easy week. Others weeks, though, my plate is overflowing, like I’m at an all-you-can-eat buffet of busyness. After weeks like that, it’s important to find time to rest and recover.
Resting and recovering can look different for all of us. Some of us best rest my taking a nap and others need to be outside doing something. However we rest and recover, we still need to be intentional of scheduling that time and everything else that we do.
If we take the fourth commandment seriously, then we need to seriously think about how we incorporate rest and Sabbath into our weeks. For a long time I didn’t take the fourth commandment seriously and I just sort of let my weeks happen to me. If it was a busy week, then I was busy. If it wasn’t a busy week, then I wasn’t busy and I wasted a lot of time.
In both situations I wasn’t intentional about scheduling my weeks. So, when I did have some free time, I wasn’t able to really use that time to rest and relax. If I still had a long to-do list, I wasn’t able to relax because I felt guilty about not working. If I didn’t have anything to do, then I would just end up sitting around, not really choosing to do anything to connect with God. Instead of resting I was just lazy.
I’ve started being more intentional with my time and scheduling out my work and my play. This practice has really helped me to make Sabbath and rest a regular part of my life. When I schedule out my workweek and accomplish what needs to get done, it frees me to rest without a guilty conscience. And when I schedule out my free time, it enables me to do those things that really do give me rest and help me connect with God. Instead of just wasting five hours with Netflix, I make time to exercise, to read God’s word and to hang out with loved ones.
My 19-year-old self would be disgusted at how much I schedule out my time. At 19 I wanted to do whatever I wanted. If I wanted to play video games for five hours while ignoring a paper that I had to write, then I was going to. But my 33-year-old self knows that scheduling my work and my free time makes both far more effective. I get more done at work and I’m able to more freely enjoy my free time.
Mismanaging our time might not be sinful, but not having time to rest and observe Sabbath is. I’m not a naturally regimented person, which is why I have to put so much effort into scheduling my life. However we do it, though, we need to obey the fourth commandment. God created us for work and Sabbath; we need to participate in both.
What helps you make time for rest and Sabbath?