Part 3 of the ADHD and Spiritual Formation Series
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20: 8-11
The root word ‘shabhath’ in Hebrew means to: desist, cease, or rest.
As Christians we honour God, our bodies, and our minds by taking meaningful and intentional time to rest. Despite Sabbath being a great way for self-renewal, it is also a commandment. It sounds unbelievable that God would have to command us to take some time to rest, but I think God knows very well that in a world of injustice, rest would sometimes become a luxury afforded to only the fortunate.
Those of us with ADHD have an additional need for rest and ceasing from non-stop activity and even more importantly non-stop thinking. With attention deficit, it can be difficult to unwind our minds; we spend much energy hyper focusing, worrying, thinking, stressing, and daydreaming. No wonder some of us are more easily fatigued than the average person.
When we don’t take time to rest, our executive functioning becomes an even greater challenge than it already is. A lack of rest from work and other activities prevents us from being able to manage some of the following executive functions: keeping track of time and finishing our work on time; keeping track of more than one thing at a time; changing course in the midst of reading, writing, or speaking; censoring inappropriate thoughts or behaviours; remembering details.
In addition to resting, regular Sabbaths are an opportunity to spend quality and quantity time with God. This time of ceasing from the mundane gives us extra time to spend on spiritual matters. Having that extra time can be used for things like personal musical worship, extended study of the bible or devotionals, going for physically non-strenuous walks or bike rides, it might even mean sleeping in and lying in bed for a few extra hours.
“Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
Some people are quite rigid about how they define and live a Sabbath life, but I’m not here to tell you exactly how you are to honour this commandment. Jesus warned us about taking God’s commandments to ridiculous levels. Creating appropriate ways of experiencing holy rest is going to be different for everyone. I work shift work and there is no way that I would be able to dedicate every single Sunday as a Sabbath day. I also don’t use it as a day to unplug from technology because listening to sermons online and enjoying classical music via my laptop is very relaxing for me.
Prayerfully consider when and how you will engage in holy rest. Regardless of how you choose to develop this spiritual discipline, we do so remembering that this is a time to connect with God by giving our body and mind intentional rest. By connecting with God and our self, we are then better equipped to be in community with others in our personal life and our work life.
Is your spouse and/or children supportive and respectful of your Sabbath?
What will you be doing and not doing during this time of rest?
What does holy rest mean to you? What does it look like in your life?
How are you connecting with God during this time? How are you connecting to your self during this time?