Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Sabbath Rest – From Work and the Computer… - Hall

A couple of months ago when I was in the middle of a strenuous and difficult editing deadline my husband came up to me and said, “You’re working too hard. You need a Sabbath rest.”

My first reaction was no, I can’t. I have deadlines. I have work to do. My particular job of ‘novel author’ requires me to work seven days a week. I’ve done it for years. It’s the only way I’m going to get enough novels written. It’s not uncommon for me to work all week, then do more work on Saturdays, and then Sunday after church coming home, firing up the computer and getting in three or four hours of work before evening.

When my husband told me this, it stirred something inside of me. I knew he was right. Even God rested on the seventh day. He allowed himself the entire day to stand back, look around himself, wander through his creation and say, “It is good.” I, however, had been working so hard I had no time to enjoy the creating I had done.

I made the excuse, though, that I wrote my novels during the week and then on the weekend I did my other work. I teach a writing correspondence course, plus every other day it seems, I’m asked to be interviewed for this or that person’s blog, or book blog tour, plus write this or that little endorsement for this or that book or organization. And then there’s blogging, answering reader emails, and all the stuff that requires my panicky right-now attention. These were the kinds of things I did on the weekends. And because it was different work, I figured it was okay, because ‘A change is as good as a rest’, right?

But I was only fooling myself. I wasn't really resting. There was no day of the week when I allowed myself to take a walk in the woods and say, “This is good.” So, my husband and I tried a rather bold experiment together. Following the Old Testament dictates, we decided to turn our computers off after supper Saturday and not turn them on until either Monday morning, or Sunday night (sundown to sundown).

At first it was quite odd not to rush to my computer as soon I got home from church, but then it grew to be very freeing. I no longer had to feel guilty if I spent the afternoon on the couch reading that mystery novel. I could go for a walk with my husband and not worry about hurrying back to grade papers.

I also discovered something else. On Monday morning I came to my work refreshed and able to tackle it with renewed vision and vigor. I made my deadline.

Because I have done weight training, I know that the surest way to serious injury would be for me to keep weight training day after day after day with no rest days in between. I am careful about this. Yet, I wasn't careful about this in terms of my mental health.

I have also discovered somehting else - I actually look forward to my "Sabbath". When Friday gets too busy and I feel like I'm drowning in all the work, there is this glimmer of a thought now that comes to me, “Only two more days and I get to do nothing.”


Linda Wegner said...

Great blog, Linda. I am frequently reminded of the need to do the same thing - and sometimes I do, for a couple of weeks - and then revert to working 7 days a week. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.

Dorene Meyer said...

Hi Linda,
Yes, thanks for the reminder!
I showed my husband and he said, "See!"
(Yes, dear.)
I guess we can all be thankful for husbands who remind us that we need to occasionally rest - that the Lord did not mean for us to work 7 days a week - 14 hours a day!

Marci said...

Good thoughts, Linda. Makes me think I need to read Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God again. Oh how quickly we forget our best intentions! :)Marcia

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