As humans, we seem to be programmed to go and do, to work and try harder. In the spiritual life this usually translates into a lot of striving, imagining that the more we do, the closer we’ll get.

Ruth Haley Barton knows this situation well, and writes for those who also know about it firsthand. Not only do we need to rest, for emotional and physical reasons, and to be better members of our families and communities, but we need rest to experience the rhythms of what is Divine. That’s the message of this book.

A Protestant Christian herself, Barton takes an ecumenical and somewhat interfaith approach. The foreword to her book is written by Catholic priest and bestselling author, Ronald Rolheiser, and the quotes that Barton uses to open the first two chapters are — appropriately — from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s classic work on the Sabbath. The first of those quotes is this one: “Sabbath is the most precious present humankind has received from the treasure house of God.” Barton agrees wholeheartedly and shows the reader how to make room in their lives for this treasure.

She says — and more importantly, shows — that joy and delight are the result of sabbath-keeping. It is also the way to rediscover “our true identity,” when God effectively “speaks into our souls and whispers… 'Remember who you are—you are precious in my sight and I love you.' ”

How to do sabbath-keeping? In community, is chapter 4. By finding the power in unplugging, is chapter 5. Realizing the difference between sabbath rest and joy, on the one hand, and vacation “down time,” on the other — that’s chapter 11. Chapter 8’s “Shaping Sabbath” includes what Barton calls “a spirituality of limits” which includes advice on when not to spend money and how to rethink work commitments.

The ends of each chapter are special sections Barton calls “What Your Soul Wants to Say to God,” with specific spiritual practice ideas. Sometimes these practices involve journaling, questions, and also the suggestion of prayer: “Speak to God directly about this,” she writes at one point. The practices are wide-ranging and often include ways to involve others (in your family, at your work) and help others (including those in authority you value and want to be healthy) find sabbath too.