What I Don’t Know About Sabbaticals

I had the day off from my job last Friday, and like most of my days off I’d given myself a more than adequate list of things to accomplish.  More than anything, I’d been looking forward to having a full day in which to write.  I felt like I was getting a good start on the day by knocking out some housework, figuring I’d get that out of the way to better devote the rest of the day to my creative work.  Then I went to the computer.  Possessing best intentions, I somehow got distracted.  I realized I wasn’t feeling motivated to do what I’d been craving the time to do.  I procrastinated, taking care of other minor tasks, teling myself “once I finish this other thing,” then I’d get down to writing.  But it never happened.

It got to be lunch time, so I ate.  I watched TV while I ate.  Then I watched TV after I ate.  You may not know this about me, but I don’t like watching TV, especially when I know time is slipping away, and there are so many more important things to be doing.  It’s that feeling of needing to make the most of the time I have that compells me to fill my days off with expectant to-do lists.

I realized I was tired.  All morning, even as I knowingly avoided moving forward with my writing, I grew more and more upset with myself.   Fortunately, about halfway through the day, I chilled out.  No sense beating myself up.  Wasting time?  Maybe.  Maybe using the time to rest is really what I needed to do.

Back when I was studying for the ministry, I prepared a sermon based on some passages in the book of Jeremiah.  Jeremiah was one of the Old Testament prophets, sent by God to give some pretty dire messages to the Israelites.  Specifically, Jeremiah let the people of Jerusalem know that if they didn’t straighten up, God was going to destroy the city through terrible means.  What was the terrible thing the people of Jerusalem were guilty of?  Not honoring the sabbath, the day of rest.

Honoring the sabbath is one of the 10 Commandments.  It’s number four, as a matter of fact.  If the commandments were given in order of importance, it might be interesting to know this one comes before honoring your father and mother, to not kill, to not commit adultery, and to not steal.  God wants people to take a break once a week.  And He was more than willing to punish people if they didn’t.  Not only Jeremiah, but the books of Ezekiel and Nehemiah illustrate some gruesome ways sabbath shunners met their ends.

I’m not really fearful of divine retribution, but the idea that it’s not only nice for folks to rest once in a while, but necessary, is one I can easily agree with.  I still don’t understand how I can be extremely inspired when I don’t have the time to write, but then extremely unmotivated when I am afforded the time, but I do understand that sometimes things just cant be forced, and occassionally it’s okay to let myself just do nothing.

Today, though, is for writing…!

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