Does Science Say Our Brain Needs the Sabbath?
My toddler sons refused to nap while the sun blazed high in the sky. If they didn’t rest, our afternoon would be doomed to explode into cranky tears, tantrums, and excessive whining.
After settling them into their beds and reading a story, I would gently close the door. No sooner had the door clicked, I would hear their tiny feet pitter-pattering out across the carpet to the window. The crunching of the Venetian blinds alerted me that they were staring out at the sunny world outside.
When I returned to check on them twenty minutes later, I would often find their little bodies collapsed in the middle of the floor with toys or books strewn all around. Scooping them up, I would gently lie them back in bed so they could rest well.
My body also needs rest or else a tantrum brews under my skin, excessive whining rolls off my tongue, and I explode into cranky tears.
Science Says Our Brains Need Rest
According to Psychology Today, time away from work, school, and a busy life style is crucial to the health of our brain. When we are tired, we can’t think creatively or tackle complex problems.
Dr. Chapman states, “The scientific explanation for this: The frontal lobe brain networks—responsible for reasoning, planning, decision-making, and judgment—work for you in creative ways when the brain is quiet, not while you are effortfully trying to find a solution to a problem.”
Adults and children alike need rest. But why is it so hard to rest even though the Lord commands us?
Any other day of the week when my boss allows me to have a day off- I’m eager to celebrate a holiday.
So why don’t we approach the Sabbath day in the same way?
God gives us a holiday every week to rejoice and celebrate the glory of our Creator.
Our bodies, mind, and soul need continual refreshment. Doctors and scientists are in agreement, but Our Creator is the one who has gifted us with the Sabbath.
Apparently God wants us to physically rest instead of cooking. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. Listen to what he says below:
Exodus 16:23 He told them, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil.”
So, what is so hard with cooking extra the day before and then eating left-overs the next day?
I’m all for it, but I know my sons won’t enthusiastically embrace left-overs unless it’s pizza. So while, I’m on the subject on unenthusiastic people.
Solemn doesn’t mean gloomy. Our rest should be joyful. Since we are resting physically, we can focus on our spiritual well-being which is often neglected or pushed aside in our sometimes chaotic lives.
I don’t know about you, but I find it very difficult to “commune” with God while I’m in the office. I always need to go for a walk to separate myself from my work in order to relax and focus.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who is tempted to break the fourth commandment by doing whatever I want to do. Read what the Lord says in Isaiah:
If you turn your foot from breaking the Sabbath,
from doing as you please on My holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
if you honor it by not going your own way
or seeking your own pleasure or speaking idle words,
then you will delight yourself in the LORD, Isaiah 58: 13 – 14 BSB
Sabbath Activities are a blessing
The Sabbath blesses us with the opportunity to meet with God without having to watch the clock. To be able to meet with other believers, and rejoice together in the glory of our Creator is a blessing.
The only true rest for our body, mind, and soul is found in Christ Jesus.
Remembering everything that He has done for us in the past, encourages us to trust in Him.
On the Sabbath you can read your bible taking time to think about the verses, investigating it, and then applying it to the current situations in your life. Not mindlessly reading, but carefully study the word which requires time for prayer and deep reflection.
Other worthwhile Sabbath activities could be writing about the bible, talking to people about scripture, and even writing encouraging letters to family, friends, and co-workers.
To relieve your mind and eyes from the strain of studying, lift up the Lord with songs. Music melts away worry, tension, and anxiousness.
Be careful not to fall into the legalistic trap of the Pharisees and accuse others of not following the Sabbath. Because some things classified as work can be done on the Sabbath.
Luke 6:9 BSB Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”
Jesus healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath. He taught in the synagogue, walked through a grain field, and was resurrected all on the Sabbath. Doing good is allowed.
So next week, cook twice the amount the day before and eat left-overs on the Sabbath. Do all your work in six days and even if you don’t finish the list…leave it until Monday. Teach your sons, daughters, and employees to do the same.
For the Lord said:
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God, on which you must not do any work—neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant or livestock, nor the foreigner within your gates. Exodus 20:9 BSB
Will you Pray With Me?
Heavenly Father we Praise you for being our True Rest. Thank you for scooping up our exhausted bodies, minds, and souls when we push ourselves to utter physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Heal us Lord. Forgive us when we do not view the Sabbath as holy, or set it aside as a day to spend with you. Help us Lord to Delight in You, there we will find rest. In Jesus Name, I pray Amen.
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Chapman, S.B. (2014). Why Your Mind Needs A Break. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/make-your-brain-smarter/201406/why-your-mind-needs-break