Like most teachers, the final class before summer signals a belly-deep sigh of relief. 9 months, 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week, and hundreds of students and families is draining, especially for more introverted teachers, like me. I’ve often used summer to catch up on favorite TV shows and social media, read books FOR FUN, and sleep past 5:30 AM.
Yet is this what God really meant when He commanded sabbath rest?
John Mark Comer, author and pastor, argues that sabbath is “a full day set aside to celebrate our life with God in His world.”
Could summer break be God’s answer to the often-draining work of teaching? Is our mindset around summer break somewhat misguided? Could God be calling us into a sabbatical as part of our teaching rhythms?
The original Sabbath command, found in Exodus 20, is a way to replicate what God did after working 6 days and resting on the seventh. The Israelites were also commanded to rest the land every seventh year, as seen in Leviticus 25.
As teachers, we work almost 10 months, with 1-2 months of summer. I want to challenge us to view those months off as God’s gift of sabbath rest and His invitation into the sabbath rhythm.
Here are a few ways to practice summer sabbath:
- “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
With your church or on your own, seek out a time of solitude with the Lord. This might be booking a time of solitude at a local monastery, camping, or attending a retreat. Glen Eyrie, in Colorado Springs, offers an Educators’ Repose during the summer months. The beauty of booking a time like this during the summer is that you don’t have to worry about sub plans!
- No Teaching Allowed!
Challenge yourself to not do anything school related for 1-2 weeks. There will always be more things to prep for, but by allowing yourself a true mental break from teaching, your heart and mind will be better prepared for the upcoming year. Go 1 step further and create an “out-of-office” message for your school (and maybe) personal email.
I often think that taking a break means being on my phone or watching hours of TV. Usually, though, I end those times feeling more drained and discouraged. Use your summer sabbath to break unhealthy screen habits before they become addictions. As you prepare for the year ahead, look to what the Lord says is true about rest and dive into that.
God delights in His creation and created us to do the same! Use summer sabbath to explore what God delights in at home or around the world. This is the time to savor a long meal with a friend, hike during the weekday, or linger over conversation and a cup of great coffee or tea DURING “school hours.” Seek out the delights of the Lord during your summer sabbath.
I’m sure there are many other ways to experience summer sabbath; these are just the tip of the iceberg! Remember, though, sabbath IS a command from God to rest from work, worship Him, and do so in community.
May you enjoy your summer sabbath and delight in the One who created You!