Jul 16, 2008

Seeking Sabbath

I am physically and spiritually tired. I don't know of many moms with young kids who aren't tired so I know that I am no different, but I am writing because I feel in my heart that my family and I are desperately in need of Sabbath. Not just a nap (although a nap would be nice), but rest that comes from dwelling in the presence of the Lord. . .Sabbath rest.

Even God rested after creation. He rested for a whole day. I can't even remember the last time I rested for an entire day. Truthfully I don't even think I know how. Part of that is because of my "type A" personality and my stage of life--being the mother of two small children, but I also think that part of it is due the media-saturated, consumer driven, fast paced culture in which we live. I feel like our life has slowed down considerably since we moved to Abilene. The commute alone cuts our stress level in half. But even in a small town, we still find ways of being busy.

I was reading to Ava the other day from her children's bible the story of Moses and the 10 commandments. I know them by heart but heard them anew as I read to her. I was struck by the fact that I have grown up in the church and have rarely heard anything taught about honoring the Sabbath. I love how simply Ava's Bible summarizes the verse from Deuteronomy: "Rest on the Sabbath day. Keep it Holy." It's listed right before "Honor your father and mother, Do not murder, Do not commit adultery. . ." I heard quite a bit about those growing up, so why did we overlook resting and keeping the Sabbath holy? Honestly, I feel kind of jipped. Why have we been skipped over the Sabbath when it is so obviously the thing we all need the most?-- Time to stop working and remember God.

Since this idea of Sabbath has been surfacing in conversation and study, it's all I can see and hear lately. Every magazine and news segment deals with the an issue related to familys' being overstressed, overtired, overstimulated, overcommited, or overworked. A good friend and mentor of mine recently said that one way we can be countercultural as a body of believers is stop doing all of the things we think we have to do "be church" and take time to meditate on what it means to keep the Sabbath holy. Now that's revolutionary! I haven't spent enough time in study and prayer to know what Sabbath rest looks like in our culture and churches, but I'm pretty sure that God didn't intend for us just to stop by church on our way to lunch, and then head home with our long list of Sunday to-do's. I am longing for God to lead me beside quiet waters and restore my soul, to hide me in the shadow of His wing, to go with Him to a quiet place where He will give me rest, to be still and know that He is God. He promises that He will do these things. I am reading a book by Anne Lamott. Here's an excpert,". . .breath is our connection to holy spirit, to our bodies, minds and souls; and if the devil can't get you to sin, he'll keep you busy."

If you were at Highland a couple of months ago, then you heard Richard Beck talking about hospitality and seeing God in the stranger. The whole sermon was filled with nuggets of truth. God was speaking through Richard in powerful ways, but for me the most profound thing he said was, "God has a pace and it is slow." If we want to be a reflection of Him, we have to slow down enough to be open to the opportunities He is laying before us. I never thought of it like that before. Our culture glorifies a fast-pace, multi-tasking and busyness, but God's timing is slow.

I'm not really sure what to do with all of this. I know some people who, in their very nature, just have restful spirits. I am not one of those people. I have a running to do list in my head that never ends. It is hard for me to be still and listen, to honor the Sabbath and not work, to rest my soul. But I long for it, and I am praying that God will teach me.