Slideshow image

I too worshiped busyness; I tried to do and to be many things. Everywhere I turned there was something waiting to be done, deadlines to be met and expectations to fulfill. I became overwhelmed and exhausted.  My heart raced. I felt a weight over me; I was burdened and slow. The harder I worked the less I accomplished. I lost pleasure in my work; it became a chore. Yet I pushed on, longing for an escape, for time to rest.

A health scare in the summer of 2012 brought me up short. Thankfully, it was just a scare and I had a much needed talk with myself. I realised that I was living my life as though I had guarantees. I lived as though I was guaranteed that I would get to grow older and retire. My mantra was ‘when I retire I will rest. When I retire I’ll have time to do this and that’.

God was telling me to stop and to rethink my priorities. He calls us to come to Him and He will give us rest.  In order to enter that rest I made some deliberate choices with regard to work and personal commitments. I also picked up Mark Buchanan’s book ‘The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath’ and read it for the second time. This book is a real treasure in unpacking God’s commandment: ‘Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.’ (Exodus 20:8)

The message I most needed to hear on my second read of this book was the one on disobedience. In Hebrews 4:10 it says, ‘There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let me, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so no-one will fall by following (my) example of disobedience.’

Not only was I being disobedient in my busyness and over-commitments but I was setting a poor example.  No matter how worthy my activities were, I was not obeying God’s rhythm of rest in my life. I was living in defiance and disobedience, working all the time to meet deadlines and expectations. God says ‘even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.’ (Exodus 34:21) Six days He has given me to work, but I wanted seven. I had bought into our cultural and societal norm that busyness, especially at work, is honourable, respected, and expected.

Cultivating Life helps me in developing the rhythm of rest in my life, both daily rest and most especially Sabbath-rest. Sunday is a day free from chores, expectations, emails and cell phones. It’s a day to enjoy the splendour of God’s creation and His company, often with others. It’s a day of life-giving activities. It’s a day lived in obedience to our God.


Brenda is married to Michiel and together they are exploring the joy of Sabbath-Rest.