Many Christians appeal to the Ten Commandments as the ultimate example of God’s moral desires for us. And yet we (I say “we” because I’m guilty too!) quickly dismiss that one about taking a day off! So really, many of us point to the Nine Commandments as the ultimate example of God’s moral desires for us and we don’t even bat an eye at our casual dismissal of the Sabbath. For some time now God has been prompting me to reconsider whether I know better than He does and whether skipping the Sabbath is wiser than deliberately entering into a day of rest.
Long story short, I’ve had an exhausting semester thus far and I haven’t taken a full day of rest since it started. Last week was particularly exhausting because I was busy all day Tuesday; granted I went to the David Crowder* Band concert and it was amazing. But it essentially took up an entire day and left me tired and dehydrated Wednesday. I had trouble concentrating but did as much homework as I could that Wednesday. Then I woke up Thursday and did homework almost all day. Then came Friday where I had class from 8–12, then had Air Force commitments Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday. I stayed up until around midnight translating Greek on Friday. Sunday, I did a bunch of homework until I felt like I couldn’t think anymore, then had another cup of coffee and went at it for a few more hours.
Then came Monday! I woke up early to go for a run and hopefully clear my head. I did a little more review, and then I had class from 10:30 A.M. to 3 P.M. and from 6 P.M. until 10 P.M. And oh, by the way, I realized that I had forgotten to do my mid-term for my second class so I spent my 2.5 hour break playing catch-up!
I woke up yesterday morning utterly discouraged and feeling like I was completely out of gas. I honestly didn’t even want to get out of bed. I had two voices in my head: one told me to suck it up an get to work and the other kept whispering that I needed rest. The truth is, I hadn’t taken a day off in so long because I didn’t trust God. I didn’t trust God to come through for me and give me rest or energy. I didn’t trust God to come through so I refused to take a day off. After months of listening to the first voice, I decided to see if it was just possible that God might have an idea of what He’s talking about concerning the Sabbath. I rested! I watched a movie. I hung out with my dog. I spent time alone. And perhaps most importantly, I refused to feel guilty for resting and instead chose to trust that God would give me refreshment from the past weeks and energy for the coming week. It was great!
Today, I woke up and I felt recharged. I feel ready to attack my homework for the rest of the week. I feel like I wasn’t working as effectively as I could have last week because I hadn’t rested at all. It was like trying to run a race without sleeping the night before. You might be able to finish the race, but you won’t finish well. I’ve decided that I want to take God’s instructions about rest more seriously. I want to feel rested, refreshed, and energized and I want to give Him the glory for giving me strength.
Do you take a day of rest? When was the last time you felt refreshed? I encourage you to carve out a day where you rest. Take a day to allow God to refresh you. Take the day in faith, trusting that God will give you energy for the rest of the week. You will never regret the times that you honor God.