Rest: Importance of the Sabbath

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I am a mover and a shaker— a wife, mom of 3 young children and 2 wild dogs. I am a writer, a speaker, a pastor and a fitness coach (have to support the dream somehow). I like my coffee strong and prefer the literal and figurative volume turned all the way up.

I don’t try to find balance and dare not attempt to compartmentalize my life. Sometimes it feels like chaos, but mostly like a really fun dance. I believe life is meant to be experienced full throttle and embraced as the adventure I have come to know it can be.

Yet, here I am, writing to you about rest.

If you’re anything like me, you might be rolling your eyes right about now. Girl, I get it.

I used to cringe at that word. Anytime I would be sitting in small group or at a table with a friend at coffee and they would express how they were trying to rest more and explain to me the importance of honoring the Sabbath, I would about have a full on panic attack.

What I heard was—let’s be lazy. Let’s be slackers.

There are people to reach, things to do and a life to be lived, so, why are we talking about rest?

We are talking about rest because there are people to reach, things to do and a life that is meant to be lived to the fullest.

I have spent so much of my adult life doing my very best to bring honor to God in my doing— whether it’s volunteering at my church, helping friends move into their new home, performing well at my job or encouraging others through my writing.

I love what I get to do and I’m thankful that the Lord would give me the opportunity to be a part of His work on earth. And, while I will continue to make it my life’s mission to leave it all on the line and pour out my heart, my passion and my resources allowing God to write a great story with my life, I am learning more and more that in order to do that well, I must first learn to rest.

We can magnify the Lord in our stillness.

We are not God’s workhorses, slaves or His hired help, but we are His daughters! Just like the children of Israel who needed to be freed from slavery, we also need to be freed from a slavery mindset.

When you and I work, work, work, and work some more leaving no margin for Sabbath rest, we express that it’s all up to us! And even when it feels like it, it’s not all up to us. We have a Heavenly Father who desires to display his goodness and faithfulness to us.

While our culture screams, “Hustle!” Our God says, “be still and know that I am God.” This passage of scripture is not written as a suggestion, but as a command— a command to relinquish control, to let go, to stop from frantic activity.

When we are still, when we pause, when we rest, we turn the focus off from our efforts and magnify God! We are reminded that God is capable, willing, all-powerful and sovereign. When we are still we put our priorities, fears, anxious thoughts and dreams in their proper place.

When we face trials and are tempted to get to work and fix whatever it is we are facing, but instead choose to rest in a posture that says, “God, you are working in my stillness,” we are comforted beyond measure. Knowing that the same God who made the heavens and the earth is with us!

 Sabbath rest has everything to do with how well we will run this race. Just like an athlete who puts her body to the test and understands that rest is a crucial component to her success, the same is true for us.

No longer rejecting or cringing at the mention of the word rest, I have learned to embrace it as a gift from our Heavenly Father who loves us. I have learned that I am not living life turned all the way up or truly living my best life if I have not yet learned to rest.

So friend, I don’t know what your reality looks like for you, but I’m all about starting somewhere. I have not done this perfectly, but I have made some incredible progress. Maybe today your rest looks like you setting a timer for 10 minutes and sitting in your driveway when you arrive home from work. Or maybe it’s unplugging from your phone for an afternoon or choosing a day where you aren’t going to reply to that email, write something on the to-do list or wash the dishes.

The good news is this—it’s not all up to you! Rest in that understanding and walk in that freedom. Let’s magnify the Lord together, not just in our doing, but in our resting.

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LifeSarah JohnsonComment