It’s the final summer holiday, friends! Traditionally, Labor Day is when we scramble to get in that last cookout or day at the lake before we turn our attention to pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters. Depending on your family or political background, Labor Day has varied importance. I’m not here to get into the background of Labor Day, but today does inspire today’s devotional:
Do you regularly take a break from your labor?
As women, we tend to feel guilty about taking breaks or stopping our work. It doesn’t matter if we’re single, married, single again, with or without children, there always seems to be one more thing that we can do, right?
Yet, our bodies are not built for endless work, endless planning or endless activity. Like a gas tank, we run out. In fact, we KNOW that we’ll run out of energy and yet, we keep going. But why?
It’s often because we believe two things:
1. It won’t get done unless we do it.
2. Unless we work 24/7, our lives will fall apart unless we’re to keep everyone and everything together and moving forward.
That’s the mindset for exhaustion! When we’re exhausted, we tend to let it show. Which one of these are true for you?
Here’s a hard question: How do your loved ones experience you when you’re exhausted? Do they feel more or less loved about you?
The truth is that when you and I don’t stop to rest, the quality of our relationships reflect our exhaustion. You can’t give what you don’t have, my friend.
In Genesis 1, God creates the world and if you’re familiar with this story, you recall how God stopped working at the end of each day. Then, He took a break at the end of His project, which was creating the world. So, God took regular breaks and then, He took a rest.
To be clear, God didn’t need to do that. But, He did to show us the principle of working hard and then, choosing to take breaks and allowing ourselves regular periods of rest.
It took years for me to break the habit of non-stop work. In my mind, I used to say things like, “I’ll just do one more thing” or “If I don’t do this, I’ll be behind later.” Can you relate?
Do you want to know what helped me break my bad habit of not taking breaks or resting? Sabbath or what I call “Shut Down Days.”
For my entire life, I’ve been a work-a-holic until fifteen years ago when I began to follow God’s Sabbath example, which Jesus reaffirmed in the New Testament.
Shut Down Days mean that I have no apointments or obligations on my calendar for work. I don’t plan housework or errands. I let my mind rest from problem-solving. (Even when I was married and had kids at home, I would do urgent cleaning the night before my Shut Down Day and arrange a crock pot meal or takeout.)
On Shutdown Days, my soul takes a deep breath because I’m not pushing myself. I am gentle with my body and I can literally feel my brain recharging and my body repairing itself.
Here’s a bottom line that I use to remind myself: “You are blessed when you rest.”
I know that many of you know that you need to do this, but you aren’t sure that you can make it work for your life. Here’s what years of a weekly Shutdown Day has done for me:
- Increased Faith – I also have time to reflect on my relationship with God and I can listen for any the Spirit’s without feeling rushed.
- Freedom from Control-Loving Behaviors – Each week, I must trust God with whatever I am not getting done that day. Practicing letting go of control on my Shutdown Day makes it easier for me to let go of control on other days.
- Stronger Mental Health – Our brains need rest just like our bodies. Giving my brain a break from planning and problem-solving allows it to recharge and work better the rest of the week. Trust me, this works!
- Loving Others Better – Since I have a whole day with no meetings or obligations, I can catch up with my loved ones and friends. I can ask how people are doing, listen and pray for others. A Shutdown Day is a great way to improve relationships!
Which one of these looks the most attractive to you?
If you feel like you’re about to fall apart because you’re life is spinning out of control or you exhuasted, a Shut Down Day maybe what God wants to use to recharge and recalibrate your mind, bodies and souls.
Friends, when people ask me how I can keep my busy travel, write books and encourage others, my weekly Shutdown Day is a huge reason why.
I’d love for you to try a Shutdown Day if you don’t always have a rest day. FREE RESOURCE: I’ve got a quick start-up guide and you can download here.
Don’t worry about being perfect to start. As a best-selling author says, “Make progress, not perfection.”
I truly hope that today’s Labor Day inspires you to start this life-giving habit!
COMMENT BELOW: Which one of the Shut Down Day Benefits is most attractive for you? If you regularly take a Sabbath, how are you blessed?