Writer Lauren Windle just about managed to squeeze writing this article into her jam-packed schedule.


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I’m writing this article on a train. Why? Because I’m too busy to sit down at home with a nice cuppa and take my leisurely time over it. I’m on my way to Liverpool for two public speaking engagements, before I fly off to Northern Ireland for another. Last weekend I was at a Christian festival delivering a seminar.

Am I showing off? Yes, a little bit. But it’s only something worth boasting about because we’re in a society where being rushed off your feet is impressive. “I don’t know how they do it”, “they cram so much in”, “I just can’t keep up with them” – we’ve all said these things, often with a tone of awe. We are also delighted when we hear someone make a similar statement about us.

“Make time for your wellness or you will be forced to make time for your illness.” 

Plate spinning used to be stressful but now it’s the norm. As Christians we have an excellent framework for rest, mediation and Sabbath. Some of us observe these disciplines religiously, while others are certain they will incorporate them once they’ve “gotten on top of things”.

Sadly, there are always things to do and most of us never quite feel on top of things, yet our need for rest deepens. I saw an Instagram quote that was characteristically cheesy but struck a chord: “Make time for your wellness or you will be forced to make time for your illness.” 

I had a coffee with my wise owl vicar the other day and he had been reading a popular, secular book on the human brain. He was telling me how amused he was when he hit the action plan chapter of the self-help book and found they had effectively landed on observing the Sabbath as the solution to our problems. The author, a respected scientist, said that research suggests completely switching off for a full day a week was ideal for your mental health and productivity. That’s one day, at the end of the week where you don’t work and you’re off your phone and other devices and you just have relaxed, unscheduled time. Who would have thought it eh?

Some of us observe the Sabbath religiously, while others are certain they will incorporate it once they’ve “gotten on top of things”.

But we don’t need peer reviewed neuroscience to tell us what God did all those years ago. God says: “Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:30. As with anything the God asks of us, this isn’t him being the fun police. This isn’t him saying: “I want you to achieve less so please don’t work a seventh of the time.” This is him saying: “I love you, and in order to thrive in me, you need this break.”

Am I good at taking a Sabbath? No. Will I do better? Yes. And I would encourage you to do the same. But you could also help by challenging the narrative that busy is better. When someone rattles off all the things they’ve been doing recently, respond by asking about their rest. Celebrate the people who switch their phone off. And marvel at those who are disciplined in their downtime. Together, we can set the tone for the rest.