This weekend, I was able to take a full Sabbath rest with my family. For us, Sabbath entails cutting off our work and efforts to structure our world and giving ourselves fully over to rest and rejuvenation together. We watched movies. We ate food we shouldn't have. I finished a book about ultramarathon races and a forgotten tribe in Mexico that I highly recommend. Sabbath is about our recovering our identity as "not God" by removing ourselves from activities that lead to our assumption that we are in control of our world. If you think about it, what is the one objection to sabbath rest? "I have too much to do." But what would happen, REALLY, if you trusted the outcomes of your rest to the God who created the world? Would planets fall out of orbit? Would civilization crumble? In truth, sabbath is a test of whether or not we believe that GOD is truly in control of the world.
I have had conversations about sabbath, and questions even in my own mind, as to whether or not its just a "religious excuse to be lazy." I paid close attention to myself and my family on Saturday, and I have a few reflections that I think would help anyone who is considering practicing a regular Sabbath rest.
1. Sabbath is difficult. It is incredibly hard not to try and do a lot of things, especially if you spend your sabbath time at home.
2. Do the laundry, cleaning, food preparing beforehand so you aren't tempted to spend the whole day doing that.
3. Getting 8 hours (or more) of sleep prior to sabbath (or during) is critical. If you're tired, you won't enjoy it.
4. Do it as you can. As someone with a "weekend gig" and a wife who works full time, I typically don't have an 8-12 hour period when we're altogether with time to set aside for sabbath rest. It will likely remain a monthly thing for us, not a weekly thing.
5. Make sure your family is on the same page. We all knew the score - even my daughter - for the day was to do nothing but enjoy each other's company and do things that we enjoyed but were typically were too busy to do.
6. Schedule in advance. We had this weekend planned back in August/September, so depending on the pace of your life you may need to begin planning sabbaths way ahead of time.
The gift of sabbath rest is that as Jesus said, "it was made for man" (Mark 2:23-27) and not the other way around. We have much to learn by taking ourselves out of the fierceness of our regular pace and give space for God to do work on our hearts, souls, and bodies.
What is your main obstacle to practicing sabbath rest?