I sat in my chair watching as the rain cleared. The drops on the leaves were glistening from the sun. A beautiful rainbow appeared. Peace settled in my spirit, as I breathed in the crisp air. Out of the corner of my eye a beautiful butterfly fluttered to a leaf, spreading its bright blue wings. The golden-brown outline of its wings glistened in the light. It fluttered for a few minutes then flew away. Once again, I looked up at the rainbow as great peace engulfed me. Sitting quietly, I heard in my spirit, “This is what I want for My children and you. To rest in Me and take these moments of pleasure to calm your mind.”
This crazy busy world is buzzing with social media, commitments, and obligations. Running here and there can drain the life out of us. I often just go until I crash. I write sticky notes of what needs to be accomplish for the day and place them on the dashboard of my car as I am running around. I place notes on my desk, on my computer, and mirror. I recently noticed that the word rest is not on my list of things to be accomplished. Scheduling every must-do in my week, I rarely scheduled for Sabbath rest.
The Lord wants us to enjoy life and use our gifts to minister to those around us. Yet, when busyness overtakes us, how can we truly minister? Our peace and contentment are buried under the hubbub of life. When the lists become lengthy, other things fall through the cracks, tasks are not completed in excellence, and stress takes over. We would love to blame the enemy for lack of mental rest and physical exhaustion, but the truth is, we are the enemy to ourselves.
Recently the Lord has been guiding me to study Sabbath rest. Sabbath rest is a quiet soaking in God’s love. It is designed by God as a time of peace and delight. It can be spent with friends and family or in solitude. I know some of you may be thinking, “No way with my busy family can I have a day of Sabbath rest.” But Sabbath rest is not sitting all day twiddling our thumbs and reading the Bible. It can be as simple as stopping our everyday tasks and intentionally having a time of refreshment from God. It is a time to clear our minds from even discussing tasks or work. The Sabbath rest consists of resting, but it can also mean playing and doing activities that bring us joy and relaxation.
Sabbath rest is not just physical rest. It is a time to focus on God and allow Him to do a work in us. As Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV). Our rest should not only be what we stop doing, but also what God does in us. It is a day of noticing and simplifying. It is a joyful day of renewing our minds and restoring our bodies and souls.
The Sabbath is the only day mentioned in the Ten Commandments, and Scripture speaks multiple times of rest. If God enjoys rest, we need to also. “And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased)on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Jesus knew the importance of rest: “He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16 NASB).
My husband, who is semi-retired, and I decided we would take a time of Sabbath rest each week. We may not do it the same day of the week, but we try to set aside a day or at least a large part of a day. Trying to implement it was difficult, but we were determined. We start with an extended devotional time and prayer. We read and do activities that allow our mind and body to rest, hopefully not allowing the computer or phone to interrupt. Sometimes we take a drive or just change our daily routine. Many times, we end our day with ordering pizza and a special desert.
Some friends enjoy going to open houses, while others just turn off all electronic media. The point is to relax and rid ourselves of the daily stresses of life. Make a plan in your schedule for a Sabbath rest, even if it is just part of a day. Try being creative. Pack a picnic lunch and go to a park. Talk about God’s creation while enjoying it. As a child, I remember laying on the grass and gazing at the sky, seeing animals in the clouds. This is the type of rest that God delights in. You can play music throughout the house, read a good book, or take a long walk with your family. Your children or grandchildren can do arts and crafts, and older ones can put away their phones and play football or basketball in the backyard, read, or watch an inspiring movie with the family. God desires that everyone rest from the everyday things that “wind” us up. At this time, God will refresh and renew you and your family for the week ahead.
January and February are what I refer to as slower months. During these months we recuperate from the busy holiday season before spring begins to ramp back up. That seems like a great time to implement Sabbath rest. Since we have disciplined ourselves to partake in the Sabbath rest, I am learning to appreciate God’s creation, enjoy life more, and I am not nearly as tired because I save those sticky notes for another day. May you find refreshment and joy from your time of Sabbath rest too.
Lord, in this crazy fast-paced world, it seems that life gets away from me. I have so many distractions and things that need to be done. My desire is to have a creative way to spend Sabbath time and enjoy the rest You desire for me. I am asking You to lead, guide and direct my path. In faith, I am excited to see how You help me accomplish this. In Jesus’ name. Amen.