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.

21 comments:

leslie said...

Great post, Summer. I, too, am seeking Sabbath. I wish it was easier! Your words are encouraging - as always.

Susan said...

I just talked to you an hour ago about how I think I have ADHD- maybe this is the answer instead. You are so smart! Can't wait to see you!

Donald said...

Good post, now get to work.

lisajo said...

You have such sweet words. I have the same struggle, especially the running to-do list, and a one-year birthday party to get ready for. I am seeking the same thing.

Donald said...

But really, I certainly believe God expects us to hold to the principle of the Sabbath. Interestingly, the other aspect is that we are to work the other days. I think the difference is learning the difference between working and being busy. I'm convinced to hold to the Sabbath principle requires faith and extreme,counter-culture behavior. Chip Ingram is just about my favorite speaker. Go to his website www.lote.org/lote.xml and listen to Good to Great in God's Eyes - Develop Great Habits, Part 2. It will speak to you.

Chad said...

This is one of my favorite posts you have written. You have so much wisdom! (It makes it hard to argue with you sometimes.) Thanks for your thoughts.

Julia said...

As always, I'm encouraged by your faith, your seeking for truth, your love of God's word. You challenge me with these thoughts - truly to rest in the Lord is of Him, because it doesn't come naturally! I don't know the answer either, but I'd love to join the list of those seeking it...love you.

Staci said...

Thank you so much for this post! It's just what I needed right now! (And thanks to Susan for sending me this way :)

Nicole said...

I clicked over just KNOWING that you were posting about Sea World. Ha. Knowing that you just threw your back out, makes me wonder if God is giving you what you asked for, just not in the way you might expect. Just a thought. Maybe this would be a good Sunday to seek Sabbath even deeper.
BTW-I loved this post. You are wise beyond your years and I am so thankful for our friendship.

katie_marie said...

Yes, I agree... you are so wise and I appreciate that you shared your thoughts with us.

gram said...

Summer
Wow you have given me things to think about--seems recently Gary will say--I am not going to do anything for a few hours--think that is ok? and my reply is YES
But I agree with you we think we should be "doing"
Great to see you and Chad and Ava and Pierson
paula/gram

Ledbetter Fam said...

Wow! Thank you for your thoughts. I came to your blog through Susan's. This is a fabulous post. I have been longing for a way to slow down and simplify my life for a long time. My husband and I try, but we are not very good at it. Thank you for being open and honest.

Juli Beth

Holly O'Quinn said...

LOVE your thoughts! So true to this life we live in, and I can totally relate. I have a friend who felt so confined by many of the things you are writing of that she and her family took 40 days to sit and listen to the Lord. They removed ALL commitments, activities, etc. and really focused on time with the Lord individually and as a family for 40 days. The things they learned and heard were amazing.

Thanks for bringing our attention to honoring such an important day...

Anne said...

Such powerful words, Summer. Thanks for sharing them so eloquently.

As I continue to do the same thing, seeking the Sabbath, I will forge on knowing that the Lord will take me there, to His place of rest, and that I need only to follow.

Angie said...

I feel blessed by this post Summer.
How refreshing.
Annnd...I LOVE Anne Lamott's writing! I read traveling mercies from cover to cover during a week of jury duty last year. She rocks. And you rock!

Kate said...

You are always great about being intentional in what you are doing. I love that about you. Thanks for the wise words.

Candy said...

Summer - It's interesting that my first visit to your blog is about rest and Sabbath. Have you heard us talking about Soaking? You need to try it! I've been asking God about doing a Soaking time for adults at Highland, wondering if anyone would show up. Soaking is simply a time to be still - to take an hour and be with Him. Soaking is not a biblical word but a biblical concept. Be still and know... We had 17 of us at our high schoolers soaking two weeks ago. These kids get it. They are loving it. They want more than one hour. Their hunger for God is so refreshing. So what do you think? Should we try it?

Williams Family said...

I fell upon your blog from going to Candace Bank's blog. I saw your name and was wondering what you've been up to. Never did I think that the next click would be an answer to my prayer that I prayed about one hour ago. You probably don't know but John was deployed last week. Today has been the hardest day yet. I have been SO stressed with my five year old not because of her but because inside I'm not at peace, at all. Today ended terribly with me totally losing patience and me being very short with my kids at bedtime. They simply wouldn't "turn off" and go to sleep. So I yelled. She of course then went to sleep, but the results was not at all what I needed. I was better off with her awake, before I yelled. I just sat on the couch weeping staring at my phone. So many friends and family have told me to call if I needed anything, anything. So I sat there thinking. What on earth do I need?? Who do I call? Who will understand? I got so overwhelmed by thinking of every qualified friend or family member that I just stopped and started praying for God to have someone call me or for Him to just answer this "need" that I don't know of. I calmed down and went back and layed down next to Maeghyn, my daughter and pet her hair for a little bit. Kissed her. Then I went and sat next to the crib while Justin, my 20 month old finished his tears. He fell asleep. Sighing relief I came back in here to cheer up by reading friend's blogs to see what everyone was up to. And here I am. Reading my answer to prayer. This is so long of a comment it could simply be a post on my own blog. Sorry! I just wanted you to know how powerful your words were.

Leah said...

This is very powerful. Do it. As hard as it is - turn it all off. We don't do it well yet but for almost a year we've been trying to have Sunday be a day of complete rest after church. We might swim or nap or watch TV together but we turn our phones and computers off (big temptation for us).

I will keep you in my prayers.

Jamie Ridgell said...

Hi friend! Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I can certainly relate and agree that Sabbath is something we should all be seeking and studying. Thanks for your wisdom. love you!

Krista said...

Hi Summer!

I hadn't checked your blog in so long . . . thought I'd stop by and say 'hello'! I need to add your link to my blog . . . is that okay? I really appreciate this post; your words are so eloquently written, transparent from the heart! Bret and I, not long after the birth of our 3rd blessing, together decided we were going to SLOW DOWN and REST more . . . much like you were talking about here! I quickly learned that a big part of that was also learning to say "no" . . . and that it's okay to say "no" . . . to leading that, organizing this or just being involved in too MANY things whether they be activities at church, school, sports, camps, etc. We can still do better . . . so thanks for your 'straight from the heart' post! Your kids are just precious, Summer! Hope you are getting some REST!! =)