Sometimes I practice the limit of Sabbath. Or at least I used to and still want to.
I have a habit of making lists upon lists, upon lists. I make lists of the lists I need to make. Currently, I make a list of things I need to get done each week, and oddly, the longer the list, the more productive I am. It’s not just that I get all the items done; it’s also that the more I have to do and the more limited I feel about my time, the more I just move into the work and get it done.
I think Sabbath offers this paradoxical grace to our lives: it calls us to rest one day, but it also calls us to higher productivity on the other days. When I set a limit, when I say these things must be done within that time frame, I must get them done. There’s a greater focus, a more productive pursuit.
I find this with my kids too. If I tell them they can watch one show, they actually watch it, intently. When they sit down in front of the T.V. without a defined limit, they are distracted, doing many things at once, but not actually doing any one thing.
Being a stay-at-home mom can be hard because there’s no limit on the amount of time I give my kids. It’s all day, everyday. Without the limits, though, I’m often spending time with them while also doing many things, but not actually spending quality time with them.
I think limits offer a gift of presence, of right-here-right-now fully invested living.