The Lost Art of the Sabbath
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The Wisdom of the Sabbath
We live in a society and a day and age where rest is all but demonized. As Author and Researcher Brene Brown lays out in her 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living, we need to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol, and productivity as a measure of self-worth. In their place we must cultivate rest and play. The wisdom of creation seems to have something to say about this as well:
“…On the seventh day, he rested from all his work. 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 (NIV)
From this initial recounting of creation by Moses in the Torah (the first five books in the Bible), the Hebrew people cultivated a spiritual practice of Sabbath. Much more than that, it was a commandment given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, along with nine other commandments. Exodus 20:8-11(NIV) reads:
8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Creation as the Ultimate Blueprint
Creation then, is our blueprint. As image-bearers of God, we are called to creatively work and endeavor to contribute to society to make it a better, more Kingdom-like place. And then for our very own wellbeing, we are to rest and take satisfaction in our efforts.
Cultivating a Sabbath Practice
If you are struggling to find a balance of rest and work in your life, take a moment to ask yourself these questions:
- What is the motivating factor behind the exhaustive patterns I have developed? Is it to please others? Is it to prove self-worth and value? Does it stem from a lack of self-worth and value? Am I hiding or running from something that would make itself apparent the moment I took downtime?
- In light of the answer to Question 1, are there healthy ways I can develop more margin in life and begin to honor myself, my family, and my time?
As you ponder these questions, notice if shame desires to creep in. When we ask ourselves questions about self-worth and value, lurking in the background is often fear, guilt, and shame.
But as we know, the good news of the Kingdom of God is that fear, guilt, and shame no longer need to master us. Instead of partnering with and getting lost in these powerful negative feelings, choose a more helpful and motivating thought process.
Start with self-love and compassion. From there, go on to practically address what it would look like to cultivate a Sabbath practice.
Often, the patterns and habits we create have deeper roots than what appears on the surface. These roots can stem from woundedness, pain, and false beliefs about ourselves, others, and God.
There’s a chance that you exhaust yourself to perform for your boss, family, or friends out of this woundedness and pain. Or maybe you’re a mom who runs around non-stop doing everything for everyone else, all the while ignoring your own needs because at some level you believe your needs are not valuable or worth attending to.
If you are beginning to notice some unhealthy patterns in your life, Agave Sozo is an inner healing prayer ministry in Chandler, AZ that can help you find freedom. If you are curious to know more about Sozo or are interested in scheduling an appointment, contact us today!
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