Keeping the Sabbath

April 27, 2013
Sarah Ens |

I am a wonderful time-waster. My skills at procrastinating are top notch. So when exam season again reared it’s so very ugly head this month, I managed to do just about anything but actually study.

The day before my German exam was a Study Day. It was a day to hunker down, ignore the rest of the world, and try as hard as I could to memorize prepositions. I woke up in the morning determined. I turned on my computer and opened the ever-helpful Google Translate tab. And then I opened another tab. One for Facebook. I browsed my news feed. I clicked through some pictures. 40 minutes later I was looking at the Grade 12 prom dress of a girl I had met in first year university but had not kept in touch with. Oops. One accepted brunch invitation, a few old episodes of America’s Next Top Model, a bit of in-depth Game of Thrones character research, and a few hours of moving stuff around in my apartment in the name of “packing” later, and it was 7pm and I couldn’t remember a single German preposition, nevermind noun or verb.

I panicked, cried, and stayed up most of the night cramming. In the end, I pulled through the exam alright despite my extremely poor study session, but I’m still wondering why I did that to myself. I have a feeling that my less-than-love of the German language and fantastic ability to avoid the To Do list were not the only culprits.

When I was out for brunch, on the German Supposed-To-Study Day, my friend told me about her mom’s new husband. She told me about how, as a Seventh-Day Adventist, his spirituality occupied all aspects of his life. Bodily health and wellness are a practice of his faith in the same way as is attending church, and so he abstains from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs including caffeine, doesn’t eat meat, exercises regularly and—-he takes a day of rest.

I’m not sure why I have sanctioned God off to what I label the “religious” part of my life, as if it could be separated. I’m not sure why the way I treat my body, the way I use my time, is disconnected from my spirituality. What would happen if I took a day of rest? True resting, instead of time wasting. A day in which I could put down the To Do list and focus on my body or my family and in doing so, focus on God instead of eyeing down the things I’ve got to do while simultaneously finding ways to put them off.

Maybe I’d be refocused and re-energized for the other six days of the week of work. Maybe I’d feel closer to God. Maybe I’d feel less stressed out. …Or maybe I’d end up watching all 19 seasons of America’s Next Top Model.

I think it’s worth a try. So: Welcome, God, into my wasted time. Help me turn it into spiritual rest.

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