Discovering Sabbath Rest
In an effort to maximize the time while socially isolating, I have started reflecting on lessons God has been teaching me. I am hoping to share a few thoughts over the next few weeks that might resonate with you and be an encouragement that this crisis wasn’t for nothing. I got another revelation (yes this has happened more than once) of how bad I am at rest. I am terrible at sitting still, leaving days unplanned, and keeping an open agenda. I am a “get it done” person. I’m proud of that quality, but it isn’t always beneficial. During this period of social isolation where all of my interactions, school classes, workouts, and professional events were canceled I actually began to discover Sabbath rest.
Before this crisis, I didn’t feel the freedom to choose rest because so many of the events I was involved in were “good” things. Serving at church is a good thing. Shuttling kids to their sports is a good thing. Building healthy friendships through dinner parties is a good thing. Mentoring young people is a good thing. All these are “good things” until they rob you of obedience to God’s word.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11 NIV)
The passage above points out that those that follow God’s way rest from their work. God created the heavens and the earth and rested. He enjoyed a day off. I didn’t realize that I had believed a lie that all the “good things” I had packed into my life were paramount to rest. I would fill almost everyday and every moment with something. Social isolation was mandated and my calendar was cleared. This required slowing of life helped me uncovered the restorative fullness that God’s rest provides. I realized I had been allowing the “fullness” of life to be stolen from me.
As I discovered Sabbath rest the anxious and high-strung mindset I carried began to dissolve. The stressed-out feeling of always being behind dissipated. I wasn’t worried about missing an important event or capitalizing on an opportunity. I rested. I felt a deepening sense of trust in the timing and sovereignty of God. I didn’t stop working but I honored the rhythms of work and rest prescribed in the word of God. I enjoyed multiple weeks of mirroring God’s rest. Working for six days and resting for one. I felt peace and joy even though the world seemed to be falling apart.
What did Sabbath rest look like for me?
I knew that this was what I needed before social isolation began but I didn’t choose it. I didn’t take a stand against the enemy of my soul by protecting and preferring God’s way. The self-justifying contentment I felt from being busy was a cheap reward compared to the revitalizing rest God offered. I am realizing now that I never want to go back to the break-neck pace I had before. As we begin to ease the social isolation regulations I can already sense the tension to go-go-go. That familiar temptation to fill my calendar with “good things”. I have a compelling vision to help me choose God’s Sabbath rest. I want my children to lead lives that balance hard work and divine rest. If I don’t choose to model it...it will be much harder for them to discover Sabbath rest for themselves.
If you struggle to discover Sabbath rest, start today. Do something you enjoy. Go to a quiet space and ask for help in being still. Prioritize rest. You will find that the problems you are facing have fewer tentacles to thwart your efforts. You just might find that a little rest will bring about new ideas, hobbies, and talents that would have been left undiscovered in busyness. How have you found rest during social isolation? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If this was helpful please consider sharing it with your friends.