Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cultiviate: A Sabbath

photo source
How many of you are tired of me talking about rest?  How many of you think, "When will she just learn to take a day off and be done with this?  How many days, months, years, decades, will it take her to get this?"

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?

photo source
It comes down to one thing.


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.


  1. "Cultivating the sabbath is an act of cultivating trust" this is so true and so difficult for those of us who are task-oriented and feel like a day where the to-do-list received no check-marks is a waste of a day. This is a lesson I'm still struggling to learn.

  2. I agree! Cultivating the sabbath is an act of cultivating trust! In Ex. 31:13 it talks of the Sabbath being a sign of the covenant. This was interesting since the signs were usually more along the lines of rainbows and babies in swaddling cloths lying in a manger. So how could keeping the Sabbath be a sign? Then, it occurred to me that it is a sign of trust!

    And yes, I agree, it is difficult to do on a regular basis and to cultivate this in my own life. Which is why I like your continual posts about rest and finding rest! One of the hindrances that I found on making Sunday our rest day was that the house was a disaster on Sunday night and that set me up poorly for the week. Then, someone (don't remember who) pointed out that it states there was evening, there was morning....the first day. The Hebrew day starts in the evening. This idea helped me so much to start in the evening. The night before. And then come Sunday evening I/we can clean-up and prepare for the week, that helped a lot!

    Whew. This was a long comment from me -- I guess I was inspired by your post!!


    forgive the caps, which i normally never use. but this post is so amazing, sister. i only wish i could convey to you how much i needed to hear this today. it's something that He has been impressing upon my heart, this thing of resting and resting well. it isn't something that i'm very good at, and i've been fighting this a lot lately. i've even composed my own lists of things to NOT do, and my ways to rest and breathe instead of scramble.

    cultivate, sister, and i will bring my spade and join you.

  4. What the world demands of us with our 'time', it is hard to fight. The Lord needs our best and our best is trusting Him with our TIME. Yes, yes, yes!

  5. Your first paragraph made me giggle, but guess what? I never get sick of hearing about rest. It reminds me I need to make some changes with me.

  6. When I did my year end review and rereading of my journal one area I failed to really practice last year was Sabbath. So it is something budding in my heart to nurture this year. I do like your thought of cultivating it. Preparation, turning it over, planting the seeds, nurturing its growth...the the trust. I will be pondering this Jen. Thankyou

  7. Do you find that when you are reading certain words just jump off the page? These words of yours spoke to me, "if I am always working on the future, I miss the present." My mind seems to always be thinking of one more thing - am I missing the present by thinking too much of tomorrow? Great encouragement, Jen - I really appreciate hearing it again. :)

    Many blessings!

  8. I think pace drives not only our need for Sabbath but our frustrations with putting on the breaks to rest. Our minds are like those hubcaps that keep going after the car stops! :) And I agree it is about trust---and needing things to be just so. Someday it won't matter that the laundry got behind will it? Great post to linger over Jen.

  9. The hardest part is getting the mind to rest. And we are never tired of your processing.


  10. Very thoughtful post here. As Christians, we are called to be rebels in a way. The world doesn't like sabbath, because it inteferes with $$. We really have to buck the system to enjoy sabbath. I'm not too good at it either. Thanks for an inspiring post--Kathy

  11. I never tire from hearing what God is teaching you. We're all on a journey. Thank you for sharing with authenticity. You inspire me more than you know.
    Cindy :)

    P.S. Your comment on my SDG post made me cry. TY for your gracious words. :)

  12. I think we are taught that relaxation is some how bad, lazy, or willful. But God created a day to rest and reflect, making it equal to the others of the week. So while it can be difficult, it is very important to re-learn how to allow yourself time to breathe, think (or meditate in your own way) and be ok with leaving things undone.

  13. I love this. "In the act of putting aside, there comes the gift of relishing the moment."

    It's so hard to turn off that mind.

  14. I am self professed processor. I attribute it to being a writer. However, my mind is in desperate need of rest. After reading your post, I too plan to take time regularly to bask in the moment of real rest found only in the Sabbath day. Thank you for speaking to my heart.

  15. You totally hit the nail on the head!! This is exactly me! I can sit still and quiet, but my brain does not. You're right, we miss the present if always looking to the future. Wise words here, my friend. :)

  16. cultivating the sabbath is an act of cultivating trust -


  17. Here's to a lifetime of true Sabbaths, when you are given permission to experience every moment with Him.

  18. I am with you. Many of us are with you. Don't apologize.

    Remember you day of preparation. It will help you relax and not feel like you are forsaking your responsibilities. Do an extra load of laundry. Cook double. Schedule a blog post.

    Also, one thing that is helping me a lot (the subject of which will be a blog post for me next week!) is to do a "mental dump." Every morning, I write out everything that I need to do on a legal pad.

    As more things come to my mind throughout the day, I just keep jotting them down. I am finding that the mental overload I'm feeling is often because I am trying not to forget what I have to do--even if it's something I have to do next week!! It's like trying to hold too many balls, and I just keep feeling like I'm dropping something.

    But when I write it down, I know it is in a safe place, there for me to remember, and I don't have to carry it in my brain. It's like setting the balls in a little box so I can pick them up one at a time and deal with them in a reasonable manner.

    Does that make sense?

    Today is my Sabbath. I really, really need one after a very hectic week. Don't give up. You can do this, girl!!

    (Oh, and I loved your Christmas card!)



Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.