Rhythm and Rest

So I’m having a non-productive day today.  A great breakfast meeting, but my focus started fading shortly thereafter.  No shortage of stuff to do and I don’t even want to take a nap – just not enough focus to accomplish anything significant.

Question:  do our body and mind ever conspire to force us into time off?

I am haunted by a verse in 2 Chronicles.  It talks about Israel being overthrown and defeated as a nation.  Originally, the people of Israel were supposed to let the land lay fallow every seven years (no crops), celebrate a year of Jubilee every 50th year, and observe the Sabbath week to week.  Did they? Pretty much they didn’t. Never.  Ever. 

Instead of resting, they worked.  Gotta make money.  Gotta get ahead.  We’re driven.  If I don’t make it happen, it’s not going to happen.

But then they got defeated.  Completely.  Captured – taken into exile.  And this is the poignant observation of scripture on their defeat:

So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.  2 Chronicles 36.21

Ouch.  I don’t want my body to enjoy its Sabbath rest involuntarily. 

I love to work, but God created each of us with limits.  I fear being lazy, so I work extra hard.  (Best definition of laziness I ever heard was from Stuart Hall – laziness is resting before you are tired).  I’m always trying to push past my limits, but maybe God just doesn’t want me to. 

When I analyze why I work too hard, I shudder:

– I feel I can run the universe better than God can. 

– I like too much control and not enough dependence.

– I want to be significant, and am not comfortable enough letting God be significant.

I get terrified by the idea of a real Sabbath – a day where I produce nothing…absolutely nothing and simply let God be enough for me.  I’ve had very few days in my life where I completely did nothing…produced nothing, got distracted by nothing (no sports, no movies, no biking, no reading) and just let me be in the presence of God.  Wonder what that would be like?

I’m planning on taking tomorrow off.   Maybe my body is telling me I should have taken today off too. 

What do you think?  Do you pay attention to God-ordained limits?  If not, why not?

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