Simply Living: Day 5: Simply Resting

Several years ago I was part of a nine month Bible study called "Disciple."  the concept was four years of study, each lasting nine months, each covering a specific area of the Old Testament for 16 weeks followed by a specific area of the New Testament for 16 weeks, and each year a specific discipline was also studied in depth.  The year I participated in Disciple 2 the discipline we studied was Sabbath. For nine months I was convicted, weekly, about my failure to be obedient to God's command (and if you think it's merely a part of dead Mosaic law, let's talk.  It is sooooo much more than that).  Since then my obedience waxes and wanes in this area, but what never ceases to amaze me is how resistant we are to actually practicing the concept.  It's not like God is asking us to change all the dirty diapers of the world for twenty-four hours. He's telling us to sit back, put our feet up and enjoy each other while doing nothing ONCE A WEEK, and we're so arrogant that the world couldn't possibly keep turning if we withdrew for one day a week that we will make up any sad, lame excuse to not be obedient. It truly boggles the mind if you really think about it.
Lately, we have not been good at taking Sabbath (we had been pretty faithfully observing it for several years before this summer). Then Hunky had to take a second full time set of responsibilities at work, there were camps and youth trips, then we moved, and we still haven't settled back into the routine of regular rest yet.

We are definitely suffering as a result: fatigue, irritability, emotional stress, relational distance, these are all symptoms of an overextended under-rested family.

My blog is late in coming today because I spent much of the morning and afternoon preparing for tomorrow to be a real Sabbath. Taking restful time off takes some preparation. I try to make sure clothes are washed, general chores are handled and the groceries for the next day are purchased. These are things that allow my mind to truly rest. I don't have to think about what's coming next because for twenty four hours, nothing is. If nothing else, living simply has made a day of rest not only attainable, but truly restful. I am one whose mind has trouble settling when clutter and chaos abound. Simple Living is a tool that makes Sabbath that much more fulfilling.

Taking Sabbath has required discipline of me in many ways including:

  • recognizing and changing poor time management the other six days of the week.
  • maintaining a more orderly and peaceful environment the other six days of the week
  • proactive thinking to be properly prepared the other six days of the week
  • prioritizing activities around Sabbath.
  • actively living Sabbath which means often declining plans and social engagements once a week, sometimes with little support from the other party.
  • placing trust in the one who holds all things together that the He truly can manage the world, and your job, and your household one day a week.
  • studying to know the heart of God regarding Sabbath rest.
I think Sabbath is a poorly understood and incredibly under practiced discipline in today's Christianity. The only reason I can come up with is a deep root of pride. I certainly find it so in myself. Living Simply is merely another idol if rest isn't recognized as a gift from the One who made all things.  I want to be obedient, and I need rest.

( I have barely touched on the concept of rest today. Ashley at One Ordinary Day is exploring Sabbath for her 31 Day project. So far her posts have been wonderful, and my reading list has grown quite a bit. Go visit her and learn more about this marvelous gift.)

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