How A Sabbath Can Go Wrong
Sabbath: a period of rest (Oxford Dictionary)
I’m like a toddler not wanting to take her nap. Sabbath rest does not come easily for me.
I want it to come easily. Unlike most toddlers, I actually want my nap. But, like most overstimulated toddlers, my brain won’t turn off, my body won’t calm down, and I can’t find rest.
We have freedom in Christ not to rest, right? Is it worth it taking time to rest when there’s so much to be done?
I honestly don’t know the answer except to say that as I study this idea of rest, I keep hearing people answering with a resounding, “YES.” These are people further ahead on the journey, and they know what a difference it can make.
“The soul withers without [the Sabbath]. It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual, would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser than his Maker.” F. W. Robertson, 1816-1853
I’ve been questioning what rest might look like for my family. Is it that we have to stop going places? Do I stop doing dishes and laundry? Can we eat out or must we only cook in the house? How do I cook, clean up, and rest? It is a dilemma to rest in the place that you “work” the other six days out of the week.
“What brings you joy and peace and closer to the heart of God? Your answer will help you define what rest looks like for you. Rhythms, unline routines, bring intention toward our choices and order back from chaos. A life of intention ultimately leads to deep satisfaction.” Shelly Miller, Rhythms of Rest
I’m so out of practice in resting that I’m not even sure what brings me “joy and peace and closer to the heart of God.” I can tell you that it’s not doing dishes or laundry or cooking, so I’m off the hook there (thank you, God!).
Pushing towards the heart of God when everything seems to be pushing in on you is difficult. It is swimming against the current, and I want to turn around and just get out of the water.
For my family, our feeble attempts have been not entertaining, a.k.a. vegging out, in front of movies because let’s admit that even though it feels like rest it is not usually refreshing, and it doesn’t bring me closer to God. We’ve also tried not running errands and doing house stuff. Instead, we try to be still and focus on God in what we listen, read, and watch. We interact more with each, play games, talk, and encourage one another too.
This past week though, we didn’t really keep the Sabbath. It was like there was a fight against the very notion of it now that we are trying harder to keep it. The waves got bigger, and we just gave in and gave up.
It started innocently by needing groceries because we hadn’t had the time to get them on Saturday. It ended with us watching movies, doing yard work, dishes, and actual paid work from home. Kind of like when you’re dieting, and you break your diet a little then think, well, if I ate one bite of ice cream, I might as well eat the whole gallon. I felt awful.
Can I tell you something? By the end of yesterday, I was pushed to my limit and cranky, cranky, cranky. Some was just because I was breaking my own rules and deciding not to do what was good for me.
I’m not so good at keeping the Sabbath, but I’m also not so good at breaking it anymore.
I decided to have a do-over and am Sabbathed a bit on the day after Sabbath. Because if I don’t get this cranky toddler mind of mine to rest, we are going to continue having tantrums and meltdowns. No one wants that. If I can fight harder to rest than I fight against it, maybe one day I’ll find it.
As I start to explore Sabbath, I’d love to know what brings you joy and peace and closer to God?