It can be a troubling time. Wikipedia calls it “post-vacation blues” - a time when the end of vacation can result in various levels of anxiety or depression. Unfortunately, this problem is fueled by a certain view of life: vacation = good; work = bad. The end of summer highlights this perspective. But we also carry it with us the rest of the year. We compartmentalize our lives (work/home, weekends/weekdays, summer/school year, etc...). We live differently in each “compartment” of life. Even our faith reflects such a view, summarized by the term “Sunday Christian.”
But as Christians, we aren’t called to follow Jesus some of the time. And rest and relaxation isn’t supposed to be a summer or weekend luxury. The encouragement in Hebrews to “make every effort to enter [God’s] rest” (13:11) is a call for how we live our whole lives. Which is why we need to find ways to incorporate rest into all of life.
I have two pretty straightforward questions for consideration (with some suggestions to guide your reflection):
- What priorities guide your schedule (e.g. money, family, recreation, etc...)?
-Pray the Lord’s Prayer as you reflect on this question.
- What steps can you take to make rest part of your whole life?
-Pray the Lord’s Prayer again, allowing it to direct your priorities (e.g. work can be God’s way of meeting our needs - “daily bread” - but working lots and lots to accumulate excess wealth may not be “[God’s] will on earth as it is in heaven”).
I’ll leave you with this prayer from the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith:
On the seventh day God finished all the work of His hands,
and He rested from all His labors.
O Lord, You thought it a good thing
what You had done.
Help us to do the same.
Help us to rest, thankful for our daily bread.
Help us to rest, enjoying a sweet foretaste of eternal peace.
Help us to rest, relying on your goodness,
and not on our own activity.
Help us to worship You, the giver of every perfect gift,
and slow us down
so that we can
be still and know that You are God.