Last Sunday my husband and I had the opportunity to attend worship services in Paragould, AR at a friend's church. As the pianist at my church it is always a delight to have a break from playing so that my soul can fully worship my King. (Of course it is possible to worship through playing music but I love being able to worship without also accompanying a congregation at the same time.)
I have been thinking about last Sunday's sermon on resting all week long. (You can actually listen to Pastor Jared's sermon through this link.) As an organized, type A efficient young woman I have trouble resting. I feel this inner drive to keep doing and making and going and on and on and on. I just can't sit still even though I know it's important. One of the worst things in the world for me is to be somewhere and to have nothing with me to occupy my time. I am the lady at the doctor's office who brings a bag full of activities for a 20 minute appointment for fear or running out of work to occupy my time. :)
Rest is important for all of us. Let me say that again. Rest is important. God thought that rest should be such an important priority in our lives that He established the Sabbath in Genesis. Sabbath. A day of rest. A time to step back from our busyness and be refreshed by the Lord. Why is it so hard for us as Christians to embrace a good thing that God has given us? Rest is a wonderful thing.
Throughout my life I have wavered a lot in practice of resting or taking a Sabbath each week. There have been years where I worked through legalism and then there have been years when resting was not a regular part of my week at all. I was utterly convicted last week of the importance of setting aside a day to rest. God gave us the example of Sabbath rest. Not as a punishment but rather as a gift. Hebrews 4:9 tells us, "So then there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God." Think for a minute how your week could be utterly changed if we took these words to heart. How could taking a day to rest and focus on our walk with Christ impact your life?
In Mark 2:27 Jesus told his disciples that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." For those of us who believe the Gospel, we are able to rest the way God rests. This doesn't mean that my day of rest will include spending all day catching up on my favorite episodes of Downton Abbey. Instead it means a day focused on refreshing my soul as I set aside a specific day to spend time with the Lord. This sounds great but can this really happen for today's modern Christian woman? Yes! Over and over again one of the things I have to continually tell myself is that who I am is not dependent on what I do. Although I wish often that God would give me just a few extra hours in my day, He has already given me the time to accomplish everything that He wants me to do. God does not love me more because I accomplished everything on my to-do list for today and He doesn't love me any less if I don't accomplish one thing.
As I have mulled over Pastor Jared's sermon this past week I have been working on fleshing out what it truly means to rest and enjoy God one day a week. I have been asking myself the question:
"What helps me to enjoy God?"
- Spending time with Christ as I pour over his Word, spend time in prayer, and take advantage of time to write out what He is teaching me in my journal.
- Getting outside and enjoying God's creation through walking, hiking, kayaking, exploring parks, and horseback riding.
- Taking a nice long nap outside on a blanket.
- Sharing what God is doing in my life with friends or with my husband.
- Spending time with my family making breakfast and going on an adventure.
- Eating simple meals. Practically speaking a restful day also includes leisurely easy meals to prepare that are for the most part un-impressive. This also means that I am not spending my day washing three sinkfuls of dishes.
- This also means that as a pastor's wife, my day of rest is NOT on Sunday. For pastor's Sunday is a long work day. My husband's work day often begins at 6:30 on Sunday morning and extends until well past dinnertime. I have decided to make Sunday a fun day for my children but also a day of work in order that as a family we can truly rest on Saturdays.
So what about you? Do you regularly take a Sabbath or set aside a day of rest? What does that look like in your own family? I would love to hear how you intentionally set aside time to enjoy God.