For the busy person who wants to stay connected to God throughout the week!

Archive for October, 2014

Sabbath Joke

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Recently my six-year-old granddaughter has taken to carrying around a small New Testament.  She told her mother that it was a really cool and funny book because there were so many jokes in it.  Her mother said that she didn’t think there were jokes in the New Testament to which my granddaughter replied, “Oh, Mom, there must be at least one!”

Well, we may not think of the Bible as a joke book but, yes, my dear sweet granddaughter there are a couple of jokes in there.  And one of them is the fourth commandment.  It isn’t a joke to those of us who take it seriously but to the world it is a joke.

Clock in waste paper basketHow funny and absurd is it to think of taking a 24 hour respite once a week?  Pretty funny according to a world that laughs at such a suggestion and ignores its power and ability to help us see the world through brighter eyes as we lighten up when we set down our weekly and even daily burdens.

The laugh is on the world, though, because they are missing out on one of the best medicines in the world — rest and refreshment.

And when my granddaughter went to bed that night in her prayingbedtime prayers she thanked God for the good day, the fun she had with Momma and her friends.  She also asked God for a good day tomorrow and please to bless her family.  Then she added, “Oh, and God, I hope you have a good day tomorrow too!”

Methinks this little six-year-old is a theologian in the making and has a deeply spiritual heart.  She worries that the world might not be getting all the energy, joy and laughter out of the Bible and wants God to have a good day.

I think God looks down on her and smiles.  God knows she understands that Sabbath is just the ticket for both. 

“A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17.22IMG_1058_opt

Happy Sabbath keeping,

Nancy

Inadvertent Sabbath Keeping

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I recently read an article by Martha Beck, (a favorite life coach of mine) where she categorizes irritators in three ways.  There are the inadvertent irritators, the insensitive irritators and the inexcusable irritators.  The inadvertent ones captured my attention because she described them as people who “know they are bothering others and feel terrible about it, but can’t help themselves.”

And without getting into a discussion about ‘those people’ and their annoying habits, I want to jump to how I connected this statement to taking Sabbath moments.  There are more times than I care to count when I have known I could be taking a Sabbath moment/rest and instead keep working.  I feel terrible about doing this but there is something inside me that just won’t let me stop and rest.  And probably if I took this analogy a step further I would also admit that my not stopping and resting made me a tad bit annoying to others because I became short-tempered or irritable as a result.

When my best intentions to take Sabbath are overridden by the urgency of things on my to-do list, I feel terrible when I realize those urgent things didn’t change the world by getting done nor was a risk of death attached to them.  As Steven Covey warned in his book, 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, the urgent takes precedence over the truly important.  Sabbath keeping is truly important. 

One of the ways that Ms. Beck suggests dealing with the inadvertent irritators is to learn how to let the annoyance pass through you.  And this takes practice especially if you live with a snorer or a gum cracker or snorting laugher.  exhaustedwoman on bedAnd the same is true for Sabbath keeping. It takes practice.  If we don’t learn how to let go of the workaholic tendencies, we will never learn how to take intentional Sabbath time. 

If we never learn how to let go and rest in the gift of Sabbath, we will go from an inadvertent non- Sabbath keeping person to an inexcusable non-Sabbath keeping person.  Somehow, I don’t think that is what I really want to choose as part of my spiritual life.  And I have a feeling when it really matters, it will be those Sabbath moments and rests that will make the difference in my life.  Steps to the sunAs a wise man once said “it is not we who keep the Sabbath but the that Sabbath keeps us.”

“For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh shall be your holy day, a Sabbath rest to the Lord.  Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.” Exodus 35.2

Blessings,

Nancy

Reign It In

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Is it hard for you to slow down?iStock_000010338713Medium

I often find that when I am super busy it is very hard to slow down even if my schedule suddenly eases up.  How often do you go on vacation and need a day or two to unhook from the job or to do lists you left behind?  I know I do.  And I also find that a day or two before I have to go back to work my mind begins to let in those little nudges about what is awaiting me.  That is why it is so important to take a longer rather than a shorter vacation because it gives you chance to truly unwind and rest in between the unhooking and the re-hooking…although short is better than none at all.

And maybe that is why a 24 hour Sabbath is so difficult for us to keep.  It is just too hard to slow it down for one day and be geared up the next.  I sometimes feel like I have the foot on the gas pedal and the brake at the same time when I try to let go for 24 hours.  Things are still revving inside of me but I am determined not to let my foot off the brake because it is important to slow down.

The more I tell myself to slow down the crankier I can become and the more I think about all that has to be done.

So what is a person to do?

65147-stock-photo-blue-relaxation-dark-style-moody-artWell, I have started practicing slowing down on a regular basis.  Once a day I take some time to unhook and unwind. It could be a 20 minute nap, a 20 minute walk, a 20 minute dive into a good book or a 20 minute meditation.   It doesn’t have to be a long time – 20 minutes works for me but make sure it is at least 10 minutes.  The more you practice taking these off-line breaks during the day the easier it will be to take a day to restore and refresh yourself. 

Once I got used to doing it once a day I began to extend it to once a week.  Sometimes it is Wednesday and sometimes it is a weekend day.  Now, this habit is still forming because I have to admit it isn’t a weekly habit yet.  It still can feel like I’m trying to stop a speeding locomotive or reigning in a team of horses running scared.  However, I know that the more I do something the greater the chance for it to become a habit. 

And, let’s face it, I/we have no trouble overloading our schedule into a habit.  We get hooked quickly on being ‘productive’ or thinking the world will stop spinning unless we finish our to do list before we go to bed.  Of course, all the studies that show us losing productivity the longer we work don’t apply to us so we keep on habituating the doing until we can barely stand to stop and rest.

Give yourself permission to take a deep breath, turn the engine off, put the horses in the barn, let the engine idle at the station or whatever metaphor works for you and see how you can establish the habit of letting rest, Sabbath time, replenish you so you can be more productive in the long run. Now that feels like a win/win.

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“Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”         Matthew 11.28

Blessings,

Nancy            

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