Back when I was a
much younger person and dreamed of an “As the World Turns Life” minus any
personal drama, I briefly imagined I might teach at the college level. I had no
clue what I would teach, but I liked the idea of
the life of a college professor. Doing research, writing a syllabus, and
having office hours sounded great. Taking a “sabbatical” every few years to
study something new or to travel or to rest and rejuvenate sounded so
sophisticated and la-di-da to me.
Now, the idea that a college professor needs to
take a year off to recover from his hard labor seems hilarious. I think farmers need a sabbatical to rest from their 18 hour
days during the busy season and their sleepless nights during the rainy or
drought season and the heartsickness at the “God has blessed us with a big crop
and now the prices have dropped to nothing and our inputs are through the roof”
Or maybe you are in the 3- kids- under-5 season
and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in so long you can’t remember, and the
baby wants to breastfeed 24/7, and your house is a mess with caked on oatmeal
on the highchair and dried milk splatters on all your kitchen chair legs that
won’t come off no matter how hard you scrub because they have been on there too
long. (Can you tell I was there once?)
Or the what-am-I-supposed-to-do- with –my- life
season when you look around and everyone seems to be settled in and content and
doing exactly what they were created to do, while you bumble around trying to
do everything or hide
out at home doing nothing.
Or the I-retired-so-why-am-I tired season with
unlimited opportunities to serve others and the inability to say “enough is
I could go on and on and on, and if I haven’t
acknowledged the season you are in, forgive me. The point is many of us
need a REST from the madness that our life has become. It is no wonder
that so many of us feel disheartened, worn out and unsatisfied. We are
forgetting to participate in one of God’s great gifts to us-the Sabbath.
There are many references to Sabbath rest
throughout the scripture, starting with God on the 7th day, continuing to the Israelites during their
wilderness travels, and Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. The Sabbath was
such a part of the life of the Hebrew nation that by the time Christ began his
ministry, the Pharisees had developed an entire list of “do’s and don’ts”
surrounding the practice of it. Remember when the religious leaders
scolded Jesus for healing on the Sabbath?
Can you relate to the Pharisees and their
rule-loving ways? I sure can. I like to follow rules and I’m learning that I
also like to make them for others. That is one of the things I need to take a
I’m no expert on observing the Sabbath, believe
me, but I’m willing to learn. Holy Yoga has taught me that I can be still and
calm and restful in the midst of a busy day by coming back to my breath and
refocusing my mind on Jesus.
As some of us are working our way through Breathe by Priscilla Shirer, I’m struggling as I usually do in
the midst of any kind of group Bible study, trying to dovetail what I’m
learning with what I thought I already knew. For me, the work He is doing in me isn't all that much fun. It’s more like a raking or flossing of my heart as He
keeps drudging up areas of unbelief or lack of love for Him or others.
Just how much ugliness is buried there?
Honestly. It would be easier to get back on the
treadmill and anesthetize myself with work, possessions, exercise, food, a full
schedule. But there is NO FREEDOM AT THE END OF THAT.
So, I’ll stay in the “WORD” even when I want to
run the other way, and RESIST THE URGE TO CONTINUE doing things my way.
God wants to transform and restore my heart and mind-and yours. And in
that transformation and restoration, we are FREE!