I was recently reading a post from my sweet friend Lindsey over at Confessions of a Pastor’s Wife and she was talking about “pockets of sabbath”. In the post she discussed the necessity of carving out time and practicing the holy discipline of being still and quiet before the Lord. She explained that for her it means a daily time with the Lord as well as little pockets of time in her day where she can get quiet if even for a few minutes. It got me thinking about how I practice sabbath and what that means to me.
After being in the church all these years, I am definitely familiar with the term “sabbath”. In fact, I wrote an entry on the topic in my book, Remain . Here is an excerpt from that entry:
“So, is this call to keep the Sabbath holy still relevant in our lives today? Absolutely! God wants for His children to rest. It doesn’t mean spend one day a week devoted to Netflix binging and ice cream eating (although appealing) and let life happen. No, it means to come to Him with hands open, surrendering worry and fear and doubt. It means dropping in His lap all the ways you’ve strived to be good, accepted, and loved. It means modeling our rest after Jesus and the way He did the Sabbath, not by rules and obligations.”
But knowing doesn’t necessarily lend itself to practicing. We can know we should do something and we can speak about it and plan about it, but if we’re not actually doing it….then our knowing is useless. I’m going to be honest, resting the way Jesus did is hard for me.
It’s hard to be still when so much of our lives require us to multitask and get all the things done for all the people. It’s hard to wake up early. It’s hard to give up time out of our day. But, what’s harder is doing this life in our own power, and not tapping into the sustainable strength and renewal that Jesus invites us into.
Jesus made it a priority to spend one on one time with the Father. He would go away from wherever he was and whatever he was doing to be quiet before God. It’s not like that was an easy task for Him either. He was constantly with people and people were constantly needing him. (Sounds familiar, right?? ) He knew that in order to hear from the Lord, he would have to quiet his mind.
So how do we do that? Practically, for me, it’s an every day commitment rather than a once a week thing. (Because this mama needs it) I make it a point to wake up every morning before my kids do. Mamas know real life with kids means that we are “on” the second those little feet hit the floor in the morning. So, I defy my natural yearning to sleep in. I set my alarm and pry myself out of bed with the promise of coffee (Thank you Lord for the timed brew feature), I drag my weary robe clad self to the kitchen and I meet Him there at my kitchen table. With my feet among crumbs and my coffee in hand, I’m on holy ground.
It’s not magical or anything. Sometimes I sit there trying not to doze off until the coffee kicks in. Other times it’s all I can do to get my brain to stop thinking of my to-do list. (A “brain dump” is a huge help for this) But He meets me there and He honors and blesses my efforts. Sometimes I walk away with some revelation or a word for a friend. Other times, it’s just a rhythm of discipline and quiet that my heart and mind so needed. He always knows what we need and He is timely in delivering.
I picture it much like this passage from Psalm 23: 1-3. He is our shepherd who guides us and refreshes us, shifting our perspective along the way to see the way He sees and love the way He loves.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”
Isn’t it crazy that He even desires to spend time shepherding US?? Does that blow anyone else’s mind?
With all of that said, I want to try a little experiment. Something that has really thrown a wrench in my post sabbath refreshment and provided some undesirable distraction in my life is being on my phone. Ugh, I cringe admitting that. But for the sake of keeping it real and growing together, I’m putting it out there. Surely I’m not the only one. I definitely have learned to use social media in a life-giving way , but the amount of time has become an issue for me personally. Maybe it has for you too.
Because I want to be more intentional with using what I gain from that sabbath time as well as practice being more consistently present in my relationships, I am pledging to give up all social media use one day a week. Right now I’m choosing Mondays, because that’s the day my husband is off work. I’m excited to see how things change and I’ll be sure to share (honestly) about any revelations or challenges.
Is this something you can relate to? Do you struggle in this area and could it be keeping you from a richer relationship with God and others? Comment below with your biggest struggle when it comes to keeping a sabbath.