Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sabbath Calling

It wasn't an audible voice, but He got His point across.

I was thinking as I sipped my steaming chai latte and trying to absorb every single drop of caffeine so that I might stay alert for God's word, that perhaps I needed some more time to rest.  Take a breather.  Not work everyday.  Sloooow down.  As I am sure most of us would do, I simply perished the thought.

And then, I picked up my Bible.  This is a very dangerous thing to do once you have told God that you simply cannot follow one of His commandments.  Apparently, He thinks the whole do-no-work-for-one-day is actually important enough to merit 5th place on The List.

I had no clear destination today in my Bible reading and literally just started reading where it fell open.   And the first little subheading that I read?  What else but OBSERVING THE SABBATH?  This was a Whoa moment (Joey, from Blossom anyone?  Anyone?).  It was whoa like, oh my goodness, God is SPEAKING to me (happy, happy, joy, joy!).  And then, whoa, God means BUSINESS (dun-dun-dun!).

And then, don't you know that I read that part in Jeremiah (chapter 17, verses 19-27) and started to just see all the ways it didn't apply to me.  I mean, it's not like I'm "carrying on my trade at the gates" or bringing "loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem" or anything.  I'm sure that He doesn't mean grocery shopping, right?  Or working on the CHURCH carnival?  Or cleaning my kitchen floor?

And just as I was about to write this off again (because obviously I'm a little thick-skulled), my eyes glanced over to the opposite page.  God was not going to give up.  Apparently since I am not afraid of God setting fire to the gates (verse 27), He thought to try a softer tactic.  Here is a hymn by Horatius Bonar, nestled so sweetly on that page.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, 
"Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, 
lay down
Thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found Him in a resting place,
And He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
The living water, thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched,
my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright."
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in Him my star, my sun;
And in that light of life I'll walk
Till traveling days are done.

I'll give you a moment to collect yourself.

So there it is -- God just wants me to stop working so darn much so I can rest in Him.  It is a gift.  A gift that I am rejecting because apparently I have more important things to do.  I think it might hurt His feelings, me rejecting this gift.  I'd be hurt if someone looked at my gift and scoffed.

I'm not one to want to hurt God's feelings, but I have NO IDEA how to do this.  Really, a whole day?  Sounds completely impossible to me.  And yet, I just remembered what the preschool memory verse is for Sunday school on Sunday (God just doesn't waste anything, does He?).

Nothing is impossible with God.  Luke 1: 37.

So, I'm just going to tell God (hesitantly) that Yes, I will try to accept His gift of rest if He will help me.  I'll let you know how it goes.  If any of you have ANY suggestions, I have a listening ear and a tender heart.

I'm linking up with Andrea's Caffeinated Randomness and Home Sanctuary!


  1. Wow. Just "wow." Your insights are such a blessing! I love the Aug. 24 post, too.
    Thank you, and may God bless you right back.

  2. First, love the Joey reference! :)

    Second, taking a sabbath is a spiritual discipline that we should all practice, though it is very easy NOT to, especially in our culture. It can be as basic as taking an hour away once a week to just be alone with God (sometimes this means taking a nap, even!) or it can be more involved (such as a weekend retreat away by yourself). The key is to figure out what you can do to get some time alone with God, and then SCHEDULE it!

    Praying that you find sabbath rest this week!

  3. Preparation is key as well. If you intend to take a full day as a true Sabbath, make sure the to-dos from the day before are done, and anything you will need for the actual day (pre-made meals, enough TP so you don't have to make an emergency run to the grocery...) is ready.

    More than that, I need to have a plan to fill the hours, a list of Scripture to read, things to discuss with God, supplies to take a good nap =^). There are a lot of "personal retreat" type guides out there to help.

  4. I agree! I have found myself, over the past year or so just absolutely worn out! How have I spent my sabbath? Preparing for the next week of school. I copy, write lesson plans, etc. It seems restful, but it is not. So I have made a conscious effort, this school year, to plan on Fri. and Sat. so I can have that sabbath rest! What a difference! I am still tired...but not nearly as stressed and as I take more time in Bible reading and prayer and rest, I find myself knowing Him much more!

  5. I love this post! This one can be a tough one for me... I am always doing this and that and I find it hard to just REST! But I am working on it! :)

  6. I went through a similar thing a few years ago, with God really talking to me about the sabbath. I read a few articles and scanned some books on the subject and found that some of the ways people said sabbath needed to "play out" were not feeling very "sabbathy" to me.

    For example, one lady insisted that there be absolutely no shopping on the sabbath. Too materialistic or something.

    Well...I'm not a big shopper. Other than groceries, I'm not really one to just go to the mall and wander. So for me, shopping feels like a rest...very "sabbathy."

    Same with exercise. Some people say "no exercise on the sabbath" I love to exercise. It clears my mind. It invigorates me. It brings me peace and helps me sleep better at night. Very "sabbathy."

    Also, Sundays...not a restful day, usually. We use Sundays to catch up on yard work and home projects. We go to church ---NOT SABBATHY WITH LITTLE KIDS!!!! I plan my upcoming week. So I found that other days work better. And it's not always the same day. Sometimes it's Wednesday, because I can order pizza and not cook that day. Sometimes it's Saturday.

    So, I guess I'm saying, since we are no longer under the law, and God is not designating the specifics of our sabbath, make sure you do what is truly restful to YOU. The message here is that God wants you to rest.

    Love you!!

  7. Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest...

    Oh how that verse often hits me! As women, we are often so tired and we don't even know it. Yes, I do believe God delivered a "sacred echo" just for you today.

    Rest well, dear Jen!

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire

  8. I love and hate when God talks to you. Love the fact that He is actually talking to little ol'me. Hate it because I'm pretty sure I'm getting into trouble about something. However, if He's telling you to rest, I think you'd better rest!

  9. I was like that too. And when there wasn't any work, I'd create some for myself. Like why? I've made it so that we don't do any chores on Sundays, and we even made it an "Unplugged Night" which means no going online after dinner. Made a big difference in how refreshed we can be from just that. And wow, how about getting bed early? Sometimes we stay up late (because we can) for whatever reason, but like He commands us to not do and do and do all the time, and just be still. How much simpler can it be?

    Thanks for the compliment on our Then & Now pic. I know, I can probably pass as a high schooler. Doesn't help that I shop in the juniors department...tried going into women's but has never worked out. I have, however, seemed to have somehow managed to become more pale through the years though. =p Anyhow, you can join the club of not aging because you are looking fab yourself in your profile pic.

    Take it easy from time to time.

  10. I guess our posts are similar! I need to slow down. Be still and listen. Right? Great post!

  11. Oh, Jen, what a profound post! I remember all too well that we absolutely keep the Sabbath as a day of rest when I was growing up and it seemed that everyone else did too. The world just slowly crept in and as long as we attend church and nothing interfers with that then we feel free to use the rest of the day however we want to. Your post has caused me to stop and think that I probably need to "rethink" how I spend my Sundays.

    Love sharing in your life through your blog. Smiles!

  12. Isn't it amazing when God speaks so clearly like that (wish he would every day!).

    I've been thinking about Sabbath rest a lot lately -- it's funny that I popped by here tonight (perhaps God is speaking to me through you!). Have you read Lauren Winner's book Mudhouse Sabbath? It's excellent -- I recommend it (as I do her other book, Girl Meets God). I've been trying to get my laundry done on other days of the week, and do grocery shopping on Monday or Tuesday instead of Sunday. It's hard -- it takes some planning to make Sabbath a true day of rest. And I agree with Sandy above -- not everyone's definition of the Sabbath rest is the same. For some, it's napping and reading. For others hiking or even shopping or gardening or "working" in the yard. I, for one, love to putter in the garden, pulling weeds, deadheading. Yes, it's technically work, but for me it's also pleasure, so I wouldn't think twice about doing that on the Sabbath.

    Good thoughts here -- thanks for keeping me thinking about this subject!

  13. I think if the other six days were not so stuffed to overflowing, taking a true sabbath would be less difficult. Still, it takes a lot of intentionality and self-discipline to say "no, I'm not going to do that." I am not there yet. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction.

  14. Our pastor has been focusing on this. He says, pick a time, pick a place, and enter in. He has instructed us that sabbath is for rest, play and listening to God. What you do that is restful or playful to you doesn't matter. Make sure there is some quiet to listen.

    We also have been talking about how it is an issue of trust (ouch) when we think we can't obey God's command--because this and that won't get done. The sabbath was made for us--it is a gift we should relish.

    At this season of life--this is how hubby and I are having sabbath. I take tuesday mornings and he takes tuesday nights and go to a coffee shop with bible, journal etc. Then Sunday we have church, and then the rest of the day is off. I don't cook, we don't do chores, we just chill. We are working with the kids to have homework done prior so that they can have a sabbath as well. We nap, play games, etc.

    At least that's the plan for now. :)

    And, wow. Isn't it cool that God loves you so much He is speaking to you about a day off??

  15. I have long thought the Sabbath is one of the most important days to just rest in Him. How easy it is to forget with the busyness of life every day. I hoep you find plenty of time to rest and enjoy time with Him!

    (I laughed at your Joey reference because he has a new show that I watched recently....and it makes me miss those great 90's sitcoms!)

  16. Jen, we've never met, and yet immediately i connect with you right where you are. 1st because of the blossom line. :) but moreso because the Father has had me on a similar journey for quite sometime. i LOVE how he gently, and miraculously forced you to hear what He was saying to you. isn't He so great? i've been pretty thick skulled myself in this same area. anyway, just wanted to thank you for your realness and for sharing your journey. you're not alone on that path. ;)

  17. How wonderful that you are listening to Him. His love is so big. Beautiful (and thought provoking) post.

  18. Thanks for sharing this intimate time in the Word. I loved reading it. And I love reading from someone who has experiences like I do...let's me know I'm not the only one. And there is a comfort in that...knowing that others interact with him the same way. I felt like I was reading my own blog even!

    This is the second time lately that I've seen the VanGogh painting in a blog . . . with reference to rest in Him.

    Hmmmmm? Maybe I should listen!

  19. Jen! Your heart is just precious! I have SO enjoyed scrolling throught and reading your blog tonight!

  20. Since Sundays in our family are usually filled w/being a co-director of the sunday school program, than coming home to an afternoon with our 4 teens plus my eldest daughter, her husband and her 4 kids...and sometimes another daughter and her signifigant other...and another older son, who lives here part time...also come...I can have anywhere from 12-16 for supper...a lot of work...and by the time everyone leaves after supper...well, I'm done in...Sunday is NOT a day of rest...on the contrary...although I would say, at this point in my life that my heart yearns for it.

  21. Thank you for the beautiful, poignant reminder. Sometimes it can be too easy to justify never stopping.

  22. I call that bible roulett and love to hear God's word this way. You are a great witness to our Father and love your blog.
    We have learned to do nothing on Sundays and it is just such a blessing. Makes Mondays a little easier too:)
    May God continue His blessing in you life:)

  23. I think it's funny how we (including myself) try to justify our busyness because it's church-related or family-related. He wants the best for us and that means resting in Him. And it's so sweet when we do.

  24. Hey girl! I too have found myself justifying working through the sabbath, and never coming to Him for peace and rest. Easy to do when you have so much other "good" things in mind! You're drawings are absolutely phenomenal! You really are blessed, what a gift. I am so glad you found such an awesome connection with God and such a cool way to rest :)Blessings Always! Stephanie


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