Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” (Exodus 20:8-10)
As an adult, it has been a mixed bag for me to remain committed to faithfully practicing a Sabbath. In Genesis 1 & 2 you can see the rhythm the Lord uses in the creation story – working hard for six days and then resting. And each workday He was very proud of His work!
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which he had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work He had created and made. (Genesis 2:2-3)
I know enough about myself to understand it is a much healthier way for me to function in the rhythm of six days of work and then a Sabbath. I’ve learned that not only do those six days include work at my job, but they also need to include my time to run errands and do ALL those other things we do to keep our families and homes going. I’ve also learned that my Sabbath looks different each week, but what is always constant when I feel I have practiced this discipline successfully, is that I slow way down, bring the Lord closer, and give Him extended time in my Sabbath day. So for those of you struggling to make Sabbath a priority, here are some ideas that have really helped me.
I know enough about myself to understand it is a much healthier way for me to function in the rhythm of six days of work and then a Sabbath.
I do not come from a Jewish heritage, but some of the old Jewish traditions are just so rich and interesting I have put my own spin on them to bring more meaning to my Sabbaths. Historically, a Sabbath starts with cleaning the body in preparation. (A nice hot bubble bath with candles and music sounds pretty good!)
Another major tradition is sharing a meal. For me, spending time with my family and friends in my kitchen and around our dining room table is a huge blessing for me. In fact, my husband and I remodeled our house four years ago. We were very purposeful with the idea of “being at a table,” so we purchased the biggest table with the most comfortable chairs so we could host lots of people, and that those people would linger at the table.
Usually there is laughter at our table, but sometimes there are tears if needed. It is simply doing life with others. Sharing a meal is powerful stuff, and it brings glory to God in doing a meal well in community. In fact, one Jewish tradition is to set a place for those who have gone before us. We usually don’t have room for that, but stories are told of Gpa and Grandma Faye! The point is to remember them.
Some other practices I’ve tried include is unplugging from social media so I can have a catch-up time for my reading plan in the Bible, or just sit in the backyard enjoying the sunshine! Sometimes I stay in my PJ’s, which slows me down for sure since I’ve learned I can’t do too many serious things while still in my PJ’s. I have also learned that if I don’t plan this time of Sabbath Rest I will fill my calendar with lots of things to do. Not bad things or sinful things, just lots of things I could do. When I feel I have had a powerful Sabbath, it’s because I was intentional to choose to Sabbath, especially with those I love, which sometimes just means time spent alone with my husband.
I have also learned that if I don’t plan this time of Sabbath Rest I will fill my calendar with lots of things to do.
I am usually running full blast and need a Sabbath Rest to focus and “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:10) What about you? Do you Sabbath? Do you intentionally plan restful/worshipful days? I wish I felt that this discipline gets easier to engage with, but it hasn’t for me unless I am focused and make sure not to miss the sweet time of Sabbath.
I hope I’ve provided some options regarding Sabbath Rest. All of these ideas are simply different ways to connect to God on a deeper, richer level, through rest. I would encourage you to pick one, or a few to try for yourselves and let me know how it goes! It’s no doubt that we all work hard, but according to scripture we need to REST and enjoy time with God.
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Image Credit: Sunshinecity, Creative Commons