Anyone who knows me will tell you that I work. A lot. I’m always either in class, doing homework, at one of my many jobs, or doing something else productive. Even in the summers, I’m productive 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
I’m not very good at resting. And when I say I’m not very good, I mean that I’m absolutely terrible at it.
But this summer, I’m only going to be working a job part-time and shooting a documentary part-time. Yes, that adds up to one full-time job but that’s still a lot less than what I’ve been doing.
Because everybody needs Shabbat. Everyone needs some time to rest, to recover from the day-to-day strains of life. Forget the spiritual part of it for a minute. Our bodies are not designed to work 24/7. Our bodies need sleep. Exhaustion kills our bodies. Literally.
People who get less sleep are more likely to be obese. Lack of Shabbat leads to an increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Sleep deprivation leads to an increase in production of stress hormones and driving up blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
The physical effects of not having a Shabbat are real…
…and so are the spiritual and emotional effects.
When we don’t take time to rest, we forget who we are. We don’t realize it, but we end up facing an identity crisis. We forget to remember. In Exodus 20:11, we are told that we have Shabbat Shalom because God rested on the 7th day and sanctified it. We remember what God has done, that He is the creator of all things. We also remember how God brought freedom to His People in Egypt, and how, through Christ, He has also brought freedom to all people.
If we aren’t remembering, then we are forgetting. We are forgetting all that He has done for us and who He has made us to be. And when we forget God, we lose our sense of identity in God. We become people of the world, not people who are in the world. We lose ourselves to sin – whether it be something as “bad” as adultery or something as “small” as losing our temper.
If we don’t remember God and His commandment to take a Shabbat, then we lose our center. When we lose our center, we become off-kilter and spin farther and farther away from God at a dizzying pace. We lose ourselves, and when we finally stop spinning (assuming that we do), we find ourselves facing an identity crisis, not knowing who we are or who we are meant to be.
So let us not forget to take a shabbat and rest.