4 Practical Tips for Sabbath

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From a Sabbath day back when we owned our own business and was bleeding money by the second — it can be done!

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord
blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Exodus 20:8-11

Sabbath is a good gift from God that reminds us we are not God.

We live in a culture where our tendency is to think we cannot unplug from our work for 24 hours–that if we don’t respond to our email, put our to-do list aside, stop worrying about the week to come, the world could very well come crashing down around us. Our default is to believe the lie that there is no way we could possibly stop working and enjoy an entire day off to relax in the love of God because our identity is so intimately connected to what we do that we easily lose sight of who we are–so we cannot rest. To put it more boldly, we don’t Sabbath because we believe we are God–so we choose not to rest even though God gave and commanded Sabbath to us as a gift to remind us that we are not him–that we don’t need to pretend to be him–and that is a good and freeing thing

Jesus says it best in Mark chapter 2, “Sabbath was made for man, not man for Sabbath.”And so Sabbath–having a day where you don’t work and just are– is a gift made for us by God. Sabbath was made for you as a gift.. And gifts are meant to be enjoyed. Sabbath is a gift for you to enjoy! There is nothing more freeing than to realize our lives aren’t dependent on us. And God gives us a whole day a week to be reminded that he loves us and accepts us just as we are, despite our failures, despite our righteous acts, despite our delusion that we’re awesome; and because of Jesus. A whole day a week to remember that our biggest problem, the problem of our own sin, has been resolved through the faith we’ve been given in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus! On our Sabbath we get to proactively remember the goodness of God, and that EVERYTHING in the UNIVERSE is in his control… Sabbath calibrates our hearts and our minds back to what is true and what is right and restores our sanity … so it is a gift to be reminded we are not God.

Now resting comes in many ways, shapes, and forms, and it’s very important that you see that Sabbath is not passive. It doesn’t just happen. And Sabbath doesn’t mean you just veg around all day not doing anything–that’s sloth. So here are 4 tips for your Sabbath:

  1. Make time for Sabbath.

    Schedule 24 hours in this upcoming week for Sabbath. In Jewish tradition, and in the account of creation in Genesis, the “day” started at sundown and ended at sundown, so maybe try for a Friday evening through Saturday evening -or- Saturday evening through Sunday evening. So, block it off in your calendar. Make time for Sabbath.

  2. Plan something fun for your Sabbath.

    Remember here that what is relaxing and restful for you is different than what is relaxing and restful for me. Example: I love Pure Barre. It is a workout technique that I’m good at and I am always energized after it. So I take class on my day off because it’s fun. On the flip side, you can’t get me to go on a run on my Sabbath to save my life. I have horrible knees, my body goes into shock when it’s colder than 60 degrees, it’s just not pretty. And for some of you with more active jobs, working out is the last thing you’d want to do–so don’t do it on your Sabbath! But plan for it. Whether it be a sport, an activity, something you don’t do in your day-to-day workweek. So do something fun on your Sabbath.

  3. Prepare for your Sabbath.

    If having dirty dishes stresses you out, wash all your dishes in preparation for the Sabbath and use disposables on your day off. If you’re low on gas and Sabbath is tomorrow, stop by the gas station today in preparation for the Sabbath. If you hate to cook, eat leftovers, or order takeout. If you’ve had a hard, long week with your kids, ask for help for a few hours or have a friend over to help you watch them. If you’ve had too much people time all week long, spend some extended time alone. Procrastinating and being lazy about preparing for Sabbath will only rob you of your joy on your day off. So prepare for your Sabbath.

  4. Rest on your Sabbath.

    When your Sabbath day rolls around, strive to rest on that day. Try not to mindlessly rush from one thing to the next. Enjoy a long meal. Take a deep breath. Put your phone away. You are a child of God. He is in control. So you can slow down. Enjoy the Sabbath.

Sabbath is a gift that is to be exercised and planned for. It takes intentionality, discipline, and practice as you navigate what’s energizing and what’s not. I’ve had week in and week out where I’ve found that what I thought would be fun and restful was not actually fun or restful, but there is grace in that. Trust that even though it’ll likely never be completely dialed in, Sabbath–intentionally ceasing from your everyday work and striving to rest is so good for your sanity and our joy in Christ. So, so good. We are not God and it’s the best news ever, because that means one day a week we can sit back, relax, and play because first and foremost we have a Father in Heaven who loves us. God gave you the Sabbath as a good gift to remind you you are not God. Enjoy your Sabbath!

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