“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.” – Exodus 20:8-10
I’m dating myself here, but does anyone but me remember when most stores were closed on Sundays? When I think about those days as a kid I remember feeling sometimes that Sunday afternoons were boring. No mall to go to, no errands to do with my mom…just books to read, maybe some TV to watch and hours to spend by myself and with my parents. Today, that sounds like a vacation! It’s funny how our perspective changes once we have more options for how to spend our time.
The key word here is “options.” I’ll bet if I took I a poll, at least 50 percent of the people I talk to in a given week would use the word “busy” to describe their lives. Whether you work outside the home or have a full-time job running a household and/or raising a family, I’m sure you’re busy too. Life is full of demands on our time, energy and attention, and it may feel like your only option is to keep moving. And yet, what happens after you take a break? Even a short break can make a dramatic and positive difference in how we feel and how we operate. In my experience, nobody will set that boundary for you. You have to do it yourself if you want to preserve time to renew.
It is counter to our fast-moving, accomplishment-driven culture, but I think we’d all benefit if we reclaimed our Sabbath day, or at the very least, a Sabbath hour or two. A few weeks ago I skipped my errands after worship and enjoyed a Sabbath afternoon of my own. I listened to some music (thank you, Lauren Daigle) and read some inspirational passages from a book that has been on my coffee table for a long while. I listened to the birds in my backyard and watched airplanes create long white streaks in the crisp blue sky. I ended the day by attending a restorative yoga practice instead of the usual heated power yoga practice I enjoy multiple times per week. My Sabbath afternoon was mostly quiet, grounding, and exactly what I needed to tune into myself and whatever God was trying to say to me.
I recently heard a quote by Matsuo Bashō, the 17th century Zen poet, that speaks to the concept of Sabbath: “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.” I’ve committed to having a Sabbath afternoon at least once a month during this busy spring season. I can’t wait for the next one.