Experts estimate that one out of every four Americans will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives. These are pretty high odds. And there’s a high chance many members of your congregation will suffer or have suffered from a mental health condition.
Mental health is serious, and the church needs to adopt a serious approach to it. Part of this is acknowledging it in our congregations and creating opportunities for those with mental health disorders to get help. Another part is taking the Sabbath seriously.
What is the Sabbath?
According to the creation narrative in the book of Genesis, God rested on the seventh day after six days of creating everything. This is called the Sabbath.
We can’t blame Him for resting. That must’ve been a lot of work. This story brings up the question, “Why does God need to rest?” He’s infinite and all-powerful, so he cannot get exhausted, right?
Well, the answer to that may lie beyond the scopes of our finite intelligence, but we do know that the Sabbath has a lot to do with us as much as it has to do with Him.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by life. Work, bills, school and other responsibilities stack up and often feel like too much to handle. God knows we tend to push ourselves too hard beyond our breaking points. Eventually, this can lead to anxiety, stress and other mental health disorders. That’s why Jesus says this:
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 ESV)
What does a Sabbath day look like today?
So, if the Sabbath was established with humans in mind, what do we do with it? Sunday isn’t much of a Sabbath day for us. Many of us have to get up early, go to morning service, spend time with people afterward and then go to an evening service. Doesn’t sound very restful, does it?
Well, the Sabbath doesn’t need to strictly be on a Sunday. The Sabbath can be any day of the week that you designate for rest and recovery. What is restful and healthy for each person varies depending on personal taste, but generally, a modern Sabbath day includes:
- Thanksgiving — Your Sabbath day is a great time for reflecting on what you have and being thankful for it all. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of striving for more, and this has a lot of negative effects on our mental health. Being thankful on the Sabbath day helps you escape from this cycle of coveting more and stressing yourself to get it.
- Mediation — We’re not suggesting you sit cross-legged and hum mantras (although, good for you if you do), but we’re suggesting you meditate on God and His word. The Sabbath should be a day with time to find rest from your activities and to find peace in the ultimate source of Peace.
- Leisure — Have fun. Plain and simple. If you’re too busy the rest of the week, this is the perfect day to make time to have fun and do what you enjoy!
At Unfiltered Radio, we encourage our listeners to observe the Sabbath, not because it’s righteous or anything like that, but because it’s good for your mental health. When’s the last time you took a Sabbath day? Maybe it’s time to think about starting if it’s been too long.