Do you ever feel like a human doing instead of a human being?
I do. (No pun intended!)
Most of us, from the time our feet hit the floor in the early morning hours until we climb back into bed late at night, do not pause in our doing.
It’s different for each of us, depending on what life stage we’re in, but it looks something like this: Make breakfast. Pack lunches. Clean up kitchen. Referee sibling arguments. Walk or drive kids to school. Get ourselves to work (at home or outside of the home). Work our tails off. Schedule, drive to and sit through appointments—IEP meetings, OT, PT, speech therapy, psychiatrist, psychologist, behavioral specialist, transition specialist, nutritionist. Shop for groceries. Head home (or change gears if we’re working at home) to help with homework, fix dinner, catch up on everyone’s day during dinner, clean up after dinner, help with homework, drive kids to sports practice, get the kids’ baths, read to the kids, tuck the kids in bed. Catch up on e-mails and Facebook, pay the bills, walk the dog, feed the cat, do laundry, make tomorrow’s grocery list, catch up on work we didn’t get done during the day.
If we’re lucky, we fall into bed before the clock chimes midnight and we turn into pumpkins!
Can you relate?
Living life at this pace, it’s hard to find the energy to snuggle with, much less make love to, our spouses.
It’s hard to find the energy for “me” time.
It’s hard to find the energy to pray.
It’s hard to find the energy, period.
Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still and know that I am God.
How do we cultivate stillness in this revved up world we live in?
How do we slow down the merry-go-round so that we can re-fill our empty tanks, nourish our marriages, and find the deep quiet, found only in God’s presence, that we so desperately need in order be whole and healthy human beings?
God gave us the answer long ago. It’s called Sabbath.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8, 10-11).
All life requires a rhythm of rest. There is the rhythm of wakefulness and sleep. The rhythm of the seasons—the dormancy of winter and the new growth of spring, the long, hot days of summer and the slowing down of fall. The rhythm of our heartbeats, the rhythm of our breathing as we inhale and exhale.
We’ve lost the rhythm. Keeping Sabbath can bring us back into that natural, God-made rhythm.
When we keep the Sabbath we remember that our life is a gift, and we remember to delight in and give thanks for everything God has done for us.
I’m not talking legalism here. God set aside the Sabbath and blessed it and made it holy. He gives it to us as gift so we can remember who we are: human beings, not human doings! Sabbath is like the magnetic north tugging at the compass needle. It draws us back to the ground of our being, where we can remember whose we are!
How might we keep the Sabbath?
My friend Robyn’s family keeps the Sabbath by turning off electronic devices for the day. After church, Mom, Dad and kids read, play games, take walks, prepare meals, and visit friends or relatives. Work is put aside. It’s a day to just hang out and enjoy one another’s company.
My family remembers the Sabbath by starting the day out slowly (we go to a late morning church service). My husband and I enjoy coffee and conversation while Joel listens to music on his iPad (with headphones!), and then Wally (with Joel’s help) prepares a big breakfast. Wally and Joel take a hike after breakfast while I meditate and journal, or I take Joel out for a ride while Wally putters in his workshop. After church we like to share a meal with someone (picnics are our favorite when the weather is nice), and we almost always take a nap in the afternoon after Joel leaves for Safe Haven Farms (his home). When Joel was still living with us, and was too busy for an afternoon rest, Wally and I took turns taking him to the park so that each of us could get in a thirty minute nap. By the time we go to bed on Sunday night, we are rested and rejuvenated and refreshed for the week that’s about to begin.
As November whizzes toward December, the daylight dwindling and the nights growing longer, we have a very real visual reminder of the great rhythms that God has ordained. What a wonderful time to remember that it’s not only okay to slow down, it’s necessary. Like the landscape around us, our bodies and minds need times of dormancy and rest in order to be healthy and whole.
Keeping Sabbath is a perfect way to begin an intentional rhythm of rest. Will you unwrap God’s gift? It’s waiting for you.
How might God be inviting you to enter into Sabbath rest this week?