I once had the privilege of meeting with a group of women who I led through a yearlong discipleship journey. Our focus: Rest. After reading The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, we cleared our schedules and set aside our to-do lists to reflect on what we were learning. Prior to meeting I asked my friends to consider this: What is God saying to you about rest? What are you going to do about it?
Although I had asked the questions, I wasn’t sure how I would answer.
I did know that for the past couple weeks I’d felt particularly restless. The restlessness wasn’t a lack of peace, but it seemed to be tied to a weariness I couldn’t quite pinpoint. One by one we shared convictions about rest, Sabbath, neglecting to listen for the Holy Spirit, and being distracted from our purpose. And as we did we practiced repentance before God and one another.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed…” (James 5:16)
Through this time of confession and prayer I realized how regularly we recognize truth that we read or hear, but also how we often fail to take the next step of repentance and ask the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts. It’s easy to agree with an idea, but it is much harder to humble ourselves enough to submit to the discipline of confession.
Over the past 6 months or so I’ve neglected to observe the Sabbath. Don’t get me wrong, it looked like I was observing the Sabbath: Attending church, taking an occasional Sunday afternoon nap, enjoying time with my family… but little by little I found myself working on Sunday evenings: throwing in a load or two of laundry, writing a last minute blog, or balancing my checkbook. There are no hard and fast rules for Sabbath-keeping, but the overarching principle is resting in God’s sovereignty, reminding ourselves to:
Be fully present in the moment
Reflect on the faithfulness of God
Dream about the future
Listen with attentiveness
I see now that I need to cultivate a Sabbath heart right along with my practical practices of Sabbath. Do you feel restless? God is inviting you to take a Sabbath rest.