Tuesday, August 25, 2009


More than a week after returning from vacation (see last entry), I still haven't gotten completely back into the flow of regular work (if the way I approach self-employment can be said to be all that regular). Probably having four doctors' appointments last week (and one more to get through this Thursday) contributed to that. Even more significant, perhaps, is the onus of the mere phrase "work days." By all rights I should love my work: after all, I am a professional writer and the written word has been my great passion at least since I learned to read--which was at a far younger age than average, earlier than my conscious memory can reach. And my work offers flexible hours, a variety of projects and events, and the opportunity for learning--all of which I thrive on.

But I don't thrive on stress. And self-employment also brings the fear of failure, the agony of hoping the budget will stretch until the latest slow-paying client comes through, and the uncertainty of constantly looking for new work.

I shouldn't complain too much, though. There are plenty of people whose work is nothing but stress--who have never truly enjoyed a work day in their lives, who hate every aspect of their jobs. Some have ample reason to: their daily commutes take an hour each way through poky, honking, pollution-spewing traffic; their supervisors are bullies and their coworkers are schemers; and they are in the wrong professional fields altogether, having taken work totally contrary to their natural talents and interests simply because it was available or paid well. Many job-haters would be better off elsewhere, but human nature prefers being miserable in familiar surroundings to staking everything on a plunge into the unknown. So people grouse about their work all week and live only to escape into weekends and vacations.

Such "escape" thinking is one reason many of us don't really find our "days of rest" very restful--at least not to the point where we wake up the next day refreshed and eager to get back to work. "I wish I could make this last forever and never have to go back to my stupid job" probably wasn't exactly the attitude God wanted to cultivate in His people by giving them every seventh day off (Ex. 20:8-11). The Sabbath was meant to keep us from wearing ourselves out with constant motion, yes; but it was also intended as a time of reduced distractions so we could have the opportunity of getting to know God better. And that includes coming to understand the individual purposes and work He has planned for each of us. (See Eph. 2:10.)

It's hard to enjoy rest to the fullest if we refuse to enjoy the "rest" of life at all.

God gave six days a week for work, and one in which to rest;
And He gave equal hours to each, but only one was blessed--
That seventh day He set aside to cut life's throbbing swell:
So work for Jesus, certainly; but rest for Him as well.

God gave the seventh day for rest, for worship, and for play
(Be careful not to work at fun, or that could spoil the day)--
True rest to soothe the heart and mind, to stop and feed the soul:
But, work or rest, do all for God; and trust Him with the whole.

1 comment:

Dianne said...

Hi there and thanks for sharing your blog with me. I was fascinated to learn last fall that the Sabbath was a gift (Ex 16) before it was a command (Ex 20)! I have been trying to include a Sabbath rest of sorts into my weekly rhythms since. Not always successful but always blessed when I do.