Take a Break.
August 13, 2020
From Steve Watson: This wasn’t the summer any of us wanted. And the fall, well, we’re just starting to figure out what that’s going to look like, and it’s got its ups and downs ahead to be sure. Can I encourage you to try one thing in the next month, if you haven’t had the opportunity to this summer?
Take a break. Take a moment of restorative rest, what the Bible calls sabbath rest. And then ask yourself – or your partner if you have one – how you can keep doing this?
Sabbath is a Hebrew word that means rest. In Judaism, it’s a weekly opportunity to stop our work and make space for rest, worship, and renewal. Sabbath is one of the ten commandments, which tells us that rest is central to a good life, to a life that honors God. In one of the ten commandments lists, we’re told to rest because we were meant to. When we break our rhythms of endless work and activity, we restore the order of creation. We rediscover something about life as it was meant to be. In the other records of the ten commandments, we’re told to rest as a reminder that we are free – that we’re never to submit ourselves to bondage, even bondage to our personal work or our busy-ness, even bondage to the collective, systemic burdens of an over-busy world and an over-driven economy.
Our staff team at Reservoir is taking the week of August 24-30, Monday through Sunday, as a sabbath week. It’s been a hard year, and I gave the team the week off for whatever would most bring people rest and renewal. I’ll spend more time with my family, more time outside, and linger longer over morning prayers and reading. As a team, we won’t be having meetings. We (probably) won’t be checking our email. We’ll be less available to you, and we’ll be pre-recording the August 30th Sunday service and dropping it on Youtube for us all. The teachings will be on how we find sabbath rest.
If you’re able to do such a thing yourself, if you have unused vacation time you can take in the next month or so, can I strongly encourage you to do so? We don’t need to travel to enjoy sabbath rest. And if you don’t get vacation time, if your life as a working parent or a single parent or an hourly worker or a graduate student seems to afford little opportunity for rest, can I encourage you to get creative?
Some ideas that friends of mine or I have tried that have brought us some measure of rest, freedom, and restoration, and that are possible even under current circumstances:
- A day where our phone and computers stay off, all day.
- Some extra time outdoors.
- A walk with a friend, even if that walk requires social distancing.
- If you have kids at home and have a spouse or partner, giving each other a day off(or even half a day off!) from any chores or childcare.
- A long, leisurely bike ride, or a visit to a green space you’ve never gone to.
- Carving out a quiet hour or two to try a new spiritual practice. (We keep loads of these on our website – here’s one spot.
Hard years require deep souls.
Hard times require rested, renewed people.
If you’re worn down, please ask where you can find more sabbath in your life. And if you’re stuck and feel this is mysterious or impossible, let me know. I’d love to brainstorm with you!
Meanwhile, much love and peace and courage be yours today.