A B2THEWORLD, we’ve been talking a lot about restoration. That’s because it’s why we are here - to participate in God’s restorative kingdom-building through education. Yet, like with countless other people and teams working to bring things like peace, hope, restoration, and fullness of life to others, we can find ourselves depleted, worn out, dried up, and broken by the very doing of this work. Exhaustion sets in. Good habits get excused. Moods get grumpier. Weekends seem too far away and too short. And we know that this isn’t right. We know that all of these things point us to our own need for personal restoration.
I am a teacher and on several accounts, my boss and good friend, Kerry, tells me that it’s possible to be a good teacher and not work overtime, but I still feel skeptical. I’ve adjusted my patterns and habits to make more space in my evenings, but to do this, I’ve poured a lot of work time into my weekends. For better and for worse.
In my heart and mind, I sense and know that there is an answer to this perpetual cycle of work and exhaustion. God spelled it out pretty clearly for us in the fourth commandment: Sabbath. He designed us for a periodic break from our work. After decades of Christianity, it’s easy to believe the lie that this is just another rule, and it’s harder to believe the truth that it’s a principle of God’s mercy that he designed us this way and instructed us to walk in it.
I’m married to a man who has believed this truth in ways that overflow into his daily, weekly, and yearly life. He prioritizes quiet time to start his day. He takes a day a week to not work. He “turns it off” during vacation. And when things get too hurried and too busy, he makes additional accommodations to build extra rest into his life. He’s married to a woman who struggles to do any of this. That said, I’ve tried to listen to and implement many practical ideas regarding Sabbath, and what I keep returning to is the difficult and unavoidable realization that my heart is bent toward both work and laziness.
I love to work. My job is fulfilling on multiple levels, and I love giving my time to it. Also, my job is tedious and taxing on a couple of levels, and I love avoiding those things. Don’t tell anyone, but I still play Candy Crush, and defeating level 3726 offers an inescapable pull away from grading.
Sabbath - the kind of rest that restores - is an intentional turning away (for a time) from both work and laziness, the places where I seek pleasure and escape. I’ve yet to find my rhythm for fully engaging in God’s rest, but I trust that God is waiting patiently and nudging gently (sometimes through my well-rested husband) that it’s worth it to keep seeking God there.