Do you wish you could take a holiday from your cares, your burdens, your concerns?
To have one day a week where burdens, cares of this life, worries that invade your thoughts, your conversations, your home… are totally banned?
Actually, there is such a day as this. It’s called the Sabbath.
The idea of this “holiday” came to light when I read Nehemiah 13:19: So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day.
For me, learning to practice simplicity in 2015 includes how I handle my cares. I need a holiday from care sometimes to keep my sanity. Don’t you?
How do we let go of our burdens?
Simple living embraces remembering to take regular Sabbaths and understanding how to keep them holy.
Two books on the subject of Sabbath give practical advice on how this is done. Sabbath by Wayne Muller and 24/6 by Dr. Matthew Sleeth offers good reflective reading on the topic.
What is Sabbath?
Rest. Renewal, Reflection. Reverence.
In Exodus 20:8 God commands: Remember the Sabbath day. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid…For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
Muller gives the Hebrew meaning of “rested” in this passage as and God exhaled. If the creation of the world was like the life-quickening inhale, then the Sabbath is the exhale.
Can you imagine God saying, “Whew! I think after as busy as a week like I’ve had, I need a rest.”
Sabbath is a punctuation mark. It is a stopping point–a huge from-your-diaphragm exhale. The busy lives and fast pace we follow needs this pause, this exhale. We need rest.
What does rest look like?
Rest is stopping one’s work, whatever that work may be. Rest is freedom from harassment. It is the quiet after the storm. It is children fresh out of a bath with pruned fingers and the smell of baby shampoo, tucked under their blankets before bed time. ~ Dr. Matthew Sleeth
What does rest look like to you?
Rest is the beast of burden unhitched from the plow.
Dr. Sleeth encourages us to take a “stop day” one day a week to transition from human doings to human beings. In keeping a Sabbath, we rest from more than our every day labors. We rest from the tyranny of the urgent and the mundane workweek.
Would our cares be easier to bear if we took regular stop days, Sabbaths, mental health breaks?
When faced with a difficult decision, the idea about sleeping on it makes sense. You know the feeling. You’re exhausted, confused and your thoughts are all jumbled.
Sleep is important for our bodies and brains. When we sleep, our brains are free from physical distractions. Dreams can sort out every angle of the pressing decision. That’s why after sleeping on it, most likely the obvious is clear with just a few hours of sleep.
This is how a Sabbath works for not only our minds, but our bodies. Vacations are excellent ways to practice Sabbath, but they aren’t frequent enough and can be costly. The only cost of taking a Sabbath is time.
I challenge you to think about how you can implement a Stop Day into your week. After a day or even just a few hours of rest, you will be amazed at how refreshed you feel.
Accept the invitation Jesus offers:
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Next time I’ll show you how to put into practice a weekly holiday from care….a Sabbath.
You are loved,