“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
— Genesis 2:3 (KJV)
What does your Sabbath look like?
Recently, I was reading that the Sabbath, or “Shabbat” in Jewish literature, is described as a bride or a queen. Extending this metaphor, I think of it as a day spent with royalty; kingdom-style remembrance of whose I am and for whom I am living. For me, Sunday is about realigning my spiritual compass to His true north.
If I could paint a picture of my dream Sabbath, it would look like this:
I wake up well rested and the house is beautifully quiet. I spend time in a lovely garden with a delicious cup of coffee, Bible in hand. I am having amazing communion with the Lord and I deeply listen for the plans He has for me. Our family attends a peaceful church service and we are filled to the brim with encouragement. We come home and enjoy a simple, but delicious, meal. We laugh, light candles, and linger around the table. Christ’s love perfumes the air and we are overflowing with His care for us in the deep shelter of Sabbath.
Instead, what usually happens is this:
I wake up and look at email. Our family is late for church and then grumpy about it. We come home and have sandwiches with cold lunchmeat and last night’s leftovers. I start doing laundry and preparing for the week, all the while feeling empty inside. The Sunday night blues hit and then I feel lost because I have not had any true soul-filling time with my family or my Creator. Where did my Sabbath go?
In my heart, I desire the dream Sabbath or anything close to that day. Yet instead, I put other things first and then the day is taken away. I am so tempted to make my Sabbath productive instead of the true intention of resting and renewing in Him. Instead of gardens, peace, and rest, I have laundry and lunchmeat.
God commanded in Exodus 20:8, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (KJV).
Holy feels hard. I desire holy, but I do not know how to live it out. Perhaps I am making holy too hard. By requiring an elaborate picture of what Sabbath should look like, I am forgetting the true intention of it. Everything does not need to come together perfectly. It does not even have to be spent in church, although I believe that is the best place. Simply, Sabbath needs to be time spent resting in Him and His word. If Jesus came over for coffee, I think He would say, “Just love. Just be with me. That is it.”
I think that not being able to rest on Sabbath is really about fear. Without meaning to, my actions say, “Even though He commanded it, He really meant it for people who don’t have as much to do as I do. Really, I don’t trust God enough to think that He’s going to work alongside me. It’s really all up to me.”
When I read Genesis 2:3 which says God rested on the seventh day, I am reminded that God probably did not need to rest. Yet, He did. He rested because He wanted us to see His example. I am sure He was not tired; He probably could have kept going and going, but He lovingly rested because He knew we would need it. Isn’t that just like the example we give our homeschooling families? We know quite a bit of what they need to know, but we model that learning alongside them. We lovingly provide it to make it real to them. I look at my Sabbath and I see that I am modeling accomplishing, not rest.
Sabbath is our chance to stop, to breathe, to set aside the world for one day. It is our chance to honor God by making it our offering to Him. It is saying, “Lord, I trust You enough to give You this day and let it unfold exactly as You have planned. But first and foremost, I will seek Your face and Your word.”
I know my Sabbath will never be perfect, but I will start with the intention of looking for God to show up. I will seek Him in the quiet of my mind and heart for an afternoon, a morning, or even an hour. Previously, I have held Sunday in a tight fisted grasp, hoarding it. However, I think Sabbath needs to be cradled lightly with palms open and pressed up in praise. God loves us so much He has given us a day of rest. Let’s honor Him by making it truly His this week.
How will you honor Sabbath this week?
Read Psalm 92:1-5 – A psalm and song for Sabbath Day
How will you honor Sabbath this week?
Think and pray about how you celebrate Sabbath. Discuss it with your family and invite them to participate in creating a special day this week. How might you find more rest and renewal as a family this Sabbath?
Thank You for the Sabbath and the chance to rest in You.
As we prepare for a new school year ahead, will You show me how we can keep it holy?
Can You give me the wisdom to impress upon my children the importance of Sabbath?
I pray for renewal this Sabbath and a deep filling so that I can focus on knowing You more this day, this week, this year.
I am excited for all that You have in store for me and my family for the school season.
I pray for a year ahead filled with wonder, joy, laughter, peace, rest, and a deeper love for You.
I love You, Lord. You are so good.