Building a Sabbath That's Unique to You
A few years ago, I was teaching Prosperous Soul and had just concluded the session on rest when a woman came up to me. She was a single mom, and one of her kids had special needs and required continual care.
“I don’t know how to do rest. I don’t know how to take time off. I have this situation in my life.” She started crying. “I don’t know how to rest or how I could ever keep a rest. I don’t have time away.”
Something fell out of my mouth that I didn’t expect. I began to explain how the idea of rest comes from Scripture. God taught us to take one day of every week to rest. As followers of Christ, we are not under law, but we can recognize or be tutored by it, understanding this law about rest is an important principle.
The woman was still crying. “How do I do that? How do I take time?”
“Well,” I said, “do you ever have free time when maybe your children are asleep? Or you’ve put them down, and there’s an opening for a little bit of mom time?”
“There is, but it’s not a lot,” she replied. “Every night I get a little bit of time to myself.”
“What if once a week, you built yourself a unique time that you dedicated to the Lord like a Sabbath?” I asked.
“It’s not much time.”
“That’s okay, because we serve a God who lives beyond time. What if you set aside that one evening? You pick your favorite tea, you get your favorite biscuit or cookie, and you find something to read that just delights your heart—or you do something else that’s really fun for you. You then dedicate this time like a Sabbath day to the Lord.”
Her face brightened. “I can do that. I can totally do that!”
A Sabbath That’s Unique to You
Rest is like the oil in a car engine. Without oil, the engine will start up and even run—but it won’t be able to sustain movement long term. Patterned rest is how we add oil to the engine of our lives. That engine was designed to need oil.
You and I were made body, soul, and spirit. When we take a nap, we’re resting our bodies, but we’re not necessarily doing anything for the soul and spirit. For me, a good Sabbath is built around all three parts of who we are. We can find ways to rest the body and the soul and the spirit.
Rest the Body (Cease Toil)
“In all labor there is profit” (Prov. 14:23). Life is filled with hard work, which I love, but as I learned about Sabbath, I realized I needed to slow down by faith and figure out how to rest on my day off.
In my mind, the opposite of toil is moving slowly physically, which means taking a nap or sleeping in. It also means laughing. When I’m at work, I am concentrating and thinking deeply, so on a Sabbath day, I want to laugh, goof around, and play.
Rest the Soul (Learn Truth)
The soul is the mind, will, and emotions summed up in the word historian. The soul “studies” a person’s life and learns between truth and lies. So on a Sabbath day, I want my soul to learn truth. I help this process along by reading, talking, and listening, which implies I’m with people I trust and love.
It also means I say “no” and turn off input from sources I don’t trust or who aren’t giving me good information; this includes things like social media, television, certain movies, or maybe some of the things I read. On a Sabbath day, I can filter these things out, so I don’t exhaust my soul as it fights to find truth.
Rest the Spirit (Know Peace)
A lot of people throw the word peace around, yet peace doesn’t reside inside them. Their homes are chaotic, and their businesses are overwhelming. I know all about that life! But I have learned how to build myself into a place of peace. The way I do this is by presence, thanksgiving, and communion.
Presence: On my Sabbath day, I am aware that God is near. It’s a day set aside, and I devote it to Him.
Thanksgiving: In the morning, I sit with my cup of coffee in the backyard, and I study the trees and watch the birds, and I am thankful. I exercise gratitude.
Communion: I try to take communion on my Sabbath day. My wife and I take it together, and we’re in fellowship with God.
On the Sabbath day, as we cease toil, learn truth, and know peace, we are refreshed. This adds “oil” to the engine of our lives, so we can run long and run strong.
God bless your Prosperous Soul.