I wouldn't be mad if you looked at the title of this post and scoffed. I wouldn't be mad because I look at the title and scoff. When will I give in? When will I fully surrender? When will I just do it?
To be fair, I have actually taken a full Sabbath a few times. The best one ever I chronicled here. I know it's good. I know it's right. I know that taking a day off is pleasing to God. So what's so hard?
Do I trust that if I stop, God will make up for my lack? It sounds like a silly question, but I know that when I stop, it means that things get left undone. When I stop, the world keeps going. Do I trust that when the Sabbath day is over and the next day arrives, God will show me how to manage my time, my attitude, my steps?
Last Thursday, I woke up glad it was the Sabbath day for me (I claim my Sabbath as a time when the house is empty. I try not to blog, work on the SDG retreat, do housework, run, etc.) But when my mind kept turning to the details of this and that, I couldn't help but go try to iron out some of the kinks. I couldn't help but send another follow-up email. I couldn't help but get ahead on the laundry so that I wouldn't be waylaid the next day.
And then, as I was folding laundry, I realized that even if I got still enough to read a good book, my brain would not be at rest. And I felt God say this:
I give you permission not to think.
It was such a shift for me to match the idea of my physical rest with my mental rest. I've never been good at putting things out of my mind. If there is a problem, solution, idea, I want to work on it now. But the problem is, if I am always working on the future, I miss the present. I know it's cliche, but what happens is when I don't get physical and mental rest, I regret that I missed the time to take a break. And then I get a little bitter or a little down or I don't have the energy to be the person I really want to be.
For me, I have now realized that a sabbath is something that needs to be cultivated. Just like I mentioned here, there are preparations to be made. But there lies on the Sabbath day, permission to put aside. In the act of putting aside, there comes the gift of relishing the moment. There comes a gift of being able to trust the Father, that He will hold the thoughts, the ideas, the problems, the solutions, the laundry, the whatever, in the palm of His Hand.
Cultivating the sabbath is an act of cultivating trust.