My Journey of Resting on the Sabbath
I have always enjoyed working out and staying active, but in the past, I definitely overdid it. I would workout once or twice a day, without taking a day off to rest.
It took me a while to realize how important it was to give my body a day to rest and recover. And when I did, I actually became stronger, fitter and faster. Because I took a day off, I had more strength and energy during the days of working out.
The same principle holds true for my spiritual life, and yours too. You and I need a day to spiritually rest and reconnect with Father God, otherwise known as the sabbath.
I can assure you that resting on the sabbath is the last topic I thought I would ever write about and I am still at the very beginning stages of figuring it out. It felt so sacred to me for so long because it was between me and the Lord, but after sharing more about it on our recent podcast episode, I thought I would share a blog post too.
If you know me, you will not be surprised when I tell you I have always been a workaholic. If you are familiar with the enneagram, it took me less than a minute to realize I am a 3 when I saw it was titled, “achiever.” Yes, that is me!
Work has always consumed my life and rest has most certainly never been in my vocabulary. For most of my life I thought people who took naps were wasting time and therefore lazy. The thought of sitting down in the middle of the day to read a book or watch a movie was never an option for me.
Fast forward to last year when my assistant was at my house. We were going over everything that needed to get done for Moms in the Making and as always I was probably stressed, overwhelmed and under the assumption I had to complete everything as fast as possible. She looked at me and simply said, “have you ever thought about taking a Sabbath?”
While I was well aware what a sabbath was, the thought of taking one had never crossed my mind. Now that I am about 9 months into the journey of resting on the sabbath it grieves my heart that I didn’t start sooner. The reason I want to share the importance of the sabbath today is because I so wish someone else had shared this information with me.
What is a sabbath?
A sabbath is a day to rest and worship.
Why do we sabbath?
For starters, it’s biblical. Genesis 2:3 says, “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
God rested. If He needed to rest, don’t you think you do too? The sabbath is addressed many times throughout scripture. I am not going to share all the verses, but here are two more:
Deuteronomy 5:12-14 says, “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.”
Hebrews 4:9-10 says, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.”
Resting on the Sabbath is not just a fun idea to consider, but it’s actually a command from God. God knew we needed to rest! Just as He knew we needed to sleep during the night, He also knew we needed to rest during the day.
When we take a sabbath, it shows the Father that we honor Him and we put Him first in all things, including with our time and work.
What are the logistics of a sabbath?
The way I sabbath is going to look different than the way you sabbath. But at the very core, I encourage you to pick one day, most likely a Saturday or Sunday where you do not do any work. Work is not only your job but also household chores like cleaning, laundry, dishes, or catching up on emails and yard work. On the sabbath the intention is to avoid all productive work or in other words avoid things that aren’t filling you up and providing rest.
If you are new to this, I encourage you to start dreaming with God. Brainstorm with Him what your ideal day of rest would be like. If you are have workaholic tendencies like me, you have probably never rested before so it may take time to figure out.
The day should be a day of rejuvenation and refreshment. For Colby and I, it has been reading a good book, going on a walk or run, exploring a new nature trail or sitting out by a lake. We have enjoyed sitting outside together and talking. We have worshipped together and watched sermons and movies. The things that we like to do together might not work for you. Maybe for you it’s exploring a new museum or getting creative and knitting a scarf or doing a puzzle. You might not consider yourself a nap person like me, but a nap is also highly recommended. What better way to rest than to make sure you are all caught up on sleep?
Whenever I sabbath I also fast from social media. From time to time I still check my phone and respond to a text here or there but soon I hope to completely put our phones away for the day, so there is no use of them at all.
What fills your cup? What brings you great delight? The answer to that should be how you spend your sabbath. It should be fun and enjoyable, yet relaxing at the same time.
What sabbath isn’t supposed to be
As already said the sabbath is not a day to work. It’s also not a day to binge watch movies, tv or aimlessly scroll on your phone. With that being said, you don’t need to be legalistic about it. If there is a movie you want to watch, go for it! If you read blogs, news sites or are active on social media, I would encourage you to not do those things on the sabbath, but that is between you and God.
“The sabbath doesn’t make sense to me”
Whether or not you are aware of this or not, most things in the Kingdom don’t make sense. The principles that apply are usually the exact opposite of this world. The same holds true for the Sabbath. It doesn’t make sense that your time will be more fruitful when you only work 6 days versus 7. But it will! And God will see your faithfulness to abide by His word and bless you. Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby are two perfect examples of companies who Sabbath and are absolutely thriving because they put God first.
You might be thinking, “your don’t understand, I own my own business or I currently work 80 hours a week.” Well I have good news! The more you work the more you need to sabbath! Truly, if you want God to bless your work, then you need to give him your time first.
To the person who has ever said, “I can’t afford to tithe,” my response has always been “you can’t afford not to.” And now that I understand the Biblical principle of the Sabbath, my belief remains the same, “you can’t afford not to take a sabbath.”
My encouragement to you
Your ideal sabbath might take some time to figure out and that is okay. It also might look different every time, which is good! Again, if you had a day with your spouse or family to do anything fun and relaxing you wanted, what would you do? That should be your sabbath!
I have learned that it is hard to sabbath if I have a lot on my to-do list or have a messy house. So I do whatever it takes to go to make sure the house is picked up and everything I needed to complete is finished the day before my sabbath starts. That way my mind can rest and I can peacefully connect with the Lord without stressing out about piles of laundry.
I highly encourage you to check out our recent A Cup Full of Hope Podcast episode on the Sabbath. I give a lot more detail on how hard the process of resting has been for me, admitting that often times it has felt like a detox. In addition, we did a 4 week series on rest so it will be be best if you listen to all the episodes in the series.
I also encourage you to send this post along to family members or friends. Ask them to take a sabbath with you and then you can hold each other accountable. While my husband is on board I don’t have many friends that take a sabbath. I think if I did, it would be even easier to implement and it would be nice to have someone to hold me accountable and talk through it with.
Do you Sabbath? What does Sabbathing look like to you?