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Our Restless Lives

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If Jesus walked the earth today, I have to think he'd have different words about the Sabbath—and about what we've allowed our lives to become. God has commanded us to rest—to build regular and intentional rest into our life. Not only do we refuse to do it, we're unlearning the skill. We do the opposite of rest: we maintain continuous activity. The daily life of the modern women is becoming an Ode to the Restless Life.

It's a radical thing, the fourth commandment. Taking one in seven days to unplug from the buzz and noise, to not work? Can God really want me to spend a full 15 percent of my week away from my to-do lists?

Radical and also wildly inconvenient, it takes a lot of planning and forethought to have a day without cooking, laundry, or business work. It frankly feels like a real nuisance and, ironically, a poor use of my time.

This attitude doesn't surprise God, though. That's why he uses the phrase "deny yourself" in relation to the Sabbath. God knows that discipline is tied to refreshment. Rest will not simply happen to us; we must actively build it into our lives.

And God, who is the author of time, also knows how it works. He knows that time will rule us if we don't handle it His way. He knows that endless multi-tasking erodes our spirits and renders us spiritually weak. God knows the enemy uses modern time-saving devices as weapons against us, to wage slow war on our souls. He knows that if we prevail in training ourselves in perpetual distraction, we will lose ability not only to rest in him, but to hear from him.

That's why the most radical thing I can do this weekend—and the most obedient—is nothing (productive). For a whole day. I can keep the day "holy unto the Lord." With practice, maybe I can even become, through God's grace, one of the few women out there who doesn't, in the editor's words, "live life in a terrific hurry." Perhaps the legacy of this kind of life would honor God more than anything else I could ever do with my time.

May19, 2010 at 1:14 PM

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