Has Lockdown Turned Us Into Workaholics?
As we stay safe in the confines of our homes during the lockdown, have you noticed that our routines have gotten all out of whack? No longer can we be trusted with a good rhythm of work and play because the space that framed our forty-hour working week before this pandemic started, now has blurred lines and no time for a Sabbath Rest. Sure, the world has survived on this stress-induced, caffeine-fuelled adrenalin cocktail for years. However, if we as a church are meant to be the set apart, transformed ones, why do we find we have fallen into the same enticing trap of setting up our futures and allowing ourselves to become workaholics too?
Dr Robyn Wrigley-Carr says that “unless we take action to get off the ‘conveyor belt’ and choose to take a break from it all…we start to play “god”. We are the ones making all the plans and engineering all the ‘grand ministry activities ‘without even asking God what He’s doing”.
Now, I am not saying work is a bad thing. Genesis 2:15 reminds us that ‘The Eternal God placed the newly made man in the garden of Eden in order to work the ground and care for it.’ Work is good! Nevertheless, God rested after He created the earth, ‘…with the canvas of the cosmos completed – God paused from His labour and rested. Thus, God blessed day seven and made it special – an open time for pause and restoration, a sacred zone of Sabbath-keeping, because God rested from all the work, He had done in creation that day.’ Genesis 2:2 [The Voice]
So, what is Sabbath Rest? ‘Sabbath means quit. Stop. Take a break. Cool it” as Eugene H. Peterson describes it. It’s a Spiritual Practice that not only restores your faith but resets it.
Revelation 22:17 asks us to ‘Come. And let everyone who hears these words say, “Come” And let those who thirst come. All who desire to drink, let them take and drink freely from the water of life.’ The trouble with that is, we’ve stopped coming. We’ve quit drinking freely from the Living Water that is the only thing to quench our dry, desolate souls during the lockdown.
I listened to someone say on a zoom meeting recently, “What do you think Jesus would do in lockdown?” I had to chuckle to myself because I believe that Jesus wouldn’t “do” anything in lockdown. He would just “be”.
Be present. Be mindful. Be still, so He could do God’s will.
Margaret Young got it right when she said, “Often people attempt to live their lives backwards. They try to have more things or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is in reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do in order to have what you want.”
Be present. Be mindful. Be still, so you can do God’s will.
I know what you’re thinking, my friend. “Well thanks for the advice, oh wise one. What with homeschooling, working full time and all the other demands in my life, being mindful and being still just doesn’t fly at present! Because my working week isn’t Monday to Friday now. Oh no. My working week has become thatday, thisday and blursday!”
I know, I get it. And don’t think for a second that I’m judging the workaholics among us for not taking a Sabbath rest each week. For what it’s worth, I am a recovering workaholic myself. I speak from experience and have the hospital discharge form to prove it. I get it out and look at it sometimes, just to make sure I don’t end up there again. I may frame it one day and sit it on my desk.
Believe it or not, I still
occasionally, sometimes, most weeks find myself slipping back into old habits if I’m not careful. If I’m scrabbling to meet a tight deadline, or I’m trying to finish an essay that’s due or something else that desperately needs my attention, I convince myself to “just finish off this work and then I’ll rest.” Honestly, I have enough material to write a book. It will be called, Reasons why I cannot Sabbath Rest and other lies I tell myself. I’m sure it will be a bestseller!
You see the thing is, the Spiritual Practice of Sabbath Rest isn’t about taking a day off when we feel work is getting too much. It is a commandment from God found twice in the Bible (Exodus 20:8-11 and Deuteronomy 5:13) because He knows our bent on putting other ‘gods’ before Him. Sabbath Rest isn’t selfish, it’s the pause and restoration that our tired bodies and thirsty souls need, especially now in this season.
So, isn’t it about time you came off the ‘conveyer belt’ and rested awhile, my friend? The world isn’t going to stop spinning on its axis if you decide to quit work for one day each week, right? Your homework from this week’s blog is to soak in God’s presence and schedule a Sabbath Rest. Engage yourself with God and let the Father who cares deeply about you create in you a clean heart and restore within you a sense of being brand new. (Psalm 51:10)
Have you found yourself becoming a workaholic in lockdown? I pray today that you will lay all other ‘gods’ down at the feet of Jesus. And I pray you will find rest that not only helps to restore your relationship with God but with your family too.