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Need a Break? Pt. 2

Is the Sabbath relevant to Christians today? We ask the question like it is some bitter pill we must swallow, while the world outside is literally tripping over itself to market concepts of rest, self-care, mindfulness, gratitude, laughter therapy and other such shadows.

Christians, come on—let’s enjoy our beautiful heritage! From the very creation of the earth God modeled a Sabbath rest. Jesus said the Sabbath was made FOR us. (Mark 2:27) This gift of rest includes two facets: to stop working and to draw near in relationship to God. One day a week stop working! This requires faith though. How will we stay competitive if we take a day off? Our fear about performance roots into our identity whether a farmer, a Silicon Valley techie, or a minister. Few Christian businesses take this bold approach to obedience. Few individuals enjoy a truly restful, spiritual respite in their week.

My friend Shinae and her husband were compelled to build the rhythm of a weekly Sabbath into their young family after hearing a message on creating margin. She shared, “The Holy Spirit deeply touched our hearts about taking a full day off and relaxing spiritually, mentally, and physically on the Sabbath. Rather than doing our work and schoolwork on Sundays we finish by Saturday night. On Sunday we go to church, spend family time together hiking and biking. We invite friends over, read, and so on.” She ended with this, “I truly believe that taking a full Sabbath makes our family’s life more abundant and enjoyable.” 

One day in seven we design to look like heaven. Go ahead, imagine heaven and make your Sabbath mirror it– joy, peacefulness, childlike hope, laughter and wonder in the glorious presence of Christ the King. The believer’s rest includes a rest from strivings, a rest from fear, rest from working out a righteousness of your own, a rest from sorrow. As we place a boundary around this focused time, ask: Is our heart softened to hear God’s voice?  Are we positioned to receive from God Almighty? Can we offer Him the praise and honor due His Name? We set a boundary around our Sabbath to think higher, dream bigger, love more deeply, and find our stride with God.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night…” (Psalm 92, A song for the Sabbath day.)

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If you need resources on how to walk closely with God, check out my book Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. It can be found anywhere books are sold, or at http://www.MargaretAllen.org.

Uncategorized

Need a Break?

I don’t mind working from home, it’s living at work that wears me out! Are you just done? Over it? Needing an infusion of creativity, energy, and vision? I know of something that helps, but my answer may surprise you. This is a habit that productivity consultants and the Bible agree on.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God…For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20)

Before our mind races to an image of people huddled around their Bible by candlelight, consider what it could look like for us to take a Sabbath. In my book, Gracious Living, I describe a process: “My husband and I made small changes in habits and reaped the family benefits of this gift of the Sabbath. We purposed to make Sunday a restful day. That meant the tiny changes of finishing all the laundry by Saturday, choosing not to get online or watch television, and instead having family night where we played games, worshipped, and had devotions. Andy and I used to laugh that we couldn’t buy a nap on Sundays, but we sure tried!” I’ll add that we also skipped dinner on Sunday evenings as a way to lessen the work load while also modeling prayer and fasting to our children.

Dear Parents, if our kids are doing school online all week, they need a break from technology. How can we possibly develop a healthy family culture if we are never all together in an undistracted environment? “Those Sabbath days we not only modeled how to listen to God and enjoy His nearness, but also how to listen to each other and enjoy each other’s friendship.  It trained each of us to live in a mindful, restful, reflective rhythm each week. It gave us permission to pull out of frantic busyness and breathe. Embracing the grace and rest of a weekly Sabbath filled us with the energy to give others grace throughout the week.” (From Gracious Living, p. 96) Not only is our personal life energized by this day set apart, but also our professional life. Productivity experts advise executives to take a day with no texts, emails, or work calls to evaluate the big picture, birds-eye view of life.

As working from home and living at work have blurred any sense of normalcy, setting up a boundary like a Sabbath will actually increase our creativity and zest for life. Interestingly, Jesus said “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) This boundary was designed by God FOR us. Jesus described the Sabbath as a gift to help us rest and savor life. It is not meant to be a rigid ruleset that confines our activities. Rest is a good thing. Reflection and mindful living are good things! Consider enjoying a Sabbath this month and record what you discover.

I would love to hear how you have created a pattern of rest in your life. Does anyone else follow a Sabbath? Let us hear from you! Share any habits that have worked for you and your family.

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I talk about ways to walk closely with God in my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. It is available anywhere books are sold. http://www.margaretallen.org