Lack of time for friendships is easily one of the most common complaints when it comes to doing what we know would develop our friendships toward greater fulfillment. We know that time together bonds us, but where does one find that time?
Plus, it’s a bit of a vicious cycle because the less time we make, the less fulfilling the time together can feel. Which then undoubtedly leaves us even less motivated to make time again at future dates. We find ourselves musing, “Is going out with her occasionally to just catch up on life worth leaving _____________ (fill in the blank with work, kids, romantic person of interest, or whatever feels more compelling) and we can easily drift apart from someone not because we don’t like them, but because we don’t spend enough time together to feel really connected to them.
Our lives are crazy busy– there’s not denying that most people feel that way. And if not busy, then at least full of our routines and responsibilities, which to step away from can feel challenging.
An Ancient Practice Called Sabbath
Enter the practice of Sabbath.
The practice of Sabbath is an ancient spiritual tradition of carving out one day a week to focus on that which is most important to human restoration. For me, my Sabbath is filled with spaciousness–it’s a day where only that which really matters is welcome: family, friends, long conversations, beautiful walks in nature, amazing food, spiritual growth, and acts of service. It’s one day a week where I get off the hamster wheel.
The word literally means “to cease or desist” so for thousands of years people have chosen to stop doing what they do every day: chores, work, errands, consumerism, to-do lists, TV,
packed schedules, and rushed meals, in order to make time for that which feeds their souls. It’s a practice that reminds me that I don’t have to do in order to be be; that my worth doesn’t come from what I accomplish; and that my value isn’t connected to what I buy and own. I rest from trying to “get ahead.” I remind myself I’m good enough without needing to go buy more things. I step away from stress and let my body restore itself.
More and more people are practicing mini-Sabbath’s– blocks of time where they engage in restorative acts, or practicing variations like “No Technology Sabbaths.” I practice, similar to Jews, a Sabbath from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night– a full 24-hours of bliss at the end of my workweek.
The Invitation to Re-Orient Your Life
The invitation to step away from our emails, our productivity, and our household chores might sound nearly impossible for many of us. But just because we live in a culture that runs on consumerism and productivity, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to live.
In fact, the more I researched the value of relationships in preparation for my new book Frientimacy, the more sad I felt that we don’t live in a world that is oriented to that which we most need: love. A few more hours of work hasn’t made anyone healthier and a few more thousand dollars hasn’t made most people happier, but the loss of time for relationships most certainly has made us less healthy and far less happy. Gone is the feeling that we can linger over long conversations, sit on our porches and talk to neighbors, or gather in our tribes every week. We are strewn across this country, far too lonely, and missing deep and meaningful connection. It can break my heart if I think about it too long.
So for me, I can’t snap my fingers and change the world we live in, unfortunately. If I could, I’d make sure we had more vacation days (and actually took them), longer hours to sleep, slower mornings for centering ourselves, spacious evenings with friends and loved ones, and weekends filled with laughter and amazing food. My tendency, if left unchecked, is toward being a workaholic, and yet I know that more work isn’t the answer to feeling valuable. Being in connection with others is the only way to really know we’re loved and feel seen and valued. I know that.
So, for me, my Sabbaths are when I remember that truth. I step away… in order to step in to something that matters more. I can’t reorient our entire culture (but God help me I’ll keep trying! ha!) but we can each practice re-orienting ourselves toward that which matters most. We can choose to let love and relationship be our focus. We may not be able to do it all the time, but maybe we can do it one day a week?
Because you’re right– we don’t have time for our friendships the way we’re doing life now. So we have to decide if we’re okay with that. And if we’re not, then we have to stop doing something in order to make time for something that matters even more. We can’t just say yes to more love, without also saying no to something else.
For me– a day dedicated to that which I most value helps ground me, heal my body, re-focus me on my priorities, and remind me why I do what I do the other 6 days of the week. What can you do that would help give you the space and time for your friendships? If you were to try it, what could a Sabbath practice look like for you?
Announcement: Inviting You to My Sabbath Practice!
You are invited to join me for 7 Sabbaths in a row where I will teach and inspire toward deeper friendships for one hour. I typically don’t work on Saturdays but I feel compelled to foster the space for us to spend an hour together reminding ourselves of how significant love is to our lives and what we can do to develop greater intimacy around us. The calls will be recorded so if you can’t join us on Saturdays, then you can listen anytime in the week that’s convenient to you! Join me for 42 Days of Frientimacy!