Relax. “So, what do you think about doing a garage sale on the 24th?” I asked my husband. Every other Saturday box on my monthly calendar had some kind of chicken scratch in it. But there was one empty box screaming to be filled in; like a Sudoku puzzle where leaving a box empty means failure.
“Sure, sounds good,” he said. So it was decided and now it was shaping up to be a busy month. I started wondering when we would fit in a day off ~ a real day off. I tried to remember the last time I had a completely empty box on my calendar ~ not a day off for scrubbing, or socializing, or serving, or sorting, or any work. Just a real day of rest and relaxation without obligation. It had been a while.
Our lives are busy, aren’t they? For me, I equate busy-ness and getting things done with value and significance. Two weekends ago our country celebrated Labor Day, a day characterized by vacation get-aways and time away from work. We decided to stay home this year which makes resting and relaxing even harder for me. There is always so much to do at home, especially when you work for yourself. Work follows you everywhere.
The weekend was a mix of work and relaxing, but by Monday afternoon I was beginning to feel…well, a little worthless. First, I slept in. Late. Morning. Gone. Then I got pulled into a British sitcom marathon my husband and son were watching. The only thing I was getting done during that time was some serious belly laughs. I tried to sort through some stacks of paper. I tried to get some writing done. But try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to get anything really done. Desperation set in. Anxiety levels began to rise. I realized that I was suffering from UTRS – Unable To Relax Syndrome. My whole psychological well-being was at risk! There was only one thing to do. Make a list.
Yes, a list was sure to restore my sense of well-being and self-worth. I would make a list of all the things I had done, no matter how trivial, and then I would cross them off. That is the best medicine for this type of sickness ~ and it is a sickness. It didn’t make me feel 100% better, but my uneasiness at not getting anything meaningful accomplished was minimized.
Do you ever suffer from UTRS like me? Do you ever struggle with just taking a day to rest and relax? God has a name for this kind of rest from work ~ He calls it a Sabbath. A day of rest, a day to worship Him, to reset your mind and your perspective, to fill your basket. And God is so gracious that He gives us the freedom to choose what day we take a Sabbath. I think it’s interesting that I would be appalled at myself if I knowingly broke one of the “big 10” (you know, the commandments) and yet, I realize that I do that every time I don’t take a Sabbath (oh, and on those rare occasions when I covet…but I will save that for another post).
It’s time for a change. It won’t be easy; I’m not sure how I will do leaving my to-do list behind for a day. I am sure the healing process will be hard, but God is the great physician and an expert in the hardest of UTRS cases, so I know I will be in good hands. And I suppose now would be a good time to read the book we got from our daughter ~ Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson. Think she was trying to tell us something? Ohhh, now that I think about it, I should put that on my to-do list! To Do: Read Margin There, I feel better already! (Don’t judge me ~ it’s a process!)
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lordblessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.