2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested [a] from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
I had a great weekend, and unlike most weekends, I got quite a bit accomplished. But I worked hard and didn't just sit around and read for awhile between cleaning and homework.
Here's a little secret about me: I'm lazy and I procrastinate. I'm trying to change both of those aspects of my personality, but I have 34 years of habit working against me. Some of this has improved just because I'm a mom and have been in school four of the last five years. It's absolutely necessary for me to stick to some sort of schedule to get anything done, and if it HAS to be done, it gets done. If it doesn't, it falls by the wayside. But as I said, I'm trying to change that for a few different reasons. And this weekend was a huge accomplishment on that front.
Last night when I put our son to bed, I knew I was tired, but I didn't know how exhausted I was until, in a fit of silliness, he headbutted me in the chin, slamming my teeth into my bottom lip. It hurt and I cried. But I kept crying, and it was like this well of despair had been opened up and let loose. I didn't know why I felt that way, and it took a lot of self-control to get calmed down, because all I wanted to do was sit there and cry. There was no reason for that quick change in attitude, because I was in a perfectly good mood two minutes before that little accident.
A few hours later, the answer came to me: I was bloody exhausted. What I really needed was another day off so I could sit and relax for a while.
A few months ago, my small group agreed that we would take six hours sometime during the week to observe the Sabbath, but it was difficult for most of us to commit to that challenge. After this weekend, I understand the need for the Sabbath better than I think I ever have before, but the idea of taking a whole day to rest seems like a waste of time.
In this independent study, I'm looking at all the ways we could possibly be good stewards, and one of those ways is being a steward of time. After all, time is a resource, and unlike other resources, if we don't use the time we have, it disappears. We can't save time, in a literal sense, like we would save money or food. When each moment is gone, it's gone forever. Yes, there will be other moments to use - until there are no more moments to use.
How do you use your time? I've already mentioned that I'm a procrastinator, which means I put things off to the last minute (see? Time.). And lazy, which means I don't always use my time (time!) wisely. How else is your time divided? Mine is divided into work, not-work, and sleep. All of these are necessary components to a healthy life. But how much of each of these do we need? If you're like me and work full time outside the home, you spend at least 7.5 hours at a job five days a week. Like my husband, some of you work weird shifts or maybe two (or more) jobs, so you still work about 40 hours each week. Some of you work a part-time job, but you're in school full time. And some of you are stay at home moms who work your ever-loving butts off in your own house (and I salute you - you should be paid. Seriously!). Then when you aren't working at your job, you are either working or not-working - there are errands to run, kids to cart from place to place, houses to clean, etc. These are all necessary too, but they eat up any free time you might have to rest and relax. Sleep is essential, but so is rest. Very few of you would argue with the first part of the last sentence, but many of you would argue against the last part. I don't know what it's like in other countries, but here in the US we have what might be referred to as a Puritan Work Ethic. Loosely translated, it means "work your ass off, don't take a break, and look down on anyone who does." Sound familiar? Also from the Puritan Work Ethic comes this little ditty: "Idle hands are the Devil's playground."
God worked those first six days of creation, then designated the seventh day as the day of rest. Genesis doesn't say what He did that seventh day, only that He rested from His work of creating. I doubt God's hands were the Devil's playground, and I doubt anyone would look down on Him because He took a much needed break. So if we are created in His image, and He commands us to take a day to rest, why do we look down on people who actually do that? Are we better than God in that we don't need a day to rest?
I don't know about you, but I need to learn to be a better steward of my time. I need to learn not just to be more productive, but how to rest, and do so without guilt. And in a culture that defines us by what we do instead of who we are, that's a scary idea to ponder.