You see the signs up all around us from time to time. “Sorry. Shut down for routine maintenance.”
You will see this sign on elevators and escalators, computers and automobiles. There is even a suggested routine for maintenance of the human body.
What you won’t find is a sign we can put on our office doors or the front doors of our homes that reads, “Sorry. Mike is shut down for routine maintenance.”
For some reason, we understand that everything needs a time to be cleaned out, internal parts checked for wear and replaced if necessary, and the fluid levels checked. All of us know what happens when we let the oil level in our cars run too low.
And whether we recognize it or not, we know what happens when our own lives go too long without routine maintenance — fatigue, anger, depression, aggravation, and all kinds of physical issues such as headaches, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure. . . and the list goes on and on.
We’ve put such a premium on hearing everyone else’s voice —email, texting, podcasts and even talking on the phone (as antiquated as that sounds) means our world is constantly talking to us. So much so, we’re to the point where we can’t hear our own voices.
Sabbaths are designed to unplug, disconnect, get quiet and listen. . .as we need to hear the voices of pain, hurt, joy and hope that accumulate in our lives during the week. We need time to make sure we’re paying attention to those things that are important in our lives.
If we don’t, we end up just reacting to the noise around us. Without intentionally shutting down on the Sabbath, we end up getting clogged up, wearing out and eventually breaking down. Everything needs routine maintenance, even our own souls.
So, find a time this week and begin to practice Sabbath. Start with at least 10 minutes a day, work up from there and then, on Sunday (or Saturday if that’s your day), turn everything off. Make time for relationships, for conversations, and for rest.
If it helps, get yourself a sign that reads, “Sorry. Shut down for routine maintenance.”