I’m going to be on Moody Radio today (WMBI 90.1 in Chicago, wmbi.org on-line) at 3:45 p.m. today talking about Sabbath stay-cation, the topic of this month’s newsletter. I hope you’ll tune in!
Here’s the newsletter in case you missed it: (or click here to read the whole thing)
Summer is here—the kids are out of school, or will be in a few days. Moms are trying to enjoy the last few days of solitude as they slip through our fingers. Our calendars are crowded with graduation parties, end of school events, and so on.
The kids are both ready for some R & R—rest and relaxation. Maybe you feel the same way—you’re longing for a vacation. But many people I know feel economic uncertainty, or worse, certainty: they are certain that they are in financial trouble.
So instead of a vacation, they’re making plans for a “stay-cation.” They’ll stay at home rather than travel. They’ll perhaps go to the community pool instead of traveling to the beach, they’ll go for a bike ride in their own neighborhood instead of in the mountains. Or, maybe, they will pull out a lawn chair and a good book, and just sit in the backyard.
Often, we feel we “need” a vacation because we have been working too hard without ever taking a break. We’ve overloaded our schedules, kept busy 24/7, and now we just need some time to relax. We want to escape, and a stay-cation in the backyard just doesn’t cut it.
I wonder what would happen if we lived all of our life at a saner pace? If we worked hard six days a week, but then every week, took one day to rest? What if instead of going non-stop for 50 weeks and collapsing for two, we took our vacation one day at a time?
Have you ever stopped to think about the pace of your life? Are you hurried? When people ask “How are you?” how do you answer? Do you say “I’m busy!” or perhaps you’ve moved on to busy’s logical conclusion, “I’m tired!” Have you said yes to things you wish you’d said no to?
Do you ever take a day to just be? To focus more on relationships than accomplishments? To just do something you enjoy? Or do nothing at all? A day to stop being a consumer and just enjoy what you already have?
One of the wisest spiritual mentors I ever had asked me to think about my “rhythm of life.” Rhythm, by definition, requires a pattern: things happen on a regular basis. What spiritual practices did I want to include in my daily, weekly, monthly and annual schedule? This forced me to think about scheduling practices such as solitude days, putting them on the calendar like the unbreakable appointments they were.
One of the most important pieces in the rhythm of life I’ve adopted is taking a weekly Sabbath. It’s a day to worship, to be with my family, to rest. It’s a day that I turn off the computer but tune into the people I love. It’s a day when I am infinitely interruptible—which is to say, loving. What do I do on Sabbath? Anything, as long as it is not necessary. I may be in my garden, or I may be sailing with my husband. Almost always, I spend a little time reading, talking with my family, or playing a board game with my children. I don’t always cook, but we always gather around a table for a leisurely meal shared with family and/or friends.
This summer, rather than cry about the fact that you can’t afford to take a vacation, give yourself a day off once a week. It doesn’t cost anything. In fact, by refusing to go out and buy more stuff, you can practice contentment. By taking a day to rest, you model for your children a very important truth: your value does not lie in your accomplishments. You will give them a way to access that elusive commodity we all want—contentment. And you’ll realize—you can’t buy contentment. You have to simply decide to be content. How? By slowing down, by taking some time to just notice that you have enough.
Get some friends to join you in this “stay-cation” by reading my book Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity together. The book will give you guidance for living a sanely-paced, God-focused life. Rest has a group study guide included in the book. And if you read it with a group, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you autographed bookplates and bookmarks for your whole group—for free. If you want to see what a book club discussion of Rest looks like, check out my videos on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhNhW6JYYzI. Be sure to leave a comment and also to forward the link to your friends.