Now, the idea that a college professor needs to take a year off to recover from his hard labor seems hilarious. I think farmers need a sabbatical to rest from their 18 hour days during the busy season and their sleepless nights during the rainy or drought season and the heartsickness at the “God has blessed us with a big crop and now the prices have dropped to nothing and our inputs are through the roof” season.
Or maybe you are in the 3- kids- under-5 season and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in so long you can’t remember, and the baby wants to breastfeed 24/7, and your house is a mess with caked on oatmeal on the highchair and dried milk splatters on all your kitchen chair legs that won’t come off no matter how hard you scrub because they have been on there too long. (Can you tell I was there once?)
Or the what-am-I-supposed-to-do- with –my- life season when you look around and everyone seems to be settled in and content and doing exactly what they were created to do, while you bumble around trying to do everything or hide out at home doing nothing.
Or the I-retired-so-why-am-I tired season with unlimited opportunities to serve others and the inability to say “enough is enough”.
I could go on and on and on, and if I haven’t acknowledged the season you are in, forgive me. The point is many of us need a REST from the madness that our life has become. It is no wonder that so many of us feel disheartened, worn out and unsatisfied. We are forgetting to participate in one of God’s great gifts to us-the Sabbath.
There are many references to Sabbath rest throughout the scripture, starting with God on the 7th day, continuing to the Israelites during their wilderness travels, and Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. The Sabbath was such a part of the life of the Hebrew nation that by the time Christ began his ministry, the Pharisees had developed an entire list of “do’s and don’ts” surrounding the practice of it. Remember when the religious leaders scolded Jesus for healing on the Sabbath?
Can you relate to the Pharisees and their rule-loving ways? I sure can. I like to follow rules and I’m learning that I also like to make them for others. That is one of the things I need to take a “rest” from.
I’m no expert on observing the Sabbath, believe me, but I’m willing to learn. Holy Yoga has taught me that I can be still and calm and restful in the midst of a busy day by coming back to my breath and refocusing my mind on Jesus.
As some of us are working our way through Breathe by Priscilla Shirer, I’m struggling as I usually do in the midst of any kind of group Bible study, trying to dovetail what I’m learning with what I thought I already knew. For me, the work He is doing in me isn’t all that much fun. It’s more like a raking or flossing of my heart as He keeps drudging up areas of unbelief or lack of love for Him or others.
Just how much ugliness is buried there?
Honestly. It would be easier to get back on the treadmill and anesthetize myself with work, possessions, exercise, food, a full schedule. But there is NO FREEDOM AT THE END OF THAT.
So, I’ll stay in the “WORD” even when I want to run the other way, and RESIST THE URGE TO CONTINUE doing things my way. God wants to transform and restore my heart and mind-and yours. And in that transformation and restoration, we are FREE!