In my last post I wrote about getting well – and asking you to think about how you may be challenged to get well. I was challenged to answer that for myself.
Have you ever heard the saying, “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”? I think it is true. I love what I do, but sometimes I love it too much. Jesus said that his food is to do God’s will (John 4:34). However, I was not feasting on the proper things. My diet had become unwholesome and unsatisfying and I so was prone to overeating – workaholism. I was seeking satisfaction from my work and not from the Father.
Classic addiction. Classic slavery.
I consider myself pretty well disciplined, but that discipline can get derailed and unbalanced. It takes energy to work on your inner life, but I was too tired to listen, or obey. “Drivenness erodes purposefulness.” (Buchanan)
Last month I had an unexpected opportunity to jump start the process of getting well over a long weekend on the beach. To hell with the budget – I needed to do this. God was giving me more space to get well and I recognized it. I played and read and wrote in my journal… and spent a lot of time just staring at the sea – just what the Great Physician ordered.
I have been “religiously” taking a Sabbath since residency. It felt good to be given permission to take time off – I loved and I rested in this command. But over the years I’ve been living it rather one-sided. Regarding my Sabbath, I try to ask, “what will nourish me today?” What do I need to be whole?
What I’ve recently discovered is that there are two parts to Sabbath: one part spent for re-creation/leisure, and the other part for growing deeper. I barely had energy for the former, and was largely neglecting the latter.
There is nothing wrong with brain candy movies or softball, or whatever other kinds of play you fancy on the Sabbath. Play is definitely part of “delighting in the Lord”. But that was all I had energy for. I wasn’t fed well enough through the week, and by the time my day off came around, I had no energy for deeper reading or reflection or for growing. My inner life had grown stagnant – stunted growth on poor nutrition of an unwholesome diet.
I’m learning a new rhythm of Sabbath now. Buchanan says that “Sabbath helps reorient us to our work.” And so I’m learning to re-orient my week towards letting God establish the work of my hands and getting more out of the “Lord’s Day” rather than orienting my week around my work and the Sabbath around “my day”.
How have you been been challenged to get well? How have you responded? Has it been difficult?
Mark Buchanan. The Rest of God – Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2006. ISBN: 978-0-8499-1870-4