Sabbath

I recently had a Sunday that was as close as they come to perfect.

No alarm clock. Coupon clipping with my lovie man. Brunch with my bestie girl. Lake walk with a sorely-missed-co-worker-turned-trusted-friend. Homemade dinner with Mom and Dad.

I went home after my jam-packed day feeling nourished, loved, rested, and so happy.

It was like I went on a mini-vacation for the day, returning renewed and refilled. You know… how you’re supposed to feel after a weekend.

During our afternoon walk, my friend revealed that many of her recent prayers have been asking for strength, fortitude, or were simply a plea to, “just help me get through this!” Her solution? A commitment to observing the Sabbath on Sundays. She was a few weeks in, and said that she was really enjoying it.

Sabbath: A time of rest.

“When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moonrises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.”

-Wayne Muller, Sabbath; Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives

 

Whether or not you align yourself with any particular religion: you are human, which means you need rest. We all do. It’s one of the very basic needs that unites us all. And the notion of intentionally setting aside one day each week for rest struck something deep in me.

I asked my Dad about it while we were making our turkey meatballs, saying how lovely I thought it would be to truly set aside one day each week to relax. He said that in other parts of the world where the Sabbath is held on a more cultural level and more engrained in how the society functions, the Sabbath day is simply used to get together with family, worship, play games, and enjoy meals.

Eat, talk, play, be loved? All day? Umm… Where’s the sign-up sheet?!

We all cultivate, through our choices, the type of lifestyle that we want for ourselves. We make time for the things that we value. We prioritize X over Y, and life spins its yarn accordingly.

Pete and I are pretty different people, but we share one huge thing: we are very good at making ourselves busy. It’s the lifestyle we’ve created. We’ve made commitments to our community, to learning new things, to taking on new challenges, to maintaining our health. These things take up time, and they require continual maintenance. I can’t really imagine letting any of it go, but I’ve also got some big changes headed my way, so naturally I’ve been digging deep to figure out what I need to do in order to make room for the new adventures. I’m also thinking about what shifts I will need to make to my current way of living and, sadly, what I need to let go of.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am an introvert. I treasure space, quiet, and peace. I also value uninterrupted time with the people I love, taking care of my health and wellbeing, and contributing my skills in ways that feel authentic. In looking ahead to the what’s coming my way, I realize that theses are the things I value most of all, and these are the aspects of my life that I can’t imagine willingly sacrificing.

In letting go of some things, I’m beginning to see the value in adding a day of rest to the schedule. It might just be the perfect time to start giving a little more time to the people and things that fill me up and enable me to give back that much more. It might be time for a little more intentional rest and retreat, if only to come back into the world more ready and willing to take on whatever is in store.

What are your thoughts about a weekly Sabbath? Does our culture support it? Is it unrealistic to think it’s possible in today’s world?

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12 thoughts on “Sabbath

  1. “Where’s the sign-up sheet?” I was thinking the same thing. I like the idea of an intentional day off- from WHATEVER. It can be a break from anything. I know people who ‘unplug’ on Sundays, or that is their day off from blogging. I love the idea of setting aside a day just for family and friends and yourself. I might do the same- I know I’d look forward to that day every single week! Thanks for sharing, as always!

    • I think baby steps are probably key here – for most people, taking a full day off from responsibilities beyond resting and enjoying life is a bit unreasonable. But a day off from blogging, or email, or anything plugged in, could be a retreat in and of itself!

  2. I don’t feel like our culture supports taking time off to rest unless we’re sick or on a predetermined vacation -which takes me at least a few days to relax enough to not think about work. In my own life I often find myself pushing myself harder when, in reality, I should be relaxing a bit more and just going with the flow; my own internal rhythm setting the pace. Great reminder of priorities and that we cultivate our lifestyle regardless of societal or cultural norms. I’d love to incorporate a day of rest into my life, I just have to let go as well 🙂

    • It takes me a few days to really relax, too! Whenever I’m on vacation, I know for the first couple days I will always feel restless, a little guilty, and bit antsy. Isn’t it strange that when we instinctually know it’s time to slow down, we automatically push harder? I hope you are able to find time to fold some rest into your week – even if it’s not a whole entire day. 🙂

  3. Oh Katie, thank you for this lovely reminder. I love Wayne Muller’s quote, it makes me happy to think there’s a more enriching way to live. At the same time, it makes me a little bit sad because it doesn’t always seem realistic. Many of us don’t get to choose when we show up for work or how long we work, if we want to have a job. It’s vicious. BUT, even with that said, we have choices. As a Christian, the Sabbath is strongly encouraged… well, it is Scripturally commanded. And I hold very dear the belief that when we choose God, when we choose obedience, God is faithful to work out the details. Even if it means a different job. That gives me some peace when I believe it deep down in my heart. I sense I will be reflecting on this all day. Thank you.

    PS>>> I am dying to know what big changes are coming your way!

    • It’s true, Jane. Our jobs do dictate much of how the “rest of our lives” looks – and, depending on where we live, we take the jobs that are available. They don’t always come with weekends off, or flexible schedules, or much vacation time. I also share your sinking feeling that a full Sabbath day may not be completely realistic. But, I’m holding tight to the belief that we will continually be taken care of – a point I may not have fully gotten across in this post.

  4. I don’t feel the need to share my own perspectives via online comments often, but this one made me think. Days off don’t come cheap, and when they do, they’re filled with laundry, errands, and other general necessities that the rest of the week doesn’t leave time for. My own personal routine has been feeling very cramped lately, with no light at the end of the tunnel (aka “weekend”), and I’m starting to really feel it in my overall health and well-being.

    That all being said, I think that putting aside one day to strictly “recharge,” is not just a novel idea–it really could make a difference in my attitude and physical wellness during the rest of the week! Not to mention, I may actually be able to spend some time with my family and outside-of-work friends!

    We’ll see–I’m finna try it.

    • Oh, Meg. You are a busy, busy lady – and your work schedule is exactly what reminds me that it’s not always possible to take a “full day off” from everything. When you’re juggling two jobs, auditions, rehearsals, relationships – the little things like laundry and grocery shopping are what take precedence on the days off. But I would certainly encourage you to give it a shot – and see if it helps bring the tiniest bit of balance back into your life. xoxo

  5. I have come to this same conclusion myself lately and have started to set aside a Sabbeth Rest every Sunday where possible. This weekend I had my granddaughter’s Baptism and celebration to attend and I really missed my time out, however, knowing I was going to the beach for a week with my husband (Friday) kept me going! Loved your piece. Thank you. Tess

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