It’s crunch time. The renovation work on our home is almost complete, which is exciting but also means that now there’s a long list of things I need to finish to get our rooms back in order and everything up and running again.
It’s crunch time. Our adoption process is almost complete, which is very exciting but also means that there’s a long list of things we need to do to be ready to travel to China and bring our daughter home and then adjust to life with a new member of the family.
It’s crunch time. And I’m tired.
Whenever crunch time hits, sleep is the first thing to go. Therefore the book I’ve been reading lately, called The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, has been just a bit convicting. Or, actually…very convicting.
As I was reading it (while waiting in a long line at the Chinese Consulate, to submit our applications for travel visas to China), in between nodding off and then making sure my number hadn’t been called yet (because it’s crunch time, and I’m tired), here’s a quote that grabbed my sleepy attention:
The tricky thing about Sabbath, though, is it’s a form of rest unlike sleep. Sleep is so needed that, defied too long, our bodies inevitably, even violently, force the issue. Sleep eventually waylays all fugitives. It catches you and has its way with you.
Sabbath won’t do that. Resisted, it backs off. Spurned, it flees. It’s easy to skirt or defy Sabbath, to manufacture cheap substitutes in its place—and to do all that, initially, without noticeable damage, and sometimes, briefly, with admirable results. It’s easy, in other words, to spend most of your life breaking Sabbath and never figure out that this is part of the reason your work’s unsatisfying, your friendships patchy, your leisure threadbare, your vacations exhausting.
We simply haven’t taken time. We’ve not been still long enough, often enough, to know ourselves, our friends, our family. Our God. Indeed, the worst hallucination busyness conjures is the conviction that I am God. All depends on me. How will the right things happen at the right time if I’m not pushing and pulling and watching and worrying?
Sabbath-keeping requires two orientations. One is Godward. The other is timeward. To keep Sabbath well—as both a day and an attitude—we have to think clearly about God and freshly about time. We likely, at some level, need to change our minds about both. Unless we trust God’s sovereignty, we won’t dare risk Sabbath. And unless we receive time as abundance and gift, not as ration and burden, we’ll never develop a capacity to savor Sabbath.
Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God, © 2006 Thomas Nelson, pages 61-62.
Ouch! Is that how big I see myself? Is that how small my view of God is? Yes, there’s a place for pouring myself out in sacrifice and service for God or others (more on that in another blog entry), but even in those circumstances I have to stop at some point, and stopping at any time forces me to trust that God is the Sovereign Orchestrator of all (and I am not).
How much better it would be to build into my life a regular rhythm of stopping—not only at the point of sheer exhaustion or a collapse of health—but regularly (maybe even once a week…wouldn’t that be a novel idea!). And how much better that stopping and resting would be if it was not merely a legalistic Christian duty I must perform but instead was a joyful, restful acknowledgement of God’s bigness and goodness and graciousness.
Enough said. I’m going to take a nap… =)