Stress is increasingly describing our work experience. Statistics in North America indicate that our work life is far from healthy. In a recent survey, 79% of respondents indicated experiencing work-related stress during the previous month. In another survey, over half of respondents indicated that they are experiencing burnout—a nearly 10% rise from pre-COVID levels.
Part of the problem is that we cannot get ourselves to unplug. Over 50% of workers are finding it more difficult to leave work aside during “off-hours” than they did pre-COVID. Here is an interesting indicator: only 6% of remote workers report that they ‘never’ check work-related email during their off-hours.
We just can’t stop. Unless we work from rest.
A Better Way
We know the phrase, ‘you need to rest from your work.’ That helpful reminder still puts work as the dominant piece of our identity though. Does work really define us? Is rest only an escape from work, or is it something more?
When we put work first, we are making rest a practical tool to be more efficient at work. We all know the analogies of resting more and then miraculously producing more. There is truth behind the truism—but productivity really is not the highest goal in life.
If we are looking for healthy living, there is another way to live than defining all of life by work. Life can be experienced by multiplying rest rather than escaping from work. We just need to know where to start.
Starting with Rest
A quick question: when does the biblical Sabbath start? Based on a variety of Scripture texts, the answer clearly lands on sundown. What a beautiful way to be reminded that Sabbath is to be a day of relying on God rather than ourselves. The start of Sabbath rest is trusting God during my most vulnerable time—when I am asleep and unable to work.
And now, a follow up question. When do our other 6 days start? Based on the rhythm that God established at creation, sundown is the start of every single day of the week. Now that is a counter-formative practice—envisioning the start of my day at sundown.
On a daily basis, we work from our rest.
Reviewing my to-do-list in the morning is not the start of my day. Trusting God as I go to sleep at night is the counter-formative practice that I do to start every day. It is a daily practice that shapes me during the week, and prepares me for a transformative delight with God on Sabbath, rather than a self-focused recharging of my batteries.
Working from Rest
Resting from our work is a good practice. Working from our rest is an opportunity for healthy living that multiplies rest. We have that opportunity every day at sundown and every week with Sabbath rest.
 Thank you to Jason Eddy of PIR ministries for reminding me of this phrase. The phrase, “working from rest” is popularly used in a number of writings, such as: https://www.jesuscalling.com/blog/working-from-a-place-of-rest/.
 Thank you to Jimmy Mellado, CEO of Compassion International, for introducing me to this concept of rest before work every day of the week. https://www.compassion.com/executives/santiago-jimmy-mellado.htm