We, our bodies and our souls, are desperate for rest, yet we are so fearful of it.
Sabbath rest is an act of trust in God. Like sleep. Will you trust God by being inefficient?
Making space for rest is beginning in your worthiness. I am worthy to rest and then I can go change the world with all of my Bravester decisions. But first I must make this brave decision.
The opposite of this is the lie that you must rely on yourself. This is the lie of scarcity that bullies you into thinking that Sabbath rest is unrealistic. This is the good girl and good boy voices that drive you to produce. Production does not equal rest (listen to your soul cry).
Did you notice that word “Sabbath rest”? I’m guessing you have some baggage attached to that word “Sabbath.”
I asked this question to my church group and did I get answers! Yes to the baggage. Such answers that easily came were unsustainable; something outdated; one of the 10 Commandments so it is heavy; something that reminds me of failure; not possible these days; and Sabbath means finger-pointing disappointment. Who likes to get a finger pointed at them making this a ”should”?
This baggage is in the way of this brave decision.
In Sabbath rest we allow our brain to make sense of our busy lives. It gives us space to process what we’ve learned over the week and apply meaning to what we’ve overlooked while moving at our fast pace.
In Sabbath rest we are given space to debrief from our spiritual experiences. This is when we learn the real lessons.
Brain science shows that Sabbath rest also allows our brains to daydream. When is the last time you daydreamed?
In Sabbath rest we bring a strength of stillness to our busy lives. When we don’t rest, we react more to all of the over-stimulation. These reactions may be what is making you more cranky. We miss the moments of the slow way of God. You are not able to pay attention to what your soul needs.
Rest is a gift, a pure gift. There is no need to try to “perfect” rest to please God. God is already pleased and nothing you do or don’t do can change that reality.
Sabbath rest is a way of loosening the grip. Rest is an invitation into an identity that is free of enoughness. Rest is declaring, “I am worthy enough to have this rest.”
I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.
Your body rests in safety because you don’t have to hustle for your worth.
This from writer Amanda Anderson sings to my soul:
This breath prayer from Black Liturgies sings to my soul too:
So what are the reasons why you are not making the brave decision to rest. What are you justifying to be valuable and cranky?
- Sabbath rest is a long period of stillness and quiet to read, pray, and nap. My current life situation doesn’t afford this lavish gift, so I am exempt from Sabbath.
- Sabbath rest is only possible after I get everything done.
- Sabbath rest is only for those who are spiritually mature.
- Sabbath rest can only be observed on Sunday. And because I have Sunday responsibilities, Sabbath is impossible for me.
- Sabbath rest is something I do in order to become more productive. I must rest so I can produce. (I don’t hear any rest in the words “must” and “produce.”)
- I can’t rest because I don’t want to feel my “feels.” (Sabbath is actually a safe place to feel those “feels” because you can grow to see them rightly. All emotions lead us to God. BTW, social media is not a place to feel your emotions.)
- Guilt. This one is tough. If you had hardworking parents or grew up in a disadvantaged household, no one modeled rest for you. You honestly wonder, “Who am I to take a Sabbath–or even a nap–when my single mother never could?”
- “Rest shaming” is real. It comes from parents and caregivers who actually criticize, embarrass, or resent you for taking time to rest. This is the root of that good girl and good boy voice that drives you to scarcity.
- Sabbath rest is for the middle and upper class. The lower class doesn’t have this luxury. This one I do wrestle with because it is true.
What would rest feel like for you?
Does this rest have to happen on a Sunday or a 24-hour period (complete with finger-pointing)? Perhaps Sabbath rest could look different and possible for you?
For John and I it looks like watching sports together. We both love sports. It is a love language from my birth family and between us and between us and our sons. The grandkids are so-so in this love language.
John and I both work from home, sharing office space, sharing work with Bravester, our church, and our moneymaker, Paintball Media. Did you know I own a paintball media company?!!! We work a lot. We are together a lot. We are stressed together a lot.
Thankfully there are 162 baseball games a year. This gives us 162 reasons to stop all of this stressed togetherness, get off of our computers, sit on the couch and actually talk to each other. Often trash-talking each other. We rest. We don’t produce. We find ourselves holding hands often. Until a big play happens.
Sundays during the NFL season becomes Sunday Sabbath rest. There are three games to sit side-by-side and rest! It is just a coincidence that this falls on a Sunday…or is it?
True story. John and I were married in March because it fell between the Super Bowl and before the baseball season started.
What gives you rest and joy together? Maybe it is a glorious nap? I think rest should always involve good food. Often Sabbath rest is better with others.
I believe a part of Sabbath rest should always require some time of Bible reading, prayer and reflection. To take extra time to ponder the work of God in your life. This doesn’t have to happen on a Sunday afternoon. It can happen in that time slot that you prioritize so that it does happen.
Choosing rest is the practice of loving yourself. Which can feel like a selfish decision so let’s add that to the baggage list.
Here’s why you need to make this brave decision. You must become compassionate toward yourself first in order to become compassionate toward those around you. Do you want to live more compassionately? Do you want to not be cranky to the people in your life? And the strangers? Have you noticed your crankiness lately? Make this brave decision to rest. Do it for you and do it for us.
From other conversations we have in our church, we came up with this definition of Christian living:
With boundaries I know who I am, who I am maturing to be in my identity in Christ, so I can give up my privilege and show compassion to the world.
Sabbath rest is placing the boundary on you stating that I will start my life from a place of rest. Like the Jewish practice of the day beginning in the dark, our schedule begins from the Sabbath. You are declaring, “I am worthy to rest and then I can go change the world with all of my Bravester decisions.”
We need you to help change the world. We also need you to be less cranky.
Make the brave decision to rest.
Originally published at Bravester with permission from Brenda Seefeldt Amodea.