Again with the confession time; I’m not good at taking a Sabbath. And I suspect I’m not the only tech guy in that boat. Taking a day off and not doing anything can be really tough for people like us. We’re used to running full tilt boogie all the time and cranking through an extraordinarily high workload. We’re really just not wired to take a day off, sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Mainly because most of the time, we’re putting on the show. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
And that’s where it can get sticky. Because the truth is, we need to take time off to recharge. But we often don’t. Personally, I have a hard time with a day that doesn’t end with more things checked off my list. I am a doer, and I like to do.
But we need time to be. Just be. Some time to relax, recharge and enjoy the world God created for us. A few hours when we don’t have to accomplish anything. A day to reflect on what God is doing in our lives, or just be still and let Him be God while we watch the world go by.
I don’t know about you, but I feel a sense of guilt when I take a day like that. I feel like I should be getting something done. Even if it’s not work related, I always have things to do; balancing the checkbook and paying bills, writing, cleaning up around the house or yard, keeping the cars maintained, writing proposals or doing system designs, the list goes on.
I used to think that if I worked on my writing or consulting business on my days off from church, that was like taking a day off. Except it’s not. It’s still work. And the longer I do this, the more I’m realizing that I simply cannot work all the time. We were not meant to work all the time.
God created the Sabbath for us, not the other way around. We are meant to be able to step off the treadmill once a week, and trust that life will in fact go on even if we’re not working to make it so. I think being a TD at a church sets us up for the idea that we can never take a day off. We get so used to having to be at church all the time to keep the train on the rails, that we think if we take a day off, the universe will come unglued.
Can I let you in on a secret? It won’t. God has this, really He does. I know this to be true because I actually took a real Sabbath this week. I spent the whole day of Monday not really accomplishing anything productive.
That’s not entirely true, I did make one phone call and return two e-mails for work. But it took less than 10 minutes. The rest of the day was, well, rest. I watched two movies, and sat in my zero-gravity chair in the backyard and took a nap. For two hours.
And the earth was still spinning when I woke up. Go figure.
See, I’m learning when I really do need to take a Sabbath. I know I should take one every week, but sometimes that’s just plain hard. But when I find myself getting irritated at routine requests at work, or aggravated at my wife or kids for asking me questions when I’m trying to get things done, or ready to quit my job and ride a motorcycle across Canada (movie reference; One Week, I recommend it), I know it’s time for a day off.
I want to be the TD of Coast Hills for quite a few years. And the only way that’s going to happen is if I take care of myself and avoid burnout. And the only way that’s going to happen is if I take a regular day off.
As in, "no work, no e-mail, no phone calls, no texts" off.
A day to just be instead of do.
Time to allow God to heal my spirit and revive my soul.
Then I can get back to it with more energy and excitement, feeling far more productive. I’m learning to feel less guilty about taking a day off. After all, God Himself took a day off; so I think we're allowed.
How often do you take a real day off?