Back in January of this year, we did a series called Making Room. In that series, I did a message in which I talked about how vital it is do develop a system of Sabbaths; the message was called Put the Brakes On. I believe that God made us to need Sabbaths. We were made for pauses, breaks and rest. In fact, God made a series of Sabbaths. There was the weekly Sabbath – work 6 days and rest on the 7th. He made financial and land Sabbaths where debts were to be forgiven and the land was to rest every 7 years. And finally there was a Sabbath called the Jubilee where after 49 years slaves were to be freed and land returned to original owners.
We need Sabbaths. Just like muscles and joints, our brain gets overwhelmed and tired when it has too much stuff to give attention to for too long. The warning sign that we need a Sabbath is anytime we experience “too much, too long.” Add “too hard” and a breakdown is coming.
Here’s what a Sabbath is using words that start with “R” – Rest, Remembrance, Relationships, Replenish and Restore
- Rest – we all need regular physical, mental, emotional rest and breaks from our routines.
- Remembrance – we take a Sabbath to remember God, his calling and purpose as well as our identity in him. We too easily forget what’s so important!
- Relationships – Sabbaths are times to pull away from work to connect with family and community.
- Replenish and Restore – that is the result of regular Sabbaths.
Here’s my Sabbath system. I share it not that you should copy it exactly, but to get you thinking about how to develop your own Sabbath system:
- Daily time in the morning to connect with God – Bible reading and prayer
- Daily time in the evening to be grateful
- A weekly day off from my regular work routine
- Every quarter, I take a day to give focus and attention to prayer
- Yearly, I take 3-4 weeks of vacation and totally unplug from the church and my work there
One of our greatest challenges these days is that we have 24/7 connectivity. We can always check our phone, computer, or tablet. That means we no longer have good boundaries of white space and quiet for a true Sabbath and spiritual pause. It is really healthy to have a regular technology Sabbath as well. Maybe start with an hour a day of no texting, email, social media, etc. Try using the “airplane mode” or turn your phone completely off!
As you are reading this, I’m starting my June vacation/Sabbath. I work non-stop and hard for eleven months and I’m very ready for this month off. I’ll unplug for 3 weeks. I’ll do some projects around the house and go the lake as often as I can. I’ll end the month with a conference. I’ll be back July 1st full of energy, fresh and ready to go!