I am convinced human beings are not primarily designed for productivity—at least not in the way the world defines it. By my rough calculation, we only have about 50% of our lives available to “get stuff done.” We are not God’s work horses designed for efficient productivity.
Our identity and sense of worth need to be weaned from the unholy attachment to work. We are more than what we produce and until we build rhythms of dormancy and rest into our lives we will be forever lured into measuring our value and identity in what we do. Making a Sabbath plan gives us a generous number of hours on certain days which will be set apart for physical, spiritual, emotional and relational rejuvenation.
Building in one day of rest each week may look differently during different seasons of life. It is critical that we develop a consistent time each week with boundaries to allow ourselves a significant period of rest.
Like all good disciplines, this involves making hard choices, inviting accountability, and lots of practice. Draft a plan and invite someone close to you to hold you accountable. Look over the next 16 weeks and consider the various commitments and responsibilities you may have. Then mark out one day each week when you can keep Sabbath. Discuss with people close to you who may be affected and ask them to help you respect your commitment to rest on these days.
Questions to ask
As you prepare for Sabbath rest, use these questions to embrace those things that restore you in different ways. You can also download pdf below.
1. What are some activities that physically rejuvenate you?
- In comfortable outdoor weather?
- In inclement weather?
2. What places and under what conditions do you best nap?
3. What are activities that draw you closer to God or energize you spiritually?
4. What activities feed your emotional well-being?
5. Where are key points of stress in your life today? Are there ways to put temporary boundaries on them, or ways to set these stressors aside for a short period each week?
6. Are there social activities or something you do with a friend that tend to restore you?
When we are more thoughtful and committed to Sabbath rest, we are more able to weather the challenges of life and ministry in a beautiful but fallen world.
See Scott's full article, An Invitation to Spiritual Rest, on InterVarsity's Collegiate Ministries blog.