97: Rest: Why Practicing The Sabbath Should Be A Non-Negotiable
In a world that constantly asks us to be on a nonstop grind with work, just where do we place rest? In this episode, Thane Ringler talks about why the need for rest is important and why you need to consider practicing the Sabbath as a non-negotiable. Thane shares his thoughts on balancing your daily life from work to rest and everything in between, and what rest actually looks like. Learn the benefits of a sabbath and how this can help you dig deeper and see your life with a richer and fuller outlook.
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Rest: Why Practicing The Sabbath Should Be A Non-Negotiable
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The topic is rest. This is something that I’ve talked to many people about in my life. It’s been an ongoing discussion in many ways that I figured it was high time to have this discussion on the podcast and share a lot of the thoughts that I’ve been processing with others, with God, with myself in my current life and where I find myself in. I’ve been in what I’ve called a season of rest and this is a season where I’m not going out to get more work. I’m not proactively striving, hustling or trying to achieve and accomplish more, but rather I’m actively doing what God brings my way, what he puts on my plate.
It’s been an incredibly humbling season. It’s taught me so much about how I find my identity often and what I achieve, what I accomplish or what I acquire. It’s shown me how little I tangibly or practically trust God to provide as he says he always will. It’s humbling to realize that, but that’s what this has started to reveal to me. I’d love to start by talking about how we’re wired as human beings. Similar to exercising and recovering or being awake and sleeping, life has been intentionally patterned with rhythms, with ebbs and flows that help us maintain some semblance of balance or normalcy in life without it becoming too drab and dull. With sleeping, we see that a third of our lives are spent in recovery mode, or at least that’s the ideal. Eight hours is the average person’s need for sleep. One-third of our lives is spent recovering by sleeping.Life has been intentionally patterned with rhythms, with ebbs and flows, that help us maintain some semblance of balance or normalcy. Click To Tweet
In the realm of working out, we see that pushing our body’s abilities and limits is helpful, but it’s best done with at least one day of recovery or rest programmed in throughout the week. What’s funny about this is for some reason, we think that this logic or this rationale doesn’t apply to our work in life. How ironic. How funny of us, how irrational of us often. This gets us to culture sway in our lives. It goes back to the power of culture and how we are wired in modern society. We’re wired for a mode of existence based on having more and more of anything and everything.
It’s a consumerist culture and it stems from the industrial age we live in, which produces a mindset that’s based on greed and fear. It’s saying, “I am what I possess, own or acquire.” It’s saying, “I am the sum of my achievements, accomplishments, or net worth.” A lot of this stems from the book I read by Erich Fromm called, To Have or To Be?. He does a beautiful job of depicting this difference between a having mode of existence and a being mode of existence. If you want to read a summation of a lot of what he says, definitely check out the blog post I published on ThaneMarcus.com titled The False Promise Of Modern Society.
One quote I wanted to share was from page seventeen where he says, “The having orientation characteristic of Western industrial society is characterized by greed for money, fame, and power and those things have become the dominant theme for life.” Our greed for money, fame, and power has become the dominant theme for life. That is true if we’re honest with ourselves. Much of our motivations and lives are run by the pursuit of those three things: money, fame and power. Because of this cultural pressure and because of our inward drive to earn and achieve, we have convinced ourselves that the only path forward is the path of 24/7. It’s the nonstop grind, the mad hustle that is our lives.
When we see that results from this are anxiety, depression, burnout, and a total lack of fulfillment or joy in anything that we do. Feel free to raise your hand if you feel me on this one because I know I feel myself on this. It’s something that we all experience. There’s something that is missing and we’ve tried hard to hack our physiological wirings to become superhuman that we’ve lost our ability to simply be human. Fromm likes to quote this guy Albert Schweitzer and he said, “Man has become a superman, but the superman with the superhuman power has not risen to the level of superhuman reason. To the degree to which his power grows, he becomes more and more a poor man. It must shake up our conscience that we become all the more inhuman, the more we grow into superman.” It’s true because when we start becoming superhuman and superman in what we can produce, what we can achieve, what we can accomplish, we start losing more and more our ability to simply be human and what being human means, what our purpose in being human is, and what our role and function in life is.
Living in a place like LA, this is especially true. It’s truer than most places in the world because LA is a hyper-driven, hyper achievement bubble and culture that a lot of metropolitan city centers are. You may not be in a city center or metropolitan place like LA, but it can still be true wherever you’re at, and it is an individualized concept. Living in a place like LA, it is rare to meet other people who have an intentional practice of rest. This goes for both Christians and non-Christians alike. We think that by working nonstop, we will reach our goals and accomplish our mission that much faster, yet we end up hurting our overall well-being and our total production capacity.
As Fromm calls for in his book, “We must put an end to the present situation where a healthy economy is possible only at the price of unhealthy human beings.” The reality of a society filled with unhealthy humans is becoming increasingly apparent. We can all agree with that. We have sacrificed what being a healthy human is for the sake of a healthy economy. As a Christ-follower, the level of importance that this has is increased tenfold when we look at the priority and emphasis that God places on it.
The most overlooked and forgotten of God’s Ten Commandments given to Moses and the people of Israel and Deuteronomy is the fourth commandment that says, “Observe the Sabbath day and keep it Holy unto the Lord.” This is a big deal, not just to us in our physiology, in our psychology, but also to God and His design for us in this world. It’s funny how we compartmentalize and pick and choose what we want to follow in practice and what we don’t and what we’re going to forget about. So much of that is shaped by culture and society around us. What does this mean? What do I do with this? It is up to you and your convictions between you and the Lord and where you’re at in life. I want to share what I’ve been thinking through and what I’ve done.
For me, it has looked like not proactively striving to get more but actively doing whatever he brings in order to build a base foundation of God dependence in my life, not self-dependence. We’re self-dependent as humans and there’s some good in that, for sure. It’s always about balance. We’re a lot less good at depending and relying on God and also understanding that we’re not the center of the universe and understanding that we aren’t the most important people in the world. Understanding that the things that we’re working on that we’re stressed about and we’re anxious about aren’t that important. We aren’t that essential for what we think we’re doing. The Sabbath is such a helpful tool for helping us remember that.A sabbath is doing things that give life, that give joy, that feels restful. Click To Tweet
I have been dedicating a day each week to the Sabbath. What that looks like is the Sundays which are often thought of as that Sabbath, that day into the Lord. For a lot of people in the church, it isn’t because you serve and you work so much with the church and you’re doing so much that it isn’t an intentional day of rest. God’s design is the Sabbath is an intentional day of rest where it is sacrificed to God, it’s set apart. It’s made Holy to God so that we can return to His design knowing that we’re not ultimately God, and we’re not the ones who create our own destiny. Even though we have a lot of ability to do that, we ultimately don’t make the world go round. It’s a great opportunity to practice that and it takes intention.
Tim Keller on Work and Rest has a great sermon on it. He points out that if we’ve got six days of work and one day of rest, that one day of rest should have that much more intention and effort behind what goes into it than even our days of work because there’s only one of them compared to six of them per week. It is something that we need to take intention into and carry it throughout our practice of it in order to not waste those days but use them well. I have been picking a day during the week. I have to pick it a week in advance because my schedule is all over the place. I look at my schedule, my calendar for the next week and I see which day I can sacrifice to God and then I put Sabbath in big, bold letters in my calendar and set it apart. That means I’m not doing any work on those days. It’s not about the rule, it’s about the heart in it. For me, what that means is I’m not checking any social media. I’m completely off and I’m not doing checking or writing any emails that are work-related or doing anything that’s furthering my career, so to say.
What I am prioritizing is time with Jesus, time with God, time with people, time of rest and time for play and joy. It often will look like a lot of hangs with people, a lot of coffee outings. It will look like a lot of space for time for God’s presence. It will look like a lot of fun things like playing golf with the buddies, or getting a good workout in, or going on a trail run, or being in nature and reading some good books. Doing things that give life, that gives joy, that feel restful, and that will look like different things for different people. That’s why it’s important to be not a legalistic thing, but a freedom thing because it produces that freedom to be our best and true to self.
What I’ve experienced so far is that this practice, it brings more clarity to life, to the decisions I’m making, to what the work is in front of me. It brings more energy. It’s similar to sleeping eight hours. You have the energy for your full capacity and potential. It brings more intention into daily life. When I have a day that’s completely separated from work or anything that I’m trying to accomplish, I get to see what I am trying to accomplish in a better, newer light. It gives me better intention into those daily goals that I’ve laid out in front of me. It also brings more balance as a whole. It is God’s design. He created it this way and we’re going to be most blessed when we follow it. Having one day where we aren’t working will help you be a balanced person even throughout the other six days of working. It brings a better perspective on life and work role. Work isn’t life, work is a part of life and that’s a big difference, but when you work 24/7, work becomes your life and that is an inherently imbalanced place.Work isn’t life, work is a part of life. Click To Tweet
On a base fundamental level, this practice brings more joy, freedom and trust. It is amazing. It is remarkable how much more joy and how much more freedom I live within daily life when I’m weekly practicing the Sabbath. I have been blown away by this and it does produce much greater trust and dependence on God because you’re physically practicing that each and every week. Some questions to think about the ending is, how can I fully detach from my work and follow God’s design? What does that look like for you? What should that look like for you? The other question is to think about what stands in your way? What is keeping you from setting a day aside for rest, for joy, for presence with people, with God? What are the obstacles that are saying that that’s not good? Beyond that, what is the lie that you believe that keeps you from doing it? There’s always some message that we’re subconsciously following that instructs us of why we aren’t doing it. What is that lie? Following that is, what truth do you need to preach to yourself in order to change your perspective or thought process on rest?
Honestly, the only way that you’re going to believe what I’m saying is by experiencing it, by testing it and seeing if it’s true. “Experience is the most expensive currency in the world.” As Whitney Wolfe Herd said, and it’s true. It comes down to experience, to tasting and seeing if it truly is good. I can guarantee you, you will taste that it is good, but don’t take my word for it, try it out. You have to practice it in order to know it. You have to think about what elements should be present in a Sabbath for you because that will look different for everyone. Whether you’re a person of faith or not, this is an important practice that will amplify your work and your clarity, your presence in life, in all aspects of life.
The final question is, how can you commit to and follow through with this practice of rest, regardless of the culture around that surrounds you? We’re always going to have opposition, especially when we’re trying to swim upstream by doing something that isn’t popular in the majority. We have to find ways to commit to what we believe in and then stack the deck in our favor in order to help us follow through. That is the goal. I hope you’ve been blessed by this encouragement to prioritize rest. It has amplified all that I’m striving to do and has become a non-negotiable cornerstone habit for my life. This season of rest is building me up and knowing the importance of the experience of this practice and why I’m going to continue to prioritize it throughout my entire life. That is the goal. I hope it does the same for you and let me know. Let me know what your practice of the Sabbath entails or what you’ve experienced from starting to incorporate this into your own life. Send us an email at TheUpAndComersShow@Gmail.com and we’d love to hear from you on this journey. I hope you have an up and coming week.
- iTunes – The Up and Comers Show
- To Have or To Be?
- The False Promise Of Modern Society – Thane’s blog
- Work and Rest – Tim Keller sermon
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