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. And 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. As 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