A Writer’s Sabbath in a 24/7 World
BLOGGER: SARAH SUNDIN
Historical novelist Sarah Sundin will serve as a mentor for the Morning Mentoring Clinic, teach an Afternoon Workshop, and serve on the Critique Team at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.
While the life of a writer sounds idyllic—spinning stories and autographing books—the reality is a whirlwind. When my fourth novel released in 2012, I worked nonstop—writing, emails, Facebook, interviews, Twitter, newsletters, articles, speaking engagements. By November, I was a wreck.
I haven’t been a big fan of “God’s One Word of the Year for You.” One word only? Every January 1? Right on schedule? Really? However, in 2013 a word emerged for me. Granted, God gave it to me in February. But I knew it was from God because I didn’t want to hear it.
To most of us Sabbath means going to church every Sunday. Sure, we can do that. But God’s commandment is much more than this. It’s a command to rest.
Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.”
If the Lord Almighty took a day off, so should we! The Lord knows our tendency to run ourselves ragged. Before creation, he knew we would live in a 24/7 world with our faces glued to our screens. The Lord made us, and He knows we need rest.
The command to rest is an exercise in trust. Do we trust the Lord to help us meet our commitments, even if we take time off? Like the manna in the desert that decayed when the Israelites gathered too much, the time we “steal” from the Lord decays in our hands. We end up burned out and less productive than if we’d rested in the first place.
How loving and merciful He is to command us to rest. Yet we resist, like toddlers being put down for naps.
What does Sabbath rest look like for a professional writer living in a 24/7 world, where deadlines need to be met, emails need to be answered, and social media needs to be updated? How can we incorporate Sabbath into our lives?
For me, this means a two-pronged approach. First, I’ve trimmed things down. Instead of jumping on each writing or promotional opportunity, I evaluate it. Does it meet my career goals in a significant way? Will it reach new readers, connect with current readers, or minister to people? If not, I’ll pass.
Second, I’m intentionally working Sabbath into my routines. Daily—time in the Bible and in prayer, plus regular breaks to walk the dog or read a novel. Weekly—in addition to Sunday services, taking a day off—except the daily internet necessities (sigh). Yearly—a vacation focused on family and being outside.
How about you? How can you incorporate Sabbath into your life?
Meet Sarah Sundin at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.