God’s Order: Gift of the Sabbath

Ed and I have been trying to implement a Sabbath day into our weekly routine. Even just typing that now feels so forced…implement, like it is something so against our usual nature. Well, that’s because, as it turns out, it IS 🙂

You see, I have this problem. I am well aware of my problem, but I still haven’t seemed to work through it. I worry. A whole lot. I struggle to take life one day at a time like God commands and desires me to do. I’m always preparing for the “next” thing with hopes of preserving some time for rest or with hopes of having a sense of feeling “caught up”. But the reality is, I never reach the rest, and the feeling of being caught up sticks around long enough for me to sit down for a minute before the next thing beckons for my attention and I’m right back to where I began.

So, the order I seem to desire for myself is anxiety, hurry, and worry. I put so much pressure on myself to get everything done, that I never actually get to rest or have a TRUE Sabbath day.

Sabbath days are not supposed to be filled with any kind of work. We are to only do things that fill us and help our minds, hearts, and souls focus back on God. It is a gift that God desires for us to use to re-center ourselves on Him. To find rest, solitude, and peace. But I find myself making excuses because this is an uncomfortable place for me to be…Okay, I can just do this one thing. It’ll make me happy if I clean the kitchen. If I clear my emails. If I check Facebook and get all caught up. When I know for a fact, none of those things bring me true joy and none of those things bring me closer to God. In fact, they bring me closer only to anxiety, frustration, and stress. The exact opposite of what God desires my Sabbath day to be.

I know these things to be true, yet I STILL have such a hard time letting go. Of embracing the gift that a Sabbath day is. Of taking time to pray, to sit, to listen, to worship.

So I’ve come to realize that my idea of order and God’s idea of order are very different…

My order looks like this (get ready to be stressed out!)…clean house, lesson plans done, emails all responded to, bills all paid, food cooked and prepped for the week, dog fed, walked, and tired out, laundry all done, bed made, everything put back in its “home”, caught up on social media, all texts and calls responded to, all chores done, not a speck of dust anywhere in the house, not a crumb on the floor, candles lit, and the list goes on. Sitting here typing all of that I realize, that is nearly impossible. I’ve done it all at once a few times, but I find myself constantly trying to keep up, keep up, keep up. So here’s what my “Sabbath” day ends up looking like…

*Sits down to read the book I’ve been “trying” to read for 2 months called (ironically), “Fight Hustle, End Hurry”*

4 minutes pass. 3 pages in. Dang, I read slower than I thought…it’s been a while.

Uh-oh, I just got an email. Gotta respond real quick so I can keep that box checked and still be all caught up on my emails.

I get up to get a drink of water. Gotta stay hydrated!

Yikes, crackers on the floor, let me clean it up real quick so I can still say the floors are clean! Hmmm while I’m up let me just look at my phone real quick (even though technology on the Sabbath is a no-no for me!!). Oh…my Mom just called, I’ll call her back really quick, it’s probably important!

Okay, back to reading. *Reads 4 more pages.*

*Makes mental to-do list of all the things I will have to do tomorrow to “catch up”*

Well, maybe I should just scratch this idea and keep working, or tomorrow will be really stressful…

So, the rest never comes when I strive after the order that I desire for my life. It’s almost laughable when I write it all out because it’s SO obvious why I have a lack of peace and feel so much worry and anxiety. The thing is that it’s so easy to justify this way of living too! I want to be a good wife. I want to be a good daughter. A good sister, teacher, cousin, friend, steward of my body, dog owner, mentor, writer. But what good can I be when I’m constantly focused on what do I need to do next to maintain “perfection” in all these areas, when the list will NEVER end?? And what am I missing out on? Time with GOD. The only one who can bring me true peace. The only one who can actually help me be good at anything He has called me to do.

What I’ve come to realie this week as I’ve grappled with my struggle to experience a true Sabbath day is that: God’s idea of “order” for my life is different that my idea of “order”.

His order for my life is to rest and be still. To trust that He has given me enough for the day and that all will be well and ready to receive me back the next day when my Sabbath is over. That’s it. Just those things! And how much I prefer that list. So much shorter, so much easier. Easier in a sense that I just get to spend time with Him and trust that nothing will fall apart without me for 24 hours. I don’t have to work, work, and work. And by the end of my Sabbath time, I can peacefully step back into whatever He calls me to do, THAT is the ultimate difference.

Yes, God desires me to be a good friend, daughter, teacher, wife, etc. But He also desires for me to take care of myself the way He has commanded me to, which requires a Sabbath, as both a gift and a command in Scripture…Not a fake Sabbath where I say I am resting, but I’m really not. A true Sabbath where I only do things that fill me.

God’s order is better than the “order” I desire for myself. I realize that I constantly make the mistake of believing I can do more with 7 days than God can do with 6, but I know that is not true.

I’m left with a choice. Do I want to be anxious about order and cleanliness, or do I want to trust, let go, and receive the gift of the Sabbath and the rest that I know I need?

If God, the Creator of all things took time to rest, then we definitely need to do the same.

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