Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Forgotten Commandment

If anyone knows me, they know that I have a tiny issue with being performance driven. If I am going to write a research paper, then it is going to be an A+ research paper. If I am going to teach a lesson, then it is going to be a home-run lesson resulting in the mass expansion of my students' little brains. If I am given an assignment, I am going to do it with such enthusiasm and vigor that deserves thunderous applause.

Now, not every research paper has earned an A+, not every lesson taught has been a success, nor has every assignment I've ever been given been done perfectly. In fact, more often than not, my performance is sub-par. But it's sub-par by my standards, which are pretty high.

I expect a lot out of myself. I push myself too hard at times to get things done, to be productive, and my competitive nature gets the best of me. What ends up happening, though, is that I burn myself out and then the bad attitude creeps in. I continue to expect the best out of myself, but I do it with a bitter heart and a resentful spirit.

The beginning of this summer has been a mixture of productivity, anti-productivity (you know, those days where you literally do nothing of great significance...), guilt, frustration, and a crappy attitude. I have a lot going on - 3 jobs and a slew of projects I want to get done before the fall semester all on top of the fact that I would like to relax and enjoy summer break before I have to go back to the crazy life of being a student and a teacher intern!!

God calls us to be good stewards of our time, but he also calls us to stop working and fully enjoy His presence. I love when people joke about God taking "a break" after creating the world. :) But, it's true! Genesis 2:2 says, "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work." God - the Creator of the world - rested! And if I am made in His likeness (Gen. 1:27), then I am to do as He does. I am to intentionally take time to rest and to find refreshment by glorifying Him through rest just as I glorify Him through work.

This is a lesson I've had to learn over and over again: that rest is not met through a three month summer break smack dab in the middle of two of the hardest semesters of my college career. I was not built to go go go go go go go go go go go and then crash. True rest is met each week, through keeping the Sabbath.

Last semester, I was not diligent to keep the Sabbath. I basically worked seven days a week in some way. If I wasn't technically "at work" (getting paid), then I was working on something for school. And if I wasn't working on something for school, then I was doing something fun - but feeling guilty about it. Instead of trying to create balance and work diligently in order to keep the Sabbath, I just pushed myself every day until I couldn't push anymore.

All this to say... this summer, I am going to try a little experiment. I am actually going to try to keep the Sabbath. No spending money, no work (I guess that will have to be further defined since technically I have to "work" on Sundays for my internship), no secular entertainment. I am going to spend my Sunday basking in God's presence, serving Him, enjoying Him, and investing in the people He has placed in my life. I am going to work up until Sunday so that I may rest and enjoy this glorious gift of life!

Exodus 20:8-11, "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 manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, your the alien within your gates. 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. Therfore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

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