A day of Sabbath is more than just a spiritual suggestion – it’s a necessity for balance and restoration.
A reader writes:
Hi, Dan. I feel like I am on the verge of a breakdown. I want to take a short leave of absence from my job to try to get things under control. How do I handle this without my employer thinking I am cuckoo? I just need a break. I am a wife, mother, work full-time, take care of an elderly parent, you name it. ~Signed, Very Overwhelmed in Georgia
Is it “cuckoo” to want a break from the typical worklife? In the “busyness” of modern life, I see people who have lost the rhythm between activity and rest. “I am so busy.” We say this as a badge of honor, as if our exhaustion were a trophy, and our ability to withstand 70 hour weeks a mark of real character. We convince ourselves that the busier we are, the more we are accomplishing and the more important we must be. But is this really so? Does more activity really mean more accomplishment? To be unavailable to friends and family, to miss the sunsets and the full moons, to blast through all our obligations without time for taking a deep breath – this has become the model of a successful life.
The Sabbath was designed as more than just a day to rush to church, cram into a restaurant, and then hurry home to get all those odd jobs completed before Monday. Hopefully it’s a day of rest for you. Embrace Sabbath days and times in your life. Wisdom, peace, creativity and contentment will grow in those times. Take a walk, give thanks for simple things, bless your children, take a bath with music and candles, turn off the telephone, pager, TV and computer – carve out those times for restoration and spiritual breathing.
University professors typically get every seventh year off – to think, write, travel and re-energize. Pastors should get the same. In Mosaic law, every seventh year, the land was to remain untilled to give it time to rebuild its resources.
Maybe your job loss or business failure is really an unexpected “sabbatical.”
And incidentally, in today’s times your company may welcome your request for a 1-2 month sabbatical. Rather than seeing you as “cuckoo” they may embrace the reprieve in paychecks and see you as a more valued employee.