I am a busybody. There. I said it. If admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, then I have one foot on the path!
Last night I woke up from a dead sleep at 10:45 with my head full of thoughts about rest. Sounds ironic huh?
Visions of rest in my head as I sleep are not the norm. Visions of sugarplums, yes…I was a ballet dancer growing up so dancing in my sleep has been normal for me for the past 30 years. Someone who dances in their sleep, now that’s a true busybody right there.
Four months ago I told myself I have to Sabbath. I visited the Holy Land for twelve days on a Bible study tour at the end of May and my life changed in more ways than one. God began stirring some things inside of me on that trip that I still have not been able to fully piece together, but when I witnessed Jewish families enjoying an Erev Shabbat, or Sabbath Evening, on a beach of the Sea of Galilee my heart began to yearn for this thing called rest that I know nothing about.
I’m not crazy. I know all about naps. I mastered power naps in my mid-twenties. This rest I am talking about has nothing to do with extra sleep. I am talking about God’s design for Sabbath. A wide-awake, completely conscious ability to stop. Revive. Rejuvenate. Recharge. Reconnect.
It sounds so easy. Guess again.
Two months after vowing to Sabbath, a vow I had ignored for the two months after the return from my trip, I was reconvicted. I was at a conference at Chris Hodges church in Birmingham, Alabama. At this conference during one of the main sessions Pastor Chris began stressing the need and importance of rest.
I have a friend named Gina who is a wonderful accountability partner. You know the kind of accountability partner you want to tell to shut up about once a week when they point out you are not sticking to your plan or your promises?
Occasionally Gina sends me this picture she took of me at the GROW conference as a reminder when I refuse to rest.
Why do I make faces like that? No filter in the world could clean that up and make it pretty, but it’s a great reminder.
It took another two months but I am happy to announce that three weeks ago I finally set aside time for a Sabbath.
I’ll be the first to say it was a weak attempt. But I did it. Now I busted my rear the day before preparing to Sabbath, but I made it.
I told my eleven year old daughter, who is almost as good of an accountability partner as Gina, that my plan was to Sabbath beginning Friday afternoons or evenings, depending on what our family has going on, until 24 hours later on Saturday. Sunday Sabbath’s are not possible for me. I am on staff at my church as the children’s pastor and by the time I am at the church for 4-5 hours on a Sunday morning “rest” is not a word in my vocabulary!
Side note: If you have a preteen and you want them to hold you accountable just let them know. They love having permission to point out things we do wrong!
This evening and tomorrow during the day I will Sabbath for the third time.
I don’t want to be legalistic about it. I don’t want to set up rules and guidelines that are unrealistic for me. I don’t want to feel like a failure or make anyone else feel like they are failing. I just want to know this rest that God has given as a commandment but also as a gift to His children. I feel like Sabbath rest is similar to sexual purity: it is a gift given and blessed by God, but too many people, Christians included, refuse to acknowledge and open the gift.
I haven’t perfected it. I haven’t studied all I want to about the significance and the tradition that goes hand in hand with God’s design for Sabbath rest. I’m sure I’ll stumble. I’m sure there will be weeks I will totally blow it, but for now I am charging forward into this unknown and unexplored, at least by me anyways, realm of rest that I am intrigued by.
If God says we need this rest, how can we say we fully trust Him if we ignore our God ordained need to Sabbath?
Ready. Set. Rest.
Who is with me? If this is something you practice regularly, have considered attempting in the past, or are interested in I would love to hear your thoughts!