For God’s sake (and Yours) Stop!

As the sun sinks below the pines, I sit under the wash of my back porch’s ceiling fan. Every billow brings with it a sense of satisfaction. It’s Sunday evening and a scratched-through to-do-list reminds me of the day’s accomplishments. Sunday School. Morning Worship. Counseling. Meetings. All done. A few things left undone, but I’ve shifted them to Tuesday’s list. But for now, I rest in the fact my sabbath has come.

A few months ago, I decided Monday would be my sabbath. I placed it at the beginning of the week, because of my tendency to overwork. Any later, and tasks would spill over and keep me from resting. Since then, I’ve noticed I’m happier and healthier.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”

Exodus 20:8

God tells us, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo 20:8). They have waged debates on the actual day of sabbath. Is it Saturday or Sunday? I’m not here to settle any argument. However, I am advocating for a six to one ratio for work and rest. You were not made to work all the time. You need rest.

For years, I worked seven days a week and I justified it by telling myself I was doing the Lord’s work. However, even the Lord backed away from his labor to set the example for us to follow.  We need a weekly rhythm of rest, so we can reset our physical and spiritual batteries. If not, we will grow weary, and not enjoy life.

We need a weekly rhythm of rest, so we can reset our physical and spiritual batteries.

Are you irritable? One evening during a busy season, I was whining to my wife, “I’m tired of people. I’m tired of church. I’m tired of meetings. I’m tired…” It hit me that in all the statements, my mouth was revealing what my heart already knew. I was tired. In that moment, I realized I was experiencing burnout. I knew I needed rest, but I didn’t know how to get it. By overcommitting, my schedule had bloated to an unimaginable load. It was time for drastic measures. I had to stop.

Stopping is easier said than done. How do you stop when other people expect you to always go? It takes determination, tough conversations, and ruthless evaluations of time and commitments, but it can be done. You can stop. It’s time to stop. Stop and you can live a better life. Trust me. No, better yet, trust God. Isn’t that the real reason you keep pressing? It will all fall apart if you stop, right? No, it won’t. You and I are not that important. The truth is when we refuse to rest, it’s because we don’t trust God.

You can stop. It’s time to stop. Stop and you can live a better life.

Anne Lamott commented on this important truth. She wrote, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Unplugging from your work will revolutionize your life. It did mine. Of course, there are hectic days still filled with activity, but by taking time to reset gives me the strength to accomplish God’s will for any day.

You can stop. It’s time to stop. Stop and you can live a better life.