Today’s post is titled, The Sabbath: My Story as a follow up from yesterday’s post, The Sabbath: God’s Story. I am sharing with you my personal story of the amazing change in my life when I started to maintain a Sabbath day off once a week.
Back in 2008 I was working hard. In fact, I was working extremely hard. Everyday I worked a solid eight hours at United Way of Stanislaus County, then I would work two or three hours on A Day of Hope, then I would start the day over again. In addition to the weekdays of maintaining that schedule, twice a month on a Saturday I would lead a fundraiser car wash for A Day of Hope. The car wash consisted of staying up until about 9pm or 10pm on Friday night gathering all the supplies in preparation for the next day.
For A Day of Hope, our car washes were not the normal two hour long High School Cheerleader car washes where the kids start and a couple hours later they are done. Our car washes were from 9am until 7pm, a total of 10 hours of work on a Saturday. This meant 10 hours of working in the hot California heat in addition to driving around picking up and dropping off volunteers.
My Sundays would then be filled with all the other normal duties that needed to be done for a nonprofit program such as A Day of Hope. Those duties included sending out donation request letters, thanking volunteers, updating our website, running social media, etc.
(With all this work, no wonder I wrote a book and passed off the work to someone else, right!?)
Oh, and did I mention that I also coordinated the Chick-fil-A Leadercast at our local church every spring. This meant the same amount of work as the car washes, just for one-time in the Spring instead of twice a month for the entire summer.
With this crazy work schedule, I was getting burnt out. My body was falling apart and I was mentally exhausted. I realized I had to change when I received news that I had tendinitis in my arm as a result of simply working too much and not allowing my body to get enough sleep.
As a result, I started to take one day off per week. On this day off, I did no work on a computer, no writing, and no talking on the phone about work. The only thing I would do is sleep in, attend church, watch movies, and maybe read a book or my Bible. I did not realize it at the time, but I was beginning to take a personal Sabbath day every week as the Bible instructs.
The results I received were amazing. The biggest difference was that the pain in my arm which had become worse and worse went away. I also noticed that I was more refreshed and mentally sharp both at work and at home.
It has been about four years since I started maintaining a Sabbath day and I still practice it even now. Some weeks I “cheat” a little because of family or work commitments, but most of the time I enjoy a Sabbath day off.
With some reflection, I now see three main benefits to taking a Sabbath day:
- A Sabbath day allows me to work harder: Taking one day off per week to rest is a reset button. After a day of rest I feel refreshed, revived, and ready to work again. With that refreshed body and mind, I am actually able to work hard and do better work by offering my best self to my work.
- A Sabbath day gives me a mental break: As I get older I am noticing that more of my work requires my mental energy and less of my physical strength. A day of rest helps my brain relax so that when I return to work, there is some room in my brain. I have actually found that a day of rest helps me get good ideas and new ideas that I might not have ever had if I was simply working all the time.
- A Sabbath day allows me to work harder because I see the end of the week: This is something I would not have realized at first, but definitely has impacted my work. When I know that I am going to take a Sunday off of work, I notice I am able to work harder during the week. I am able to work harder because I know that on Sunday I will be rewarded with a refreshing day off.
I hope you are able to see some of the benefits of the Sabbath from my story. Tomorrow’s blog post will be titled, The Sabbath: Your Story, (if you are not subscribed to this blog, you can do that here via RSS feeder or by email) where were will focus on your story of what benefits you can enjoy by taking a Sabbath day every week.