A Beginners Guide to Sabbath
Helpful steps to healthy rest.
We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle to slow down. My life is busy with work, studies, relationships, sport, eating, travelling and writing. There are days that I want to slow down, but I can’t. And the days that I can, I crash. I crash hard.
I am writing this blog, as much for me, as I am for you. I have wrestled with the point, the purpose and the actual ability to Sabbath for years now. It’s something that I read so often in Scripture, and I am told to do by mentors, but I struggle. I struggle to slow down and be.
These thoughts are an accumulation of my ongoing desire to Sabbath well and some things that I’ve found useful that have helped me to spend quality, life-giving and joyful time in the presence of God, rather than a guilt-tripped devotional study.
derived from the verb sabat: meaning to stop, to cease, or to keep
10 Useful Tips to Sabbath Well:
1. Think When: Pick a time to be reading the bible and praying; daily (30 minutes), weekly (3-4 hours), monthly (a day) and yearly (a week).
2. Practise Ceasing: Start small, cease from that which is necessary by refusing to do what you ought to do. Embrace that which gives you life.
3. Slow Down: The essence of Sabbath is slowing. You do not need to work to survive. The Lord provides.
4. Develop Sustainable Rhythms and Attainable Traditions: I take 3 hours on a Monday morning go to Starbucks and read my bible. It’s that easy. It’s my day off so it is sustainable and I love coffee so it is attainable.
5. Sabbath is Social: Traditionally the Sabbath day is a social day. It’s a day where Jewish families would worship and eat together. So spend part of your Sabbath day having food with a friend who brings you life.
6. Disarm Technology: Flight mode. Paper copy Bible. That simple.
7. Avoid Commerce: Plan in advance of your Sabbath. Do your homework, fill up your gas, do your chores and any other “task related” thing, before you rest.
8. Saturate Yourself in Scripture: Read your Bible. Even the parts that make you yawn. Engulf yourself in the word of God and watch how it transforms you.
9. Rest from Worry: Start your Sabbath by praying, “God, please take my worries today and give me your joy. Let me rest in your presence.”
10. The Day Before your Sabbath, Have a Restful Evening: Preparation for Sabbath can be as important as the day itself. If you come into your Sabbath day on the back of a late night, junk food, and too much Netflix… the chances are your day will start badly. Prepare well.