When we grab hold of the busyness in our lives, intending to wrestle it down to manageable size, we had better address the balancing principle of rest– otherwise, the newly emptied and swept out schedules will soon fill right up with a new crop of hustle.
So we are on a quest for Sabbath rest, some holy respite from the busyness, this Winter. And I’ll be the first to admit that Sunday is often anything but Sabbath. Just getting a family out the door at a certain time, all washed and pressed and fancy-dressed when we’d rather be lounging around in our pj’s is a feat of superwoman strength, especially if you’ve also managed to put Sunday dinner in the crock-pot and gathered up your Sunday School lesson before you left. For too many years I ran extra-ragged on Sundays and felt guilty about not feeling Sabbath the way God surely intended it. Seemed like Sabbath was for everyone except the Mamas in this world, and Heaven knows we needed it badly.
Somewhere along the way I grew a little wiser and realized that Sunday wasn’t Sabbath unless I found rest there– which meant giving up a lot of my ideas about how it should look. A little advance preparation on Saturday and some simplified mealtimes definitely put the emphasis back on family rest, and from there we started to get the hang of it. Yes to eating in front of the football game, yes to a large pot of coffee in the afternoon, big yes to Mama sneaking off with a book at some point for a couple hours, yes to games or a movie in the evening after church, and something fun for a light late supper….all of which put us in the frame of mind to enjoy getting together with our church family and worshiping from the heart. It took us years to learn how to put Sabbath-rest into Sunday.
But that is only a place to begin, if we roll out of bed on Monday and push straight through our own agendas til next Sunday at high intensity, as if we had to do the rest of the week on our own steam. Because Sabbath isn’t about resting once you have your work all done. It’s not even just about setting aside one day a week for God’s stuff. Finding Sabbath rest is more about learning to experience the Holy in the middle of our Busy, so that we don’t forget Who made us and Who gave us this life we are living. When we pull away from the busyness to seek Jesus’ presence; when we cultivate that desire in our hearts and listen for His voice, find praise and thanksgiving flowing through our days no matter what we are doing, then we are starting to understand Sabbath-rest.
Shelly Miller, who leads the Sabbath Society of hearts seeking God’s rest, says that “A life built upon Sabbath is contented because in rhythms of rest we discover our time is full of the holiness of God.” He calls us to just come and be in the moment with Him, fully present. Just breathe, and know that you are loved and cherished and completed in Him. No requirements, no expectations, no need to please. It only takes a moment, and you can find it anywhere, if you are seeking Him with all your heart.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”