Busy: 1. Being occupied or overly crowded with tasks. 2. Being full of activity.
Rest: 1. To cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
Sabbath: 1. A day of rest and worship and abstinence of work, observed by Christians.
“He said to them, “Here is what the LORD commanded…Tomorrow will be a day of rest. It will be a holy Sabbath day. It will be set apart for the LORD.” Exodus 16:23
Hands up who observes the Sabbath?
Hands up who even remembers that it is one of the Ten Commandments? (I had to look it up – it’s number 4!!)
I’m too busy to rest.
I’m too busy to take a whole day off each week to do nothing! Imagine?! A whole day, (24 hours), to spend in rest and prayer and worship! Are you serious?! I don’t have time for that! It sounds ideal. But reality check? I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon!
I noticed recently that whenever I am asked how I am, I usually answer by saying I’m “busy”. Not “good thanks” or “fine”, but “busy”.
I. am. busy.
Thanks though for asking.
Lately my answer “busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy” and “absolutely swamped”.
I know I’m too busy when I can’t remember the last time I took a day off and did something pleasurable. Or I did nothing at all. Guilt free.
I know I’m too busy when those people closest to me stop asking to spend time with me. Why? They can see I’m too busy and have no time left to give them. Ouch.
I know I’m too busy when I find myself multi-tasking every little thing. For example, when I find myself using eating dinner, ironing Tim’s shirts and talking on the phone at the same time, I’m too busy. Yep, it can be done – I’ve tried it. But it shouldn’t be this way.
I know I’m too busy when I’m consistently more tired when I wake up in the morning than I was when I went to bed. One of the signs of being overloaded is being too tired in the morning. This is a pretty good indication that I haven’t slept and rested well enough during the night. And this is a pretty good sign that I’ve got way too much on my mind.
I know I’m too busy when a new day doesn’t hold some level of excitement and anticipation.
I know I’m too busy when I can’t remember what it feels like to be “caught up” with myself.
Unfortunately, all of this (self-imposed) ‘busy-ness’ means I don’t rest and I’m always tired. As Lysa TerKeurst, author of “Unglued” writes: “…where there is a lack of rest, there is an abundance of stress. And where there is an abundance of stress, there is great potential to become unglued.”
“When the rhythm of your soul is survival instead of revival you will become unglued.” (Lysa TerKeurst)
I’ve learned the hard way that when I become too busy, I don’t rest, I get stressed and I reach a point where my life seems to tip sideways and I feel as though everything is about to fall apart under the weight of my ‘important’ commitments. And then I become unglued and out come the emotions, spewing out on the people I love the most, like raw sewerage.
The Bible makes it very clear that once a week I should hit the pause button on my life. And rest. And relax. And recover. And reflect. Once a week I should cease work in order to refresh myself and recover my strength.
It all sounds so easy but I know it’s not. Reading “Unglued”, as part of Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study has reminded me that in this area of my life I need to work on.
It’s time to stop answering everyone with “I’m too busy” and do something about it.
It’s time to stop being apologetic about taking time off and doing nothing.
It’s time to stop feeling guilty for wanting to change my pace, even for just one day.
It’s time to stop thinking about what other people might think about me taking time off.
It’s time to stop feeling embarrassed that others might think I’m being unproductive with my time if I sit and do nothing for a whole day.
Resting and observing the Sabbath isn’t just a practical decision for me to make, it’s a spiritual mandate. Therefore I must stop believing that lie that I’m too busy to rest and find the time, once a week, (every week) to allow my soul to exhale.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their work, just as God did from His. For the person who has entered God’s rest has also ceased from the weariness and pain of human labors. Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves, striving diligently and making every effort to enter that rest and to know and experience it for ourselves. And let us enjoy that rest.” (Hebrews 4:9-11)
I know this will be a challenge for me but, like Lysa TerKeurst, I am determined to make Sabbath one of the most crucial parts of my imperfect progress.