Wednesday, August 10, 2011

REST (aka Sabbath)

So a few months ago one of my closest friends, EW, and I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to the Deeper Still conference. While there, we were privileged to sit under the teachings of Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore. And to be led into the presence of God by the amazing Travis Cottrell. This has been a dream of mine for years so for me to be in the presence of such Godly women was a complete blessing.
I have to say that at first,  I was most excited to hear Beth Moore because she is the one who I have studied under the most as far as Bible studies go. HOWEVER...when Priscilla Shirer got up to teach, I was captivated and still to this day am remembering things randomly that she said and really trying to put them into practice in my own life. So, what did she speak on? Are you wondering? Well, I can tell you that at first you may think you know everything there is to know about this topic, but I can promise you she brought a new understanding of it for me... and I think you should keep reading because it may impact you as much as it did me. So, without further ado, the topic was SABBATH!
Seems easy, huh? Rest on Sunday. Rest on the 7th day as God did. Isn't that what you automatically think of when you hear that word? I do...or I did. So, let's get on with it. Priscilla started with some questions. Think on them and evaluate yourself. I'll put my answers in red so you can see what I struggle with as you evaluate your own struggles.
1. Am I so addicted to chaos that I can't even enjoy a rest or a break? YES!!! I love the crazy busyness that I have in my life...or I thought I did.
2. What do I OVER-DO in my life? material things for the kids, exercise, dessert, buying tons of books - I LOVE LOVE LOVE non-fiction and anything from Lifeway.
3. What is taking up so much space in my life that I can't even enjoy it? (and it can even be good things!) my day to day life and what all I have planned for the children
4. Is there breathing room in my home? not really; there are too many books, toys, magazines
5. What frustrates me? that my kids feel entitled to things now, that I am a totally all or none kinda girl when it comes to food and exercise
6. What has become distasteful to me? that I am not able to ENJOY my children because of our schedules
7. What are my priorities? quiet time with God, my family, keeping the house cleaned and the family fed, doctor appointments to keep my health in check, meeting with my Godly girlfriends periodically to check in and share struggles and "God-stories."
8. Am I anxious when my calendar isn't full? YES!!!! Can I live in the white space of the calendar?  I am learning how to do so. 
9. What am I enslaved to now? the voice of the enemy telling me that for my sanity I need to keep the calendar full of activities
10. What do I have a hard time saying "no" to? play-dates, outings, shopping, anything sweet, my kids

So, did you answer them? Good! Now, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! Over-doing it will transfer into every area of your life making it all distasteful and foul...just like in Exodus 16. Moses told the Israelites that could gather food each day for 6 days, but on the 6th day they needed to gather a double portion because they were not allowed to gather food on the Sabbath. What did they do instead? They tried to gather enough for leftovers on the other days also and it ended up becoming full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Kind of like when we over-do it...things turn into a mess real quick with our attitudes, physical space, health etc...

Learning how to rest is essential to our well-being. It is ordered by the Lord. He tells us in Psalm to "be still..." He says in Deuteronomy, "you shall not do any work." There must be a time when we stop ALL things and say NO to something.
Now, does that mean we have to say no to everything on one day of the week? On Sunday to be more specific? NO!!! That is NOT what the Sabbath truly means. As a matter of fact, the Sabbath, by true definition, is when we stop to remember that we were enslaved to something and were in bondage to a yoke of sin. It is a time to remember God's provision and how he rescued us from that enslavement, and then remember the promises he has given us. What the Sabbath is, is a principle to guard against becoming enslaved to anything again. It is a margin of time to remember...not necessarily a day. Wouldn't it be more effective to take a Sabbath EVERY day instead of just one day/week, or never (gasp!)?

So, since this conference, I have cleared the calendar and have enjoyed my time so much more with my family. I haven't felt the pressure of being places with them at certain times and then getting frustrated with them when they were moving slow. I've been able to enjoy watching their little imaginations run wild instead of having them in structured activities all of the time. And when I feel the urge to say "yes" to something...even the good things...I am learning to stop, pray, and then do what God says.

Now I will leave you with a little food for thought...
Living as an enslaved person will have you hoarding what you are given and then thinking you never have enough. But living as a free person will have you giving and then knowing that God will miraculously provide for you.


  1. i love the sabbath. that is our one day that we don't do anything that isn't church or family. thanks for writing about this. when loren and i took a parenting class at church last year, there was something that really struck me. (I also tend to pack my calendar) the teacher said that when we are constantly filling our calendar with all these running around things, we don't teach our children how to work "at home". that really struck me since my house always seems to be in shambles. also, bc of what you say about being spoiled and the entitlement. it's a daily struggle. we just keep on trying. HUGS!!

  2. AMEN Kelly. I love my white-days on the calendar. I love sitting in the park with Adalynn. I love that she gets sleep, which makes happy baby, which makes happy family. I am glad that you are finding some rest in the last few weeks:)