Guys and gals … we’ve done it. We’ve made it to the part of the series where we finally get to learn some ways we can start to pay back our energy debt.
If you missed any of the prior posts in this series (or if you just want a refresher) here are the links you need. Go back and read them all!
Each week over the next three weeks we’ll be exploring one way that we can start to rest for the work we’re going to do instead of from the work we’ve already done.
I’m so excited that we finally made it here! Let’s dive in.
The first and most practical way for us to start paying back our energy debt is simple: actually take one day off every week.
This may sound simple or like you waited all this time and this is the answer I give you. Stay with me here.
We’ve covered it before but I’m going to say it again: we don’t know how to rest. We just don’t. So in order to get this right, to even start to know how to rest, it’s imperative that we start here.
A few weeks ago we talked about how God modeled the idea of a “sabbath” every seventh day. The creation story tells us that God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3) and in Exodus 20:8-11 he even made rest one of the Ten Commandments:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Heading to the New Testament, Jesus talks about the Sabbath as well. We find the following in Mark 2:27:
“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’”
While we weren’t made for it (it’s not our purpose), the Sabbath - meaning “to rest” in Hebrew - was made for us because God knew we would need it.
We Have to Stop
If we are ever going to get to a place where burnout doesn’t occur and where it is possible to even start thinking about creating an energy surplus then we have to start here.
We literally have to stop for one day every week.
Just like we have to (or should!) sleep for 8 hours out of every 24, we should be taking 1 day out of every 7 for rest. This day should, as much as possible, be devoted to you doing things that bring you life. No agendas, no obligations, just whatever it is that you find restful.
If you work a regular day job, typically you only work 5 days a week. That leaves 2 days off every week. Pick one and make it your rest day. Schedule this day on your calendar for the whole year. Cross off every one of them with a big “X” or mark it as “Sabbath.” You are more likely to not schedule anything on that day going forward if it already exists on your calendar. One thing I can guarantee you is that if you don’t schedule it, you won’t keep to it and things will creep into that time.
Now, this might mean that you need to move some obligations around or cancel them completely. You may get offers to do things that you really want to do that you’ll have to say “no” to. You’re going to feel like you’re missing out. That’s perfectly natural.
Remember from last week, the first rule of resting was that you can’t schedule anything in advance, not that you couldn’t do anything at all. You just never know how tired you might be until you have the opportunity to rest.
If you say “yes” to something on your scheduled rest day two weeks in advance and then you get to your rest day and you’re exhausted, you’re now in a position where you have to go through with whatever you said “yes” to (because I know you’re a person of your word), regardless of whether that’s the best thing for you and your health.
By waiting until the day of your rest to make decisions about what you’re going to do you’ve put yourself in a position to do things that will provide rest and create energy for you, not suck the energy from you. Ultimately, your health is more important than anything you thought you needed or wanted to do.
We’ve Gotta Start Somewhere
Better rest and more energy. The two go hand-in-hand. Over time, if we stay intentional and consistent in our pursuit of a Sabbath rest we will find ourselves in the place where we have both. We will also be nicer, kinder, and generally better people because we aren’t so tired all the time.
If you’ve never done this before or are in a season where you find yourself not doing this well, this is your first step. It will do you no good to attempt anything else if this one isn’t in place first. I think you’ll find that even just this one small step will create a dramatic improvement in how you feel.
Come back next week as we explore the second way you can start paying pack that energy debt.
P.S. I ran across this blog post today and wanted to share it. John Eldredge is probably my favorite author and in this post he’s talking about Sabbath. What great timing!