Christmas Anxiety Series: RetreatingThu Dec 23
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Hey, Sandals Church. You know, sometimes when we’re dealing with stress and anxiety, what we just need to do is to take time off. Our lives are so busy. Our interior life is so hurried that we just need time away. And that could be a day off, or it could be extended time off. Busyness is no stranger to Jesus and the disciples. Mark 6, it says they were so busy with the life of ministry, this life that they had chosen in service to God that they didn’t even have time for a meal. Does that sound familiar to you? Do you ever just let your days go by, and you realize you’ve not eaten anything all day because you’ve been so busy? Well, that was the case for them as well. Now you might say to yourself, “But I take at least a day off every week, and so I don’t understand how a day off can help me.” Well, oftentimes, days off can fall into one of three categories. One, they can be wasteful. We literally stop, doing nothing; we just check out. Maybe you’re playing video games all the time, or you’re just numbing out with whatever. You’re checking out. You’re not doing anything. It’s just wasteful time. Another way that time off can be unhelpful to us is we overconsume, we binge on stuff, right? Like bingeing on our streaming service, or bingeing on food, or bingeing on other things. Another way time off can be unhelpful is what I like to call manipulated time off. And that’s the time off that’s like, “Well, I’ve gotta go do this thing over here.” Maybe it’s something with the kids or something with the family, or something that “I’ve just got to go do these things.” And that’s how you spend your time off. Listen, God invites us to take time off that is restful. Now some people will call that Sabbath, and I’ll talk about that here just really briefly. In Sabbath, primarily, the main thing we’re doing is we’re focusing on loving God and being loved by God, delighting in God and delighting in God’s good gifts to us. And so Sabbath typically centers around four key things of worship, unplugging, taking a real rest, and then also a time for just enjoying God. And so, whatever that looks like for you, that can be a part of your Sabbath. But sometimes, we need to do what’s called an extended time off like vacation time. And again, vacation time can be super busy. You ever heard the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation”? Listen, sometimes we gotta figure out how to do extended time off in a way where we are actually rested. So when we do extended time off, there’s a few things that we can do. And that one, it’s a great time to reevaluate our current commitments. We pull back from everything, and we look and we go, “What am I currently doing and what do I need to let go of? The next thing in an extended time off is to begin new practices. What’s a new practice you can incorporate in your life that when you go back to the regular rhythms will actually be helpful to you? Sometimes extended time off, we invest in taking a real rest, getting extra sleep, maybe getting back into exercise, things that help our mental and emotional and physical bodies. Listen, I hope these thoughts about Sabbath, or weekly time off, or extended time off, have been really helpful to you as you think about dealing with stress and anxiety in your everyday life. Thanks for listening.