I like being busy, I like working sixteen hours days, because, despite my persistent protestations; I am a workaholic. Yet recently I have been challenged, nagged, threatened, encouraged to rest more. Because despite my desire to keep busy all the time, I know that it isn't really good for me. I can work myself into the ground with ease, but rest? Resting for me feels like harder work than rest.
It's been exam time at LST, everyone has been stressed and pushed up against and far beyond their limits. For third years, it's been the last push towards a degree they have been working towards for three years. For second years it's that mid-period lag, the time when you most want to give up because you're already exhausted and yet you know you still have a long way to go. For us first years, it's looking back at a whirlwind of a year, wondering how we did it and looking forward to a long summer to recover and return for the serious work!
When trying to argue with a friend that a Sabbath was not needed, my points were, quite frankly, feeble. I think I said something along the line of
"There was that one time when Jesus tried to rest and got followed" and
"The slaves didn't rest in Egypt" - my responses were greeted with incredibly derisive replies.
My excuse: "I'm tired!"
Unsurprisingly, they weren't convinced by my argument!
The thing that really got me, apart from my incredibly strange theology, was when I was reminded that God wants the best for us. Resting enables us to be the best we can be. God wants His children to be the best they can be.
So, I took 26 hours off. I didn't quite know what to do with myself, but I did it. Then I threw myself back into everything with even more work than I had put in before!
Now, exams over, I write this in bed because I have a chest infection which has made me miserable. It has also made me rest - in every sense of the word. I have leant on God's almighty strength because I have had none of my own.
I sometimes wonder why on earth I wait until I have nothing left to lean on God.
Stubbornness? Pride? Perfectionism?
Whatever it is, I think that God commanding us (and He does - it's in the 10 Commandments and everything!) is a way to remind us that He is Holy and the Sabbath is to be His day. The day when everything else fades away. The Sabbath is also about our well being. It is a sign of the love God has for us. God doesn't want burnt out, wrung out and strung out followers.
This is about us having the life God planned for us. It's not the legalistic 'Sabbath' that means you can't pick up a sock, it's about setting aside time for God, for honouring Him and the body and mind he gave us.
So, when was the last time you had a Sabbath...?