Deuteronomy 5:12 – Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.
When we were first married, we got into a bad habit of not getting a weekly Sabbath day off or planning for holidays and vacations. We had “good” reasons to justify our overwork. In college, we were very broke, and since we were paying our way through college, we worked as much as we could to avoid debt. We hoped things would settle into a better routine once we were graduated, but the opposite happened.
At first, Grace worked nights, and I worked days, and we did not have the same days off as we were housesitting from place to place trying to save enough money to get into an apartment. Eventually, Grace was able to get a job with normal hours, but things only got worse once we started leading a college ministry.
We both worked all day and had Bible studies and college students in our house most nights. Then the college ministry morphed into a church plant we founded and volunteered at for the first three years, working additional jobs to fund the struggling little church.
Once Grace got pregnant with our first child, she quit her good-paying corporate job doing advertising, and I started writing, speaking, and traveling in addition to pastoring to provide for our growing family and church family.
Our sin was not one of commission – we were not doing anything “sinful” – as everything we were doing was for the Lord. Our sin was one of omission – we were not getting a Sabbath.
But, from what we found, if you don’t take a break, then you will break.
Grace has always been better at managing her wellness, and I tend to just keep working until I cannot work anymore. Grace works very, very hard and gets a ton done. She has proven throughout our marriage to be better at self-care and health than me. Twice I have completely fried my adrenal glands and neurotransmitters, and in too many seasons, rather than taking a break, I simply broke.
We wish we could say we learned our lessons quickly and adjusted early, but that would not be true. Three things have helped, though.
First, we have spent a lot of time studying the concept of Sabbath in the Bible.
Second, we have a shared digital calendar so we can organize our life as “one” with everything from the kids’ school and sports, to breaks and holidays, birthdays, vacations, and work commitments.
Third, we have a weekly calendar meeting where we go through the upcoming week, month, and year in detail to carve out time for Sabbaths and holidays, with also allows us to pace our work and prepare our budget.
We always try to have fun on the calendar, even if it’s simple – something to look forward to where we can get out of our work routine, make memories, take photos, and enjoy each other and the life God has given us. Without fun on the calendar, life can get dark and daunting very quickly.
If you’re married, do you and your spouse Sabbath together? If not, how can you make a plan for this? If you’re not yet married, do you yourself Sabbath and, if not, how can you start to do this?