We were driving down Lakeshore when I felt a gentle nudge inside. She had been talking about Sabbath and rest and my voice quickly, sharply responded with “That’s great for you and I’m glad you’re choosing Sabbath, but I just don’t have time for that.”
I ignored it though, clinging to my pride, my planner and my too long list of to-dos. I didn’t have time for Sabbath. I went about the rest of my day getting things done and checking boxes off, unaware that my short comment would replay itself until I finally dealt with my own too-busy self.
“I just don’t have time for that.” Lord, help me.
I’ve been convicted of my disobedience when it comes to Sabbath oh, every single time there’s a Sunday message dedicated to the topic. I squirm inside and wonder why I wrestle with feeling guilty but too tired to do anything about it.
Turns out you can know the commandment and that you should follow His lead, but ‘real life’ sweeps in and you’re caught in the current with no exit in sight. I wasn’t rested, wasn’t ready for a new week, and sure didn’t see an end to the raging rapids that I’d jumped into.
Last year I got a little crazy – probably the result of feeling more than a little guilty – and decided I’d try it just one time. One Sunday for the purpose of Sabbath.
Not Sunday because it’s the Lord’s day or because I’m already at church or even because “that’s what you’re supposed to pick.” Oh, no. Sunday because it was the easiest option. For me, Monday-Friday is craziness wrapped up in this thing called school and life. Saturday I knock out my homework and see friends or explore the city I call home. And Sunday… well, Sunday I go to church and chapter at night but the middle was wide open.
(Actually, that’s not true. It was full of homework and a bit of everything I had procrastinated on all week. But it was more open than any other day.)
Sunday it was.
Sunday it still is.
My favorite day of the week takes more work than you’d likely expect. I have to work hard at resting. But choosing Sabbath has changed everything. And yeah, I’ve really thought about that sentence and if it’s true.
It is. Choosing Sabbath has changed everything.
This is my challenge to you: One time. Try it one time. Not “toe in the water, kinda maybe I’ll give it a shot.” No, you’ve got to go full out Sabbath and see what I mean. It doesn’t have to be Sunday. Maybe for you Sabbath will look like a 4-hour block of time, not a full day. Just carve it out and stay true to your commitment.
What choosing Sabbath looks like for me and a few “pointers” to help you out:
1) Choosing Sabbath takes work. Yep, sometimes you’ve got to work to then rest. For me, choosing Sabbath sometimes looks like chasing Sabbath. It can mean writing it in my planner so I don’t schedule anything else. Choosing Sabbath means saying no to a lot of things so I can say yes to Him. Sometimes I have to chase down my hours throughout the week so that Sunday remains set aside and set apart.
2) Sabbath is not about a day of the week, it’s about the state of your heart. It doesn’t really matter if your Sabbath is Sunday, Tuesday, or Friday. If you’re resting and fully present in Sabbath – whenever it is for you – then that is good. (Not “good enough” because we’re not playing by those rules here. It is simply good, so good.)
3) Sabbath is not legalistic. Life happens and things come up. I work extra hard all week so I can spend Sunday resting, but if a friend calls me while I’m knocking out a few projects Saturday afternoon, I’m going to go be with my friend who needs me. Does that mean the project may move to Sunday? Yeah, it might. I do my best to leave the full day free, but not at the sake of ignoring those who love me and need me. Sabbath is a command to follow but viewing it as a rule that you can never break is not the goal here.
4) What exactly does Sabbath look like? For me, Sabbath is my day to rest in every way. It’s my free day, open to whatever sounds good and nice and lovely. I can take a nap or meet a friend for coffee. I can read a good book or watch a little Netflix or go for a long drive while singing along to worship music. I can pack a lunch and eat in the park or bike on the trail. It isn’t so much about being inactive as it is about being connected.
For me, Sabbath looks like slowing down. It’s a conscious choice to only open books that will let me breathe and a choice not to open apps or textbooks or emails that may drain me. Sabbath refuels me, replenishes me, and reignites the fire.
5) Sabbath means a day of rest (and that will look different for each of us) but it’s also a day to celebrate! Sabbath can mean silence but it can also mean community. When people want to meet up, I invite them to join me for a Sunday afternoon coffee or walk on the trail. It’s also my time to soak in God’s word, write a little for this space here, or write a short note to go in the mail. Dance parties happen on Sabbath, queso and chips happen on Sabbath, life happens on Sabbath. It’s a day to rest but it’s also a day to celebrate!
I thought the nudge inside as I drove down Lakeshore was due to my disobedience of keeping the Sabbath holy. Turns out it went deeper than that. I was so reliant and dependent on my own ability to get. things. done. that I never gave God the time He deserved.
Choosing Sabbath is choosing to trust that God’s got it.
Sabbath wasn’t made for us, we are made for it. He did not command us to perform or achieve but He did command us to rest, to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace.
Choose Sabbath. Chase it if you have to, but choose to slow because you know He’s got it all under control.
Your turn – What does Sabbath look like for you? It is challenging? Do you have to chase it down? And listen… even if you’ve never gone ‘full out Sabbath’ before, dream a little with me. What would that time be full of? Try it with me this week!