That rule sticks out in what is otherwise a list of 10 basic moral guidelines. I feel like not working seven days in a row and not murdering should be on two separate lists of rules.
On top of that weirdness, taking a day off is also featured in the creation story where it takes up a whole day along with the making of the universe, life, and consciousness.
That is two of the most popular stories in one of the oldest books in the world mentioning having a day off — a day when work is off limits.
When you look at it this way, you get a nagging feeling that we may be underrating the importance of taking a day off — I mean, I’ll do it if I get my homework done on Saturday.
I began taking a day off while I was still working 12 hours a day 6 days a week. I didn’t make it an explicit rule. I just decided to find time to clean , do groceries, and wash laundry during the week so I could enjoy at least one day per week.
It had a revolutionary effect. Going hiking or hanging out with people I love had a far greater energizing effect than sleeping in and getting caught up on my chores.
It is such a great energizer that I easily found the extra power to get my chores done even when I got home from work at 9 pm. Within a few years I was one of the most active people I knew, while still maintaining a 70–80 hour work week.
I didn’t really know how it worked, but when I started looking at the Bible as a super old book full of the kind of wisdom that never dies, the picture started becoming more clear.
The Bible is about love and we only get a certain amount of time to love, getting things done comes in a distant second.
Actually, the more you look at it the more baffling it becomes. We only live once. We are going to die. We don’t know what happens after that. Why are we not more concerned with loving life every day?
Work is necessary and even meaningful, but we are free and conscious beings and to allow ourselves to be trapped in a web of commitments and responsibilities is as sad as a bird in a cage.
In fact, it is more sad than a bird in a cage. It is a bird sitting on a tree branch overlooking the most beautiful lush valley and believing it can’t fly.
We get our selves trapped by to-do lists. Even if we don’t actually do anything, we still end up exhausted from the stress of thinking we should be doing something.
Sure it feels nice to have all your chores done and to be great at your job, but what about enjoying being alive? The whole week you work and plan for the future, but when will the future come. It seems fair to enjoy the here and now once a week. When you think about it even seems like it would be a crime not to.
Taking a day off is an exercise in realizing you exist. It is creating time and space where nothing can push and prod you. You can just listen to your soul and obey. Your beehive mind, your cravings, your job, your possessions, and your to-do list all take a back seat while you get your fill on real life.
Take a day to rest. Make it holy. Make it more important than anything on your to do list. The feeling of freedom is unbelievable.
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