The theme of my week has been procrastination. It’s a problem I’ve had ever since I can remember. Usually, I procrastinate to avoid doing things I find unpleasant (like paying bills), boring (like cleaning) or overwhelming (like learning WordPress so I can build my own web site). No matter the reason, I find that procrastination always ends the same way: with me stressed and overloaded, kicking myself for wasting so much time on Facebook, eBay, or just plain zoned out. TV used to play a factor there too, but that has recently changed.
So I found myself wondering by midweek, why am I procrastinating again? For weeks I have been so motivated, keeping up with various tasks and moving forward on some others. I didn’t expect procrastination to rear its ugly head right now. It was kind of discouraging, to tell you the truth.
As I thought about it more, I realized that I was feeling very tired. In fact, I hadn’t had much energy for days now. What on earth was going on? It was not normal for me to feel this tired. I couldn’t figure out where the fatigue was coming from. Sure, I had been waking up earlier than my alarm clock (which is already very early), but the early waking had been going on for weeks now and I hadn’t felt tired before this week.
This particular bout of procrastination, I reasoned, seemed to be connected to my tiredness. I really wanted to do some of the things I was putting off, but when I thought about the energy I knew it would take, I just couldn’t muster it up. So I crocheted, and I read, and I napped. I surfed Facebook, I looked at things on eBay, but I didn’t do the things that I had planned to do, that I wanted to do and that I knew God wanted me to do. And I got further and further behind. The effectiveness I had found for the past month began to decline rapidly.
As I thought about the possible reasons for my unusual tiredness, my mind kept going back to a book I had recently read. 24/6 by Matthew Sleeth deals with the 4th commandment, to keep the Sabbath holy. Before reading this book, I had always reasoned that keeping the Sabbath was simply impossible in today’s world. How on earth would I get everything done if had to take one day and not do anything? I remember reading another book about Sabbath, Rest by Kerri Wyatt Kent, some years ago. At the time, I had asked my husband if we could try maybe taking turns having a Sabbath, a day with no chores or work, once a month. He had flatly rejected my idea. He was willing to give me a day off, he said, but wasn’t interested in having one off himself. I didn’t see that as fair, so I dropped the idea.
Now, however, the idea of keeping Sabbath has taken hold in my mind. Being who I am, I’m not really interested in getting legalistic about the Sabbath. If it becomes a list of do’s and don’t’s, to me that will turn even the Sabbath into just plain more work. In 24/6, though, Sleeth writes about Sabbath as rest, as stopping all the striving and labors and just being able to focus on God, on rest, for a day. He says that stopping is actually a holy act. That really resonates with me. After all, just a month ago, when I was able to let go of some bad habits by relying more on God (see my post The Breakthrough), I actually did have somewhat of a Sabbath. In many ways I did just stop. I changed my routine in significant ways. I didn’t do any paid work. I didn’t watch TV or go on the computer except for helping Kathryn with a school project. I fasted.
In the intervening month, I haven’t taken a day to stop the way I did that day. I’m not sure I want or need to do all the same things I did that day, but I have become more and more convicted that I need to find a way to stop periodically. Probably once a week. Pardon me for being sarcastic with myself, but gee, maybe that’s why God created the Sabbath! I wonder why it’s taken me almost 40 years to take it seriously.
If you are interested in the idea of Sabbath and want to check out the books I mentioned in this post, see my links page.