Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

Remember the Sabbath?

February 7, 2009

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.

Are You Losing Your Soul?

June 16, 2008

Goodbye, Nights and Weekends??  Most Americans believe the 9-to-5 workday no longer exists, according to a survey by Management Recruiter International.  Of the more than 3,500 executives polled, 61% said the traditional workday hours have disappeared.  Many people don’t even look forward to weekends because they no longer exist.  As more people gain more control over when and where they work, it seems neither the workday nor the workweek have a distinguishable beginning or end. 

This is another of those blessing/curse things.  We welcome the flexibility that technology allows but the breakneck speed many of you know in business is further blurring the line between work/home/family/leisure.

Already workers from the factory floor to the executive suite are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Many professionals like real estate agents have convinced themselves that to be competitive they must be available 24/7.  Many have cell phones, lap tops, and pagers within reach at all times.  I see people in church who are text-messaging and Twittering during the service.  I don’t really think they are absorbing the intended worship experience.

Watch this blurring of lines in your worklife.  The natural cycles of work and leisure and taking time for the weekly Sabbath will not disappear without leaving a devastating trail.  If you just exhale in your breathing, you will turn blue, pass out and die.  You must take time to inhale the clean, pure, wholesome air to continue living.  If you just work and never take time for leisure, you will pass out in some form:  there will be family, emotional or physical death.  The “company” may not create the boundaries; you will need to create your own.  Working on my own allows me to build in times of Sabbath rest during each day – not just once a week.  I often break to go for a walk – or take a nap if I’m feeling especially busy.  Yes, the busier I am the more likely I am to take breaks for the inhalation of physical and spiritual health and inspiration.

Don’t equate time with productivity or profitability.  The most successful people I know have plenty of leisure time – in addition to plenty of money.


“If you are losing your leisure, look out.  You may be losing your soul.” – Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) U.S.-born British essayist, biographer, critic

 “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mohandas Gandhi

“Only those who are able to relax can create, and then ideas reach the mind like lightning.” – Cicero