About a month ago, I blogged about some new realizations I’ve been having about the concept of Sabbath keeping. In summary, I realized that while I was good at not being at my job for a 24 hour period, I very rarely took a true break from work. My “days off” were filled with shopping, cleaning, running errands, and the like and I was desperately needing some ongoing, consistent, times of restoration.
I’m now about 2 months into a journey of re-discovering true Sabbath and I must say that I love it more and more each week. 🙂 Sure, there have been plenty of things that have tried (and at times succeeded) at stealing that time. The things of this world press in especially as a church worker during Lent. Heading into Holy Week has been crazy, but I’ve realized in those busy, expectation-filled time is when I need that Sabbath the most. The reason why (at least for me personally) is DIRECTLY connected to this 31-day focus on imperfection.
In the busiest times of my life, the expectations seem to be the greatest, and the more distant I get from who God’s meant to be. Like today’s sermon talked about, I get more focused on what I can accomplish or what people think of me than who I am. Sabbath creates automatic space for me to set aside any expectations and just simply BE. Sabbath demands nothing. Instead it invites me to remember that I’m NOT perfect and I DON’T have it all together and I don’t need to. By refusing to meet anyone’s expectations… especially my own, for one 24-hour period a week refreshes me to be able, the other 6 days of the week, to sort through all the expectations and really be doing what God wants me to do our of who I am in Him and his calling on my life.
Taking Sabbath is also a very important reminder to me simply that I’m NOT perfect, that I’M NOT GOD and He doesn’t expect me to be. It reminds me I need rest. It reminds me that I need to be filled. It reminds me that I can’t always be the strong one and that sometimes I need to cry on someone else’s shoulder. It reminds me to seek out relationships with family and friends instead of disappearing into my own little world. It draws me into deeper relationships with others, and most importantly with God.
It says, “it’s okay to let things be.”
Today, I was reminded of a blog post I read around Christmas time called “Present Over Perfect.” One passage sticks out to me each time I read it:
And the same is true at Christmas. You can show up with your perfectly wrapped grab bag gift & your perfectly baked cookies…and your perfectly resentful and frazzled self, ready to snap at the first family member you see.
Or you can choose to rest your body & nourish your spirit, knowing that bringing a grounded, present self to each holiday gathering is more important than the gifts you bring.
While this was specifically talking about the Christmas season, I see applications of this in my everyday life. I can make every phone call I need to make, visit with every person that I want to see, check off every item on my to-do list, and have a perfectly clean house, but lose focus of why I’m even doing those things. I can so easily forget that there are real people behind them and that I, too, am a real person with real feelings. Even if the dishes have to stay in the sink another day or a phone call waits till next week, keeping Sabbath refreshes me to be able to go back at it strong for 6 more days. Instead of working myself into the ground, I let myself be grounded in the truth of who God’s made me to be. Taking a Sabbath from perfection helps me focus on the things that really matter… like many of the things Shauna states in her post I mentioned before:
Present over perfect.
Quality over quantity.
Relationship over rushing.
People over pressure.
Meaning over mania.
Especially as we head into this holy week, which is notably one of the busiest times of the year (especially for church workers) I invite you to remember to not lose sight of what really matters… take some moments to be grounded in Christ and his great love for you. Take a break from perfection and just simply be.
And now, it’s time to turn off my computer and my phone and go enjoy some Sabbath! 🙂