I’m nearing a time in my life when I will be taking an extended break from work. I haven’t told anyone yet, including my employer, that I’m taking a sabbatical. I need one.
The plan: to set down the day-to-day pressures and challenges to simply focus on rest.
I’m not sure about you but I don’t know how to rest very well. My mind doesn’t stop. I think about work, projects, things that excite and frustrate, the difficult and the sometimes painful aspects of life.
My buddy, Carl, has taken a sabbatical or two in his day. Long ones – like 3 months! Sounds good. I have admired his life for years and his commitment to taking time to rest. He is a business guy, like me, who has found the value in taking extended time to focus on the essential matters.
Keeping a Sabbath rhythm is difficult in our culture. I’m not Jewish so I didn’t grow up hearing the Hebrew word Sabbath thrown around a lot. I did learn the 10 Commandments in Sunday school, the 4th being to Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. Huh?
I did not understand what that meant at all. I seem to recall it being leveraged by the teacher as her way of reminding us why little boys and girls should be in Sunday school every week.
Sabbath: It’s Sunday and it’s time to go to church. Right? Nope – not right. Sabbath is about something much deeper than that. It’s about weekly rest, intentionally observed – a full day of it.
Here’s the problem – I don’t really know how to fit it in most of the time. I struggle to take a whole frigg’n day off, let alone to take a whole day to rest, of all things!
I’ve not taken a Sabbath day – a literal day of rest, in a long time. I’ve had my share down-time days, where I sit my butt on the couch and watch the Seahawks or a movie, where I’ve read for hours, or even some much needed vacation time away, etc. Those are awesome! But I typically work right up to the last minute and rarely unwind – I’m just not working for the moment. That ends and then things kick things back into gear.
No – I’m talking about a true unplugged day where I don’t drown out the noise, I literally turn it off.
So boss, clients, co-workers, and family – if you’re reading this – I LOVE YOU – but I’m giving you my notice here and now. I’m going to take what may seem excessive time off but I’m gonna do it anyway – an extended time where I completely unplug. No cell phone – it will be off (if you need me, drive over to my house. I will be there or nearby on a walk). No calls, no texts, no FB messages. No computer screens – they will be off. No to-do lists being worked on or anything like that.
I’m doing my Sabbatical this Saturday. A whole day unplugged and away from everything. Pretty ballsy – I know – one whole day!
Here’s my planned routine: 6:00am coffee and reading – meditation and prayers of gratitude. After that, I have nothing planned.
In a world that seems to revolve around fast paced everything, with shopping season now in high gear and all the drowning droning of our culture, I know I need this.
Ironically I’m a little nervous –to actually KEEP the 4th of the 10 commandments instead of wiping it aside like my culture encourages. Pretty sure there’s a reason they’re not called the 10 Suggestions. And here, on that short list of 10 things…like don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t sleep with your neighbors wife, etc…Remember the Sabbath day.
So, here I go. Not just taking a day off from work. I’m actually setting it aside to rest, to be with family and to offer it in gratitude. Not a day off from things I feel pressure(d) to do – a day ON with a heart intentionally focused. I’ll let you know how it goes. *I know – perhaps this is conveniently easy on the week of Thanksgiving and all but I have start somewhere.
What do you have built into your week for REST? Would you like to join me in this Sabbath day idea?