Simple living embraces remembering to take regular Sabbaths and understanding how to keep them holy.
Dennis and I are learning the necessity of regularly taking a holiday from care.
Subtract the obvious to add the meaningful
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. ~ John Maeda
By subtracting the obvious, practicing Sabbath adds the meaningful. Dr. Matthew Sleeth reminds us that a Sabbath day is a good day to stay at home if you are always on the go.
Our lives are busy.
We are people on the move.
We have people to see.
Places to go.
Deadlines at work.
Yet, our bodies and minds and schedules crave rest.
What obvious do you want to subtract?
Is there anything meaningful you’d like to add?
Here are some suggestions how to keep the Sabbath holy.
Seven Ways to Remember the Sabbath
1. Commit one day a week as Sabbath or Stop Day.
Until it becomes a habit, post it on the calendar (on the wall and mobile device). It could be Saturday, Sunday or what works with your family.
What if your family’s schedule does not allow a whole day to enjoy a Sabbath? Begin by blocking out 2-4 hours one day a week.
Make a public announcement on social media and personal contact that you are unplugging to rest and recover. Emergencies only allowed.
Yeah, I know. This is EXTREME.
We are a generation bombarded with sensory overload. Silence can be uncomfortable. Take a Sabbath from mobile devices: I-Phones, internet, social media, even T.V.
Studies have actually shown that adults and children are calmer and experience less stress when electronic technology is absent.
The idea of taking a holiday from care involves detaching from objects that cause us stress. (And if the objects keep us in touch with people behind that stress, mute it for the duration of Sabbath.)
And, here’s a biggie: NO texting.
3. Create a Sabbath Box
I really like this idea. Wayne Mueller shares about his Jewish friends who made a Sabbath box to hold all the equipment they do not need on the Sabbath.
Family members place these items into the Shabbos box on Friday evening and declare“Then, stripped of all our tools and machines, we can truly pray, God, there is nothing I can do about these concerns, so I know it is in your hands.”
Can you put your cell phone, laptop (or an object representing it) or any other distractions, into a Sabbath box?
It can also hold all the things you feel you have left undone.
Take a Sabbath from your burdens by writing down all the cares that harass or concern you. Place it in the box and leave it behind for a day, or an hour or two.
With your spouse, your children, your family, and God.
Allow the Sabbath to be a day of centering in on what is important.
What is meaningful.
Did you know before there were apps, something called board games are enjoyed by many? Monopoly or Candyland anyone?
Plan a family meal. A sit-down together meal around the table, even if it’s pizza.
Rest is thinking about all the things that you could do on a Sunday afternoon and hearing a still, small voice tell you to just stop—and then taking a God-ordained nap. ~Dr. Sleeth
What is a Sabbath day without a nap? Whether your kids nap or not, give them quiet time alone. Books, puzzles, imaginary play are good even if they think it isn’t possible without electronic devices. With consistent practice, it can work.
6. Go for a walk.
Get some fresh air. Enjoy nature. Unless the weather is totally prohibitive, even a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood is refreshing.
Muller reminds us when we ease our daily labor, other things—love, friendship, prayer, touch, singing, rest—can be born in the space created by our rest. .
7. Make love with your spouse.
The author of Sabbath shares that Jewish Sabbath practitioners who follow the Talmud on marriage contracts encourages that the “righteous couple should make love every Friday (Sabbath) night.
We can’t think of a better way to end a Stop Day, can you?
How do you remember the Sabbath?
Remember. And keep it holy.