Growing up I slept like a champion. I went to bed at a reasonable hour and I woke up in time to get ready for school. My freshman college roommate was a night owl though and she taught me the wonders of staying up late. So ever since then I’ve been a night owl who has to get up early to get stuff done. And for a while it worked. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve progressively gotten less and and less sleep until finally 4-5 hours a night is about all I’m gonna get and it doesn’t matter how late I stay up I’m awake by 9am (which I realize is late for most people but it’s really not if you stay up till 4 or 5). It’s not like I’m doing anything all that important. Usually I’m cleaning (I loooove to clean late at night!) or working on something online or writing curriculum or doing my nails or whatever. Mostly I just don’t get any rest. Even on the weekends there are always a million things that I need or want to do so I’m rarely home.
And that has been an absolute blessing for my job since, as a youth director, there are a lot of strange hours, late night texting or messaging with students who just need to talk, and weekends away. The summer is especially crazy. I can easily clock 80-90 hours a week when I’m in the office and when we have trips…well that is a 24/7 kind of thing. And not needing a lot of sleep is great on those kinds of trips because you aren’t going to be able to get a lot of sleep anyway. So I’ve always just kind of shrugged off my lack of rest as a blessing so that I could get more done and not really worried about it.
But this past Friday morning I slept till 11:32am. And no, I didn’t stay up late. I was asleep by 12:30am. Which means I got 11 hours of sleep. I honestly can’t remember the last time I slept that long. And it’s not like my house is super conducive to sleeping. There are 3 dogs who will bark.at.anything. and my bedroom door is right by the back door so they are in and out all the time. But I didn’t hear anything Friday morning. I just slept. And I realized…I have been tired a long time.
It’s so easy to get so busy that we forget how important it is to just rest. To take a day to get some sleep, read a book, accomplish nothing in particular. It feels so wasteful when there is always so much to do. There’s always laundry, or cleaning, or errands. There’s always more emails to answer, more projects to finish, or more events to plan. There’s always something to do with the kids or a date night or a night out with friends. There’s always a whirl of activity and a constant timer going off in our heads asking “What’s next?”.
On the sixth day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation.
~Genesis 2: 2-3
I work on Sunday. It’s never going to be my day of rest when I work for a church. But that’s not an excuse for not finding time to rest. I’ve got a lot to do and a lot of responsibilities and a lot of people counting on me. But that’s not an excuse for not finding time to celebrate what’s already been accomplished. I get energized from spending time with people. But that’s not an excuse for not finding time to be alone with God.
This morning I got up, did a load of laundry, watered the yard, swept the floor, and made muffins for the week all before coming to church for a day of worship and youth. I’ll have lots of things to get done this week and they will be good and important things. But none of them is more important than remembering to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20:8). And I have a feeling that the more I remember to rest the more I’ll get done in the week. I wasn’t made for work. I was made for worship. And I bet that if I keep that straight I’ll find that the work of my hands goes farther than I thought it could or would. And maybe not everything will get done. But I will have made sure that I’ve done all the important things first if I take time for a Sabbath first. I will have honored God with my time more than if I had spent the whole day completing tasks.
You are more valuable than the work you do and the to-do lists you finish. Take a Sabbath to remind yourself of that important fact each week. May you find that your life is more blessed because of the things that you choose to do and not to do.
Have a great Sabbath, everyone!