Stop, Drop, and Sabbath

How will I ever get it all done?

While I am incredibly excited to enjoy a three month Sabbatical from my work, I just don’t know how I could get it all done before Sunday. There are summer trip forms to copy and organize. There is the confirmation banquet and the senior dinner. I should clean out my office for the intern and leave her at least a few instructions. Oh yeah, and there’s fall…must plan fall before I leave including the details of a retreat that will happen a few short weeks after I return. And I still have my own trip details to work on. What exactly am I doing with these 3 months again? I know life will go on if I don’t get it all done. But surely I will be able to relax and breathe deeper knowing my to-do list is completed. I have been a list maker since middle school and I take great satisfaction in crossing off items. On some of my busier days, the first task on my list of to-dos is “make a list” that way I feel like I’ve accomplished something just by creating a checklist for myself.  (yeah, I know it’s nutty).

But this is all new territory – a list that may not get completely checked off before enjoying Sabbath. Where is the satisfaction in that?!

In the midst of spinning slightly out of control last week over my growing list, it hit me. Do I always treat Sabbath this way? Is Sabbath some sort of holy finish line only meant to be crossed and enjoyed after our to-do list has been annihilated? How often do I choose the temporary peace of finishing my tasks over the deep and abiding peace of Sabbath?

Pretty often. As in, practically every week.

How often do we use Sunday to tackle the grocery list for the coming week or to finally catch up on all of the laundry or tidy up that email inbox before Monday hits? How often are we catching up instead of resting, worshiping and giving back? Would the world keep spinning without getting those tasks done? Sure. Would we feel as ready for the week ahead? Well, I can’t tell you. I haven’t tried it.

But, in just a few short days my Sabbatical will begin and I will have to leave a few things on the to-do list knowing full well I won’t cross them off until August when I return. As my list grows and my days in the office shrink, I’m starting to make peace with the idea that maybe it’s not all supposed to get done. Maybe the point of Sabbath is to stop us in our tracks. Maybe our lives should be so oriented to honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy that we wouldn’t mind stopping and dropping what we’re doing to worship and rest. Maybe we all should get comfortable with leaving things undone in order to make time and space for true Sabbath…comfortable enough to leave the overflowing laundry baskets, inboxes, and dishwashers for another day.

Just like my to-do list, it’ll be right where you left it when you return.


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