I made a Mom-speech in the minivan to my kids as we headed home long past bedtime the other night:
These two weeks are going to be crazy busy. You will be tired. And that means you’ll probably be grumpy. When we get this tired, the ugly comes out. So, for the next two weeks we have to show each other extra grace and patience and we need to rest whenever we can….
As soon as my speech ended, they continued bickering over prime-seating in the minivan and when we got home, they fought over prime seating during nighttime prayers and who knows what else.
I made the speech again.
I do this for my kids: I prepare their hearts and minds for busy seasons. I remind them about grace.
I ease the burden some, removing some expectations, allowing them to slack off in some areas so they can focus on what’s important right now.
I give them this breathing room.
But I don’t often do it for myself.
In my 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ, I’ve reached November—the month when I’ll study and focus on the Sabbath.
And interestingly enough, I’m entrenched in two of the busiest weeks I’ve had since school ended last year.
Isn’t God funny that way?
I’m slowly reading Priscilla Shirer’s study: Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath and she teaches me about building Sabbath Margin into my life. How to leave space for God to work. How busyness can crowd out His will.
How there’s only so much time and if I’ve packed in the activity too tightly, I’ll run out of room to breathe.
But rest takes great effort for me.It’s a spiritual discipline that I struggle with. I’m better at keeping up with my yearly Bible reading plan and juggling multiple Bible studies and devotionals, memorizing Scripture, praying, and journaling than I am about obeying this Biblical command: Rest.
I’m physically incapable of napping. Instead of sleeping, I lie awake thinking about all the things I should be doing instead of sleeping. By the time I finally give up and throw back the covers in defeat, I’m frantic about the wasted time and move faster through my to-do list to make up for it.
I feel guilty for leisure, embarrassed by free time, and apologetic for fun.
Taking a break feels like laziness.
There’s something else at work here beyond just an addiction to adrenaline. Oh, how I hate for it to be true, and yet digging down deeply enough reveals its ugly presence—-pride. Truly, it feels good to be needed. It feels important to be so busy.
When I run around in a breathless pace, doing, doing, doing all the time, I act as if the world depends on me to function, as if me sitting down for 15 minutes would create cosmic meltdown.
And that’s why God, from the very first week of creation, instituted a Sabbath rest. It wasn’t for His benefit, as if the Almighty God who created a sun, moon, and planet with the power of His words grew weary and needed to sleep.
No, the Sabbath was not for God. Instead, Jesus “said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).
The Sabbath is for us.
It’s a reminder that the universe can exist without our involvement and labor. It’s a re-ordering of our perspective, so that we remember it is God who is essential and not us.
So often, we forget that our jobs, our families, our ministries, our relationships, our everything depend not on our ability, but on God’s power.
We stress about meetings because we think everything relies on how well we present ourselves. We plot out conversations because we think the outcome depends on the words we choose. We think. We plan. We do. We fix. We busy ourselves. We worry. We analyze. We lose sleep.
God knows the pride that burrows itself into our hearts; the tentacles it wraps around us as we seek fulfillment in accomplishments, in tasks completed, in people depending on us.
Sabbath isn’t about Pharisaical hypocrisy and legalism. It’s not about do’s and don’ts.
It’s about Rest.
And Rest is about humbly stepping aside.
It’s about the placing and continual re-placing of God in control of our lives.
So, I’m going to take some rest time. At least for next week, I’ll stay quiet on the blog….spending time reading, creating, being with God, being with my family, instead of writing and posting on my regular days.
I’ll be back the following week and I’ll announce the winners of the big giveaway, so keep entering!!
And I’ll hopefully remind my soul that it’s all about Him, always Him, never me.
To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below! Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Practice Sabbath-Keeping’?
- Finding Room to Breathe: A 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ
- January: Be Still and Know
- February: Pray Simply
- March: Unplug
- April: Enjoy Beauty
- May: Create Beauty
- June: Invest in Friendship
- July: Retreat and Refresh
- August: Learn to Say, “No”
- September: Learn When to Say, “Yes”
- October: Find the Sacred in the Ordinary
- November: Practice Sabbath-Keeping
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King