In a 2012 study, ComPsych Corp. surveyed 1,880 workers to “find signs of prolonged stress in attitudes about work priorities.” Let’s just say the responses were staggering. Of those surveyed 63% say they have high levels of stress at work, with extreme fatigue and feeling out of control; 39% cite the workload as the top cause of stress; 53% take frequent ‘stress breaks’ at work to talk with others while 36% say they just work harder; and 46% cite stress and personal relationship issues as the most common reason for absences, ahead of medical reasons or care-giving responsibilities. With time I can only see these numbers getting worse.
We are often our own worst enemy when it comes to peace of mind and tranquility in our lives. We over-commit, refuse to say “no,” and dig ourselves deeper into the pit of responsibility, many times knowing that we have neither the time nor the energy to complete the task at hand. The result is an incredible increase in physical problems that pose a threat to our health, mental problems that threaten our psychological well being, and even spiritual problems that have the potential to endanger our souls.
But God knew from the very beginning that everyone and everything needed a break from time to time. So He set plans into motion that would require His people in ancient times to rest every seven days (Exodus 20:8-11) and for the people and the land to rest every seven years:
“The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord” (Leviticus 25:1-4).
It is from that Old Testament law that people in modern times have developed the principle of a sabbatical, a strategic break from a certain work for a designated period of time. The idea is to take incremental breaks every so often to rest, rejuvenate, avoid burnout, and be able to perform that task with a renewed vigor in the future, much more than you would if you just worked constantly and nonstop. It’s an ancient idea that is really catching fire among jobs ranging from the corporate world to ministry and everywhere in between.
You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been writing or posting to this site over the last year. I hadn’t really planned this in advance but after the first couple of weeks of 2016 blogging became more of a burden than a blessing. So I missed a week, then two. Then I decided to take a month off; then two. Finally I just decided to take the entire year off. I had been blogging constantly for six years. I guess it was just time for a Sabbath.
In my downtime from writing I was able to do some more reading, some more planning, and some more dreaming of some things I’d like to accomplish in the very near future. But part of those plans is beginning to write on a weekly basis again. So subscribe, bookmark the site, or just look for the Facebook links throughout 2017 as we get back to work in developing a bigger, better faith together.