The lines between work and daily life have become blurred. The pandemic forced many people to merge those two worlds together and work from home, but that pressure has meant that more than ever our culture is pushing work deeper into our private lives and homes.
Spiritual teacher and founding president of the Transforming Center Ruth Haley Barton wants to rediscover the balance between work and rest in the midst of our tumultuous culture.
Embracing Rhythms of Work and Rest: From Sabbath to Sabbatical and Back Again is the most recent in her long line of faith-based resources exploring the importance of rhythms in leadership, spiritual health, and daily life. She previously wrote Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership and Sacred Rhythms.
“When we cannot find enough time and… find ourselves getting up earlier and going to bed later because we have too much to do, we can see this as a sign to make some changes in our lives. When we allow ourselves to be driven like this for too long, we end up doing violence to time, to ourselves, and to our blood pressure,” says the introduction.
Backing up a bit
Her work has focused on consulting with leadership teams in organizational and religious settings and guiding leadership development.
“Ruth Haley Barton has been a guide to so many leaders, including me, to make intentional and radical choices in order to live a sustainable life. A picture of such a life is painted here with the wisdom of Scripture and practical examples, in the stories of real people who deal with children, jobs, bills to pay, and the pervasive intrusion of technology,” says leadership coach Samantha Beach Kiley.
Spiritual rhythms have been one of the central focuses of her career as a writer and spiritual leader. Speaking in a 2011 interview, she spoke about the importance of rhythms in spiritual fulfillment and life.
“The phrase ‘spiritual rhythms’ is a way of talking about the traditional Christian practice of establishing a rule of life—an intentional arrangement of spiritual practices, attitudes, and relationships by which I regularly and routinely make myself available for God’s work of transformation in my life,” says Barton.
“I have come to enjoy the language of rhythms because it provides relief from some of the more heavy-handed and rigid approaches to the spiritual life and instead draws upon the beauty and delight of the natural rhythms in the created order.”
Her newest book explores rhythms within the concept of work-life balance, exploring how the gift of the sabbath can slowly benefit us.
“In our frenzied culture, the possibility of living in balanced rhythms of work and rest often feels elusive… Most know they need rest but might be surprised to find within themselves a deep resistance to letting go and resting in God one day a week, let alone for longer seasons of sabbatical,” says InterVarsity Press.
“Sabbath is more than a practice—it is a way of life ordered around God’s invitation to regular rhythms of work, rest, and replenishment that will sustain us for the long haul of life in leadership.”
The book is set to release on October 11, 2022, by InterVarsity Press, including a foreword from Ronald Rolheiser.