If you had the next several hours to do whatever made your heart the happiest and most restful it could possibly be, what would you do? Some of you, like me, would say that the epitome of relaxation is curling up on the couch with a cup of hot coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. For others, it could be picking up one of your favorite hobbies, such as baking for fun, scrapbooking, swimming, sketching, exercising, meandering around town, journaling, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, or building something new!
Whatever you would choose to do, doesn’t the thought of having a couple of hours of uninterrupted restfulness sound perfect? Life gets busier with every passing year. Responsibilities appear, schedules get booked up, and any chance of relaxation basically flies out the window.
But there is beauty in rest. It’s essential for our physical health as well as for our spiritual growth. In fact, God shares this with us in the very first book of the Bible:
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing… Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” | Genesis 2:2-3
This seventh day was remembered as the “Sabbath,” which is derived from the verb “sabat,” meaning “to stop, to cease or to keep.”
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God…” | Exodus 20:8-10
The idea of taking a Sabbath is awkward for some of us. We know it’s one of those things that’s important, but it’s sort of confusing to understand. Joshua Gorenflo (another Christian blogger) has managed to explain what a Sabbath means in a really great way. He says:
“For Israel, and as it now stands, the Church, Sabbath is a distinguishing mark of what it means to be a people blessed in order to bless others. It is and always will be a choice to stop in the midst of the chaos and pain and suffering and heartache of our lives and enter into God’s loving embrace, to revel in his beauty, to play in his goodness.” | Joshua Gorenflo (emphasis added)
Whether it’s a couple of hours one morning, or an entire day you’re lucky enough to have free – your Sabbath is a time that you spend resting in and enjoying God’s presence. It’s where you take whatever activity your heart most enjoys (or choose from the list we made earlier), and do it for the Lord. Not everyone’s Sabbath will be the same, but that’s okay! However you envision setting time aside to spend with God, do that!
I haven’t been very good at taking Sabbaths my entire life, but I feel that God is tugging at my heart to make it a priority in 2017. Will you join me in setting aside a specific time each week to just rest this year? 🙂 Please comment below with any additional ideas you may have, and let’s get to resting!