God created our need for Sabbath and wove it into the fabric of our being. He commanded us to incorporate Sabbath into the regular rhythm of our week…setting aside a day that is different from the rest. This rhythm is perfect. In fact, it was the first thing God called holy.
Sabbath is holistic and based on a rhythm of life where God is at the center. It gives us the opportunity to intentionally reorient…reposition…realign our life, our marriage, our family, our relationships and our activity around God being on the throne.
What’s your Sabbath like? Does it look any different than the other days of the week? Here are some suggestions to help you create a meaningful Sabbath.
Renew Your Thoughts. The first step is to get rid of all the thought patterns that will sabotage your efforts. The enemy will use our minds and feelings against us and convince us why we can’t have a day designed for renewal and rest. Let’s kick these thoughts to the curb…in Jesus’ name…and get our minds right! Here are some things to remember as you plan your Sabbath.
- You have great value in the eyes of God
- He sees you as a human being, not a human doing
- Your life is not defined by what you do but by the love of God
- He wants you to be renewed, refreshed
- He wants you to care for your soul
- Embrace your limits
- You are loved
- You are accepted
- He is the Messiah, the Savior, so you don’t have to be
- You can trust Him
- You don’t have to be in charge of the outcome
- He’s in charge, He’s in control
- He is running the world just fine without you
Pick Your Core Pieces. A meaningful Sabbath day revolves around core principles and practices that will create the opportunity to rest and be renewed. These things can include worship, a nap, taking a walk, reading a book, soaking up the sun, having coffee with friends, sharing a meal, and reflection. It may also include refusing to worry about a situation, practicing gratitude, or letting tasks go (unless they give you life. For instance, some of you find joy in gardening…me, not so much.) Start by asking, what would nurture my soul and give me life? Make a list of all the possibilities. Then choose several things to focus on the next time you enjoy Sabbath.
Create Space. If we are not careful, our Sabbath can be taken over by all sorts of activity that tempts us to violate our limits. Before we know it, the day is done…and so are we! In order to have room for the things that will nurture our soul, we need to decide what to remove. Sabbath is not a day to add more things to do on top of an already busy schedule. The idea is to have a different type of day which means you’ll need to decide what needs to be removed so you won’t have a day stuffed with things. What’s a typical thing you tend to do on your Sabbath that you can step away from?
Put it on Your Calendar. I know of people who write out their Sabbath plans in detail. This may be something to consider, especially if you find it difficult to enjoy the day and you are consistently not able to do the meaningful things you desire. Start by choosing one thing. Put it on your calendar. Honor your commitment to what you’ve chosen, just like you would for any other appointment you made during the week.
Hide the Calendar. Some of you may cringe at the suggestion to use your calendar on your Sabbath. You are driven by the clock every other day of the week and you don’t want to worry about referring to your calendar on your Sabbath. If that gives you life…great. Hide it. Don’t worry about following a schedule. Just make sure the lack of structure doesn’t keep you from the things that will nourish your soul.
Experiment. We have a hard time giving ourselves permission to discover what would help us rest and reorient life around God. But there is much joy to be found in the process! Try arranging your sabbath day around a few core pieces and see how it goes. What was life-giving? What didn’t work out the way you anticipated? What got in the way? Keep the things that worked, get rid of what didn’t and try something new. This is not only a good practice for when you are first creating a meaningful Sabbath but is something to keep in mind as the weeks and months continue. What helps you feel refreshed and reorient life to God in one season may not be as effective in the next. There is freedom! You get to choose what to do…or what not to do! Experiment, evaluate and experiment again!
I’d love to hear what things are at the core of your meaningful sabbath! Feel free to share in the comments below and how I can be praying for you. If you want to privately share more of your story email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.