Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Case for Sabbaths

I was on vacation with a group of friends who have had the best adventures together since we were fifteen years old. Let's just say there are few inhibitions among us. At some point during the evening, I fell asleep. I do remember finding it impossible to stay awake. For the rest, I had to rely on their confessions and my sore muscles. Apparently the night was still young and I had made a mumbled promise to rejoin the fun after "sleeping half an hour". They, being the great friends they are, decided to take me at my word when a much longer time had passed and I remained comatose. I'm told they pulled me out of the bed, and I hit the floor without stirring. Or reacting to their varied and imaginative waking techniques. (I am just grateful no one filmed it. They still laugh too hard at the memory to tell me everything that transpired.) Um. Yeah. That probably isn't normal. Neither the unresponsive state or my friends. (Hey, guys. You know I love you.)

I have this problem. I confuse physical and emotional energy. If I would enjoy doing something, I say "of COURSE I'll do it!" and assume I'll have time and physical energy. And I enjoy a great many things and adore doing things for people and have far too many interests. So I throw myself at them all simultaneously. And I knock myself out sometimes. Literally.

Partly through sheer necessity and partly through other people's examples and encouragement, I think I might be starting to learn a few things.

We human creatures, fearfully and wonderfully made though we are, are not invincible.

We need rest. Hard work gives us the honorable pride of working with God in ordering and blessing His world. But we aren't valued according to our output. We aren't machines. Work is an invitation to dignity and fulfillment, not a struggle for worth and value.

Knowing your limitations and saying "no" or asking for help is a sign of maturity. That's what my friend Carla said. I think it's also a sign of humility. Because admitting I have limitations is brutally hard on my pride. (I am a Yoder. I pretend I'm invincible. It's what we do.) 

It is possible to say "no". Hard. But possible. I was talking to my dad about all this and concluded, "I think I need to learn how to say 'no'." His immediate reply? "It starts with a 'n' sound, and then a long 'ooooooh'." Yes. Noted. And I thought of this explication the following day and actually utilized it. 

Interdependence fosters community. When I rush around, trying to do everything myself, insisting on procuring my own resources, I deprive myself of precious connection with other people. 

God integrated times of Sabbath from the dawn of the world because He knows us and wants us to thrive. Because I work the majority of weekends, I have a tendency to forget to fully rest. I'm fortunate to still be able to attend church most Sundays, even if I work, which is refreshing and invigorating... but when my days off roll around, it's the middle of the week and I'm in get-stuff-done mode... and after a while I start to feel depleted and realize I haven't taken a whole day of Sabbath for a long time. I've been grabbing snatches of solitude by eating a meal on a tree stump between projects and talking to God while I'm driving and reading Scripture while I'm at work while I drink my coffee in the wee quiet moments before I wake my girls. All of that is meaningful and adds life and magic to the day, but never taking an entire day to relax and just be with God makes me start to feel (to quote the venerable Bilbo Baggins) "Thin... sort of... stretched. Like butter, scraped over too much bread." 

I need to change, and I think I've made a start.

Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to wake and defend myself against my friends. 


ry said...

Because admitting I have limitations is brutally hard on my pride. (I am a Yoder. I pretend I'm invincible. It's what we do.)

hey now :) oops:( say it ain't so!!

Becca said...

Heehee! I wish I could. But I'm thinking you're familiar with this family trait. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm reading this at the end of a busy Saturday, feeling like I probably should be prepping for Sunday lunch instead of sitting down. Being a mom has slowed me down so much. "What I feared has come upon me" and it's not as bad as I thought it would be. You're right that when I humbly admit I need help and invite someone to do that, I gain friendship I couldn't have had otherwise. An involuntary sigh comes because even though this is true, it still isn't easy to ask for help. - Carla