Finding Sabbath Rest When It’s Just Plain Hard
Sometimes finding time to have a personal, weekly Sabbath is so difficult, we throw up our hands and give up. However, God is challenging me to get creative and find a way, despite the busyness of life.
A few weeks ago I sat in church and listened to a compelling teaching on the problem of hurry.
The pastor spoke of our need for rhythm in our lives. He talked about how God, in His wisdom, established this into the very fibers of our world.
Day and night. Winter and summer. Work and rest.
He talked about the importance of Sabbath as part of this rhythm –that God didn’t need to rest after creating the world, but rather, His very act of rest created rest on our behalf.
It’s in these times of rest that we not only rejuvenate, but also slow down long enough to acutally be with God.
I began to understand that through this process of rhythmic resting, we are filled with God’s presence and goodness. As we draw near to Him, our faith is strengthened and our resolved, deepened. When we stop long enough, we begin to truly see.
The sermon struck a chord with me.
In fact, by its end, tears were streaming down my face. The friend I’d sat with gave me a compassionate smile and a pat as we walked out of the sanctuary. No words were exchanged. I think she understood.
The excuses we make for ourselves
Sabbath rest, in the sense of following a religious law, is no longer required (see Romans 14:5-6), but the truth of Sabbath runs deeply to the core of who we are as human beings.
And it had not been an intentional part of my life for several years.
Unfavorable circumstances had lead me to pretty much give up on this weekly, dedicated, disciplined rest.
…You know, like that little thing called having kids, who also happen to come with ceaseless needs…
Or that other thing where my husband’s job requires him to work weekends and only gives him one day off each week, that being Friday. Since I’m a full-time, stay-at-home mom, my only semblance of a break is when he’s home. Ergo, my “weekend” is pretty short too.
Our logic had lead us to assume Fridays must be spent mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, doing home projects and running all errands I wasn’t willing to do by myself with three little kids. Plus all appointments. Plus a chance for me to work on my blogging projects. Plus a time for him to take odd-jobs to help pay the bills.
You get the idea.
I hadn’t realized how weary I’d become. And now that I finally had, I felt trapped in the hamster wheel by our current life circumstances.
Laying our excuses aside
As I wallowed in frustration and tears over my plight the next few days, I felt God convicting me. He humbled my letting me see that in my rush of emotion and self-pity, I wasn’t realistically assessing the possibilities. Like, not at all.
While we only have one day off a week, we have one day off a week. That’s enough for Sabbath rest. I began considering what it would mean to use our one day as such.
We’d have to move all our other work to the evenings of other days, but we could do that for the most part. We’d still care for our children of course, but if we allow them to watch their favorite TV shows in pajamas in the morning, if we sleep in, if we have pre-made meals and ban our to-do lists, that could still be a very significant break.
And Friday night is pretty great night for a date, which is a life-giving and edifying rest and re-connection opportunity for my husband and me. Yes, please!
So, that’s where we are.
We’re devoting Fridays, not to work, but to play and rest and spend time with God and our children. We’re devoting them to slowing way down. To Sabbath.
And not doing so legalistically, but to honor and glorify God and move within the rhythms for which He created us.
While we can push and persevere through seasons of life without proper Sabbath rest, we won’t be living in the fulness God intended for us.
When we feel we’re too busy for sabbath, that’s a good sign we need it the most. >> tweet that
Join me today in taking a hard look at your current life circumstances and choosing a day or even a portion of a day to set aside for weekly rest.
Make a plan. See it through. Tweak it as needed. Let’s make this a priority and start living in God’s fullness.