Since I became self-employed, I’ve worked every day except for Sundays. It was only a few months ago that I decided to take Saturdays off. I did this once I realized that working six days a week made it really hard to turn my brain off on Sundays.
But I’ve realized that these days off, these “non work” times, can’t just be random, do-whatever-I-like days. You know the days you dream about when your workweek is nearing its end: not setting your alarm clock, staying in your pajamas all day, perhaps skipping that morning shower, unless of course you’re a clean freak (which I’m not) or you have a partner who will be all up in your personal space (which I don’t).
I’ve realized that for these days to be what I envision them to be, then I have to implement boundaries around them.
Saturdays, for example, can’t just consist of me gallivanting from one entertaining event to another. (As an L.A.-based artist with a slew of artist friends, this is super easy, even on a weeknight.) As much as I love my friends and family, I can’t attend three friends’ comedy/improv/theatre shows, my cousin’s basketball game, my sister’s sip’n shop, and that prayer meeting at my church that is a forty minute drive from my house—all in one weekend. Saturdays need to consist of what I envision my perfect Saturday to entail: working out, making a yummy breakfast, creating something silly for 14 Days of Funny, and doing one (or maybe two) activity.
It’s the same for the Sabbath. “Resting” can’t just consist of vegging out on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or scrolling through Instagram listlessly. If it’s to be a true rest, a true communion with God, then I must take advantage of the type of communion that I can have with the Spirit on a day when there is no hurry. I can be drawn into prayer through a prompting, instead of a schedule. I can watch TV for relaxation, but only for a couple of hours. As for social media—I try to avoid it, if I can. It’s my way of keeping the Sabbath holy—or separated out from—all of the other days.
I am not perfect with this. Sometimes—for better or for worse—I eschew the boundaries that I have set for myself. Sometimes, like this weekend, a friend comes to town, and I decide to see a play with her on Friday night, I attend a seminar and mixer on Saturday, and then I support another friend’s play Saturday night, and then attend a lunch for other friends visiting from Uganda the following day. Sometimes I give generously of my time and energy because we is more important than me and my boundaries.
Boundaries are good. And necessary. But only insomuch as they help cultivate the life that we were created to live: loving God, loving ourselves, and loving others.