“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” — Psalm 116:7
Last night was all about the “how” of Sabbath. Didn’t Sabbath take on a whole new meaning for you? It did for me. Wow.
Aaron shared a helpful way to frame Sabbath, inviting us to use Pete Scazzero’s four principles of Biblical Sabbath:
Each of these words causes something in me to say, “Yes!” But, then I get a little tripped up over how to actually do them. How funny that I know how to work so well; no training needed there. But to rest? I need help! There are certain insights that Aaron shared from Pete Scazzero’s work that really resonated and gave me some handles on how I might think about Sabbath.
First, Sabbath is a day we can stop creating and simply be a creature. For someone like me who is constantly creating and generating ideas, this is a powerful idea – just be the created, the creature. Allow my creator to delight in me. And just be the thing God created instead of trying to be the creator. What does it look like for you to be a creature instead of a creator?
Second, God did not make us to live exhausted, breathless, break-less lives. But do we trust him enough to rest? Do we believe in the rhythm of working and resting that he modeled for us? This is really hard for me and I have gone so long without real rest. I was made, and so were you, for life-giving rest. And I want to lean into it, so I’m identifying the things that give me rest – reading fiction, doing jigsaw puzzles, laughing with my daughter, making apple pie. What gives you rest?
Third, God desires that we delight in his creation. This is a little bit of a hard word for me because we don’t use it much in our culture (which says a lot). Pete Scazzero explains that delight “communicates a sense of joy, completion, wonder, and play.” (Pete Scazzero, Receive the Gift of Sabbath) I’m looking for ways to really see what God has placed before me and pay attention to every detail — the way my daughter laughs, the way my coffee cup feels in my hands, and the way the pine trees pop and crack as fall comes. Such wonder. What does delight look like for you?
Fourth, Sabbath is a day to contemplate God’s love and goodness. As Aaron shared, Sabbath, without turning my attention to God is not Sabbath, it’s just a day off. For me, this has been journaling thanks, saying little prayers as I delight to thank God, and writing out a Psalm, soaking in its words. Another thing I am going to try is to trace the milestones in my life and seeing and thanking God as I do. What about you? How can you contemplate God’s love and goodness?
The stories we heard from actual people who practice Sabbath helped me so much. Everything from taking a long train ride and staring out the window or journaling what comes to mind, to making Sabbath a “yes day”, a day you say yes to the stuff you’ve had to say no to all week, like reading a book for fun or taking a nature walk, to setting clear work boundaries and gardening, to Friday night drives to Little Caesars for pizza and breadsticks. Stop. Rest. Delight. Contemplate.
We reflected on the following three questions from Pete and Geri Scazzero:
What do I need to stop that relates to my work – paid and unpaid?
What activities create rest and delight for me?
How can I cultivate a greater awareness of God in my life and in the world?
I’ve got my card here on my desk with all that I wrote in response to these questions. I can see God’s invitation in it as I look at what I wrote. “Come to me,” he is saying. “Come and rest. You can trust me. Taste and see.” What is his invitation to you?
I’m really looking forward to this coming weekend when we will all practice Sabbath. Have you considered joining us? Can you create some time on October 17/October 18 to practice? Even if you can’t do 24 hours, could you do 12 or 8? We can’t wait to hear how it went, including the hard stuff, and share our experiences, good and bad, next Sunday.
Also let’s keep learning! My reading about Sabbath has helped expand my mind and my ideas about how to rest and delight. One thing you might want to check out is Pete Scazzero’s teaching on his four principles. So incredibly helpful. Also, in her book An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor has a beautiful chapter called The Practice of Saying No and it’s all about Sabbath.
It is such a privilege to be on this journey together.
May you see God’s goodness today,