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The Spirituality of Taking a Time Out

The spirituality of taking a time out

Do you ever feel like you can’t keep up?

Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up, or if the news and duties of life will run me over.

The world just keeps going and I want to yell at the world’s referee as I call a time out to make it all stop.

But there is no referee, at least not one who will make it all stop. And in our culture, it seems as though there are no time outs. 

I have to remind myself that no matter what our culture says, I need to take a time out. In fact, ancient spiritual wisdom has been telling us for thousands of years about the importance of a break.

 

Exodus – Taking a Time Out

The ancient Hebrews noticed something true about being human – we need time outs. When the world keeps going and never seems to stop, they knew that it is important to stop and take some time for themselves.

You can read the story in the book of Exodus. The Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. It was a culture that never let the Hebrews stop working. They had to keep producing in order to satisfy the demands of the Egyptian culture.

The Hebrews cried out in their oppression. God heard the cry of the oppressed and worked for their deliverance. After the Hebrews escaped Egypt, God told them that no one should live that way because everyone needs a break. The Hebrews called this time out the Sabbath. It was one day a week where nobody did any work and people could rest. It was a reminder that their value wasn’t based on how much they produced. Their value was based on the fact that they were human.

 

Even Jesus Needed a Time Out

Jesus also knew the importance of taking a time out. There are stories of him taking naps in a boat. I love those stories. Even the Son of God needed a nap! Naps are a godly time out.

Even more, we often see Jesus going off to a deserted place to be by himself for a while. It seems to me that Jesus took these time outs to be by himself with God. Jesus didn’t have social media or television to distract him, but there were so many people demanding his attention and trying to influence him that he needed to get away from the pressures of his disciples and the crowds.

No doubt, Jesus needed a time out for self-care. And again, if the Son of God needed some self-care, you probably do, too.

And part of that self-care included time for Jesus to reconnect with the things that truly matter. The demands of his culture and the news of his day had their place. But Jesus knew they shouldn’t run his life.

 

The Importance of the Sabbath

And so the Hebrews knew that the Sabbath needs to be a pattern in our lives. And even Jesus needed time outs. 

So if you find yourself feeling buried by the avalanche of the hourly news cycle, you are not alone.

If you find yourself unable to keep up with the demands of life, you are not alone.

If you find yourself needing a time out, you are not alone.

I’m constantly reminding myself that I need a break. The news and the demands of life will continue whether or not I take a break. So I might as well take a break. After all, even Jesus needed a time out.

Adam Ericksen

Adam Ericksen

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