Taking a Sabbath is hard for me. To be completely honest, for probably an entire year after I became a Christian, I didn’t even know what the word “Sabbath” implied. I figured it was just a synonym for Sunday. As I started learning more about Jesus, however, I realized how much He valued Sabbath rest, and how God created it as a GIFT for us! In Mark 2:27, Jesus says that the Sabbath was specifically made for man. I also love how Hebrews 4 explains it:
“Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it… There remains, then, a Sabbath -rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.” -Hebrews 4:1 & 9-10
If God, an all-powerful and perfect being, rested from His work, then how much more do I need to rest from mine??
After learning about Sabbath rest, I spent the next 2ish years putting it off. In grad school, my weekends were packed to the brim with studying, friends, church, and Special Olympics soccer. I reasoned that as soon as I got a job, then my weekends would be free and I would be able to set aside a day to rest. Ha! Turns out that once you start working, you have pretty much no time during the week to run errands/grocery shop/cook/see friends/etc., and all of that gets pushed to the weekends. To make a long story short, I finally got exhausted with being exhausted all the time. I felt like there had to be a better, more sustainable way to live (aka not in a constant state of burnout). Lo and behold- God knew exactly what He was doing when He commanded us to rest! I’ve found it to be a way not only to obey God (after all, He is pretty serious about the whole Sabbath thing) but also as a way to remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me, and that taking a day to be “unproductive” will not cause a worldwide shutdown of operations. Who knew!
Many of my weekends are full of trips/weddings/other commitments, which I truly enjoy, but which do not bring me real rest. On those weekends of busyness, I make sure to block off at least a few hours for Sabbath time, which to me means having NOTHING planned. It is such a glorious feeling! During weeks that seem relentless and unending, Sabbath rest can feel like a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that Sabbath rest looks different for a lot of people, but I think if your desire is to honor God with that time, then you can’t really go wrong. For me, this past weekend’s Sabbath included:
-Sleeping in! To me that is anything past 7am. Unfortunately I’m not joking. But it was amazing to open my eyes at 7:30 and see sunlight streaming in through my bedroom windows!
-Drinking coffee and talking about life with one of my roommates/best friends, Kate.
-Going grocery shopping. This probably feels like work for most people, but I actually love it as long as the stores aren’t crowded and chaotic (I’m looking at you, Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon).
-Relaxing on the couch. Reading, Pinterest-ing, half-napping… It’s the best.
-Hanging out with Josh. He came over in the late afternoon and we went on a walk and then cooked dinner together (see photo below). So fun!
So there you have it- an example of my Sabbath rest. I still often have to fight off feelings of guilt for being “lazy,” but when those feelings come up, I recognize them as my pride lying to me and telling me that in order to be a valuable human being I must always being doing something or being productive. God certainly places a high value on work, but He also invites us to enjoy a day of rest during which we can recharge and remember that our worth does not lie in what we do, but rather in the fact that we are created in His image.