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

Posts tagged ‘24 hour Sabbath’

An Anagram Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Do you like anagrams?  What is an anagram for silent?  It’s listen. In the book of James we read that we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.  It is hard to listen without being silent.  Steps to the sun

I must say that in today’s world listen and its anagram silent get lost in the noise out there whether it be on the 24 hour news cycle, Facebook, blogs, or talk radio.  It seems these days we only listen in order to react and quickly get angry.cat th

And as with other biblical passages that we conveniently want to ignore in order to do things our way either by satisfying our ego’s need to be right or our first amendment need to be free to say what we want, this passage from James is counterculture.

Sabbath, too, is counterculture.  Who has time these days to take a 24 hour rest?  We are too busy with all our speaking, doing and trying to get ahead.  And yet, let’s be clear that Sabbath was a way for God to break through our egocentric existence and command us, yes, command, to be quiet and let silence do the heavy lifting for 24 hours.  (BTW I continue to be amazed at the number of Christians who state publicly that don’t like God telling them what to do! ??????????????????????????????They are pretty clear that they know what is better for them than God does…but I digress).

Without Sabbath not only do we never stop but the noise never stops either.  We stay continually off-balance listening for the next news break, comment on Facebook or ad hominem attack on the radio.  There is no time to listen to God, to our souls, to our inner wisdom.  If the world is any indication of what happens when we don’t take Sabbath time, then I say we should start obeying that fourth commandment ASAP!

Why not take James to heart this week – be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger?  Make it a Sabbath commitment to honor God and yourself. balance stones

              “Be still and know that I am God”  Psalm 46.10

Nancy

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Mini-Sabbaths

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Life has been uber busy these last two weeks.  We have transitioned from our winter stay in Georgia back to our home in Western New York.  ?????Packing up, driving two days in caravan mode, unpacking two cars, settling in, recovering from the stomach bug not to mention all the things on my calendar that had to be done as soon as I got back including a wedding and preaching the same weekend.  All of which I consciously accepted and for which I was excited.  Nonetheless, I found myself petering out long before any of my tasks were completed.

And I did something totally novel for me.  I stopped and rested!!!exhaustedwoman on bed

I listened to my body, which was pretty adamant, and took a breather.  When I first sat or laid down, I wasn’t sure my back would stop aching or my tiredness would disappear without days of rest.  However, within 20 minutes the spasms were gone and I felt like myself again. 

Time business concept.Twenty minutes!  Then, I was up and about my tasks again until the tiredness tapped me on the shoulder and said “excuse me…time for a break”.  I became obedient to that message.  And guess what?  Everything got done. 

Imagine how much better we would all feel if we took the 24 hour Sabbath rest that God commands us to take? 

Over and over I need to relearn this lesson that rest makes me more productive.  It does not make me lazy.  It also makes me a happier, more creative person who enjoys life so much more.spiritual energy 

How are you doing on listening to God, your body, mind and spirit?  Is resting a part of your routine?  God knew it would bless our lives and when I listen I know it too. 

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1.20b

Find those mini Sabbaths and work up to the wisdom of a 24 hour Sabbath.

Blessings,

Nancy

A Sabbath Tornado

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

tornadoIt isn’t often that during the opening remarks of a church service, I hear the words “We are under a Tornado watch right now, folks, and we have people watching the news.  They will tell us if we have to move to the basement.”  I can tell you that it was one church announcement I actually listened to and heard!!!

And try as I might to focus on the service, I found myself wondering how all the people would exit the sanctuary, get down the stairs and into the basement in time if a tornado hit.  crowded stariwayYou see I am not from Tornado country.  I come from blizzard country where we either have days of warning and a choice to stay home or it hits fast and we just stay put.  But a tornado is a whole different breed of storm in my book.  They just plain scare me.  (I’m also not used to being in a church service with hundreds of people either). I know they can come out of a thunderstorm at a rapid pace and often there is little time to take cover before the freight train winds blow everything down in their path.  

The distraction of the pastor’s announcement also showed me how quickly fear can interfere with my worship/Sabbath time.  The very God I am worshiping is the God who says over and over (365 times to be exact) “be not afraid”; and yet, I was afraid and I was not worshiping.  I was worrying.  It can also be true when I don’t take Sabbath moments because I am too busy doing other things (which I would worry about if I weren’t doing them) or I let distractions invade my heart, mind and soul instead of giving them over to God and finding the peace that only God can bring.  The connection was not lost on me, tyvm, God.

“Martha, Martha (or Nancy,Nancy)”, Jesus says, “you are worried and distracted by so many things.  Mary has chosen the better course and it will not be taken away from her.”  Sitting in worship, at the feet of Jesus, and being distracted by a potential weather threat put me right in the story with Martha, Mary and Jesus.  And once again I saw myself aligned with Martha rather than Mary.

How many more times will I let my own fears, worries or distractions take the better course be taken from me?

The good news is that the setting of worship won me over and I soon forgot about the weather threat and focused on why I was there.  And it really is true that there is a peace that passes all understanding when my heart, mind and spirit turned toward Jesus.  peaceful-sunset-4527633

This was a good lesson for me not only for the next tornado watch but for the next time I feel too distracted to enter into some Sabbath time with God.

“But there is something that I am looking for: a person plain and simple, reverently responsive to what I say.”  Isaiah 66.2b The Message

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            

From Sabbath Moments to Sabbath Days

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

This week I have had the very unusual opportunity to have two days with no responsibilities.  And I used them to do only things that bring me rest, joy and space to be creative.  Now, some of you may think what’s the big deal? Believe me this is a HUGE deal for me. I am one of those people who teaches best what she most needs to learn.  Taking a full 24 hours for downtime and not for errands or chores in the midst of a regular week is not my MO.  Taking two 24 hour days to do that is unheard of unless I am on vacation or sick.  

One day was by choice and one was a surprise.  One was a weekend day where I just decided to shut down and be engaged in a full Sabbath.  The other was a weekday that caught me off guard and almost threw me into a panic because it wasn’t planned out.  Then, I realized I didn’t have to plan it out.  All I needed to do was enjoy it and by the end of it I had experienced a second Sabbath in the same week.

Ahh…sigh…bliss…blessing.

There is no doubt that taking Sabbath Moments to be with God keeps me connected in my busy life every day.  And, they are no substitute for a full 24 hour Sabbath in the rest, refreshment and renewal of God’s gift to us. 

So here is my challenge to you Sabbath Seekers:  Take a 24 hour Sabbath rest this week or at least by the end of the month.  Establish a habit of one a month – more if you can.  I know it may take some creative scheduling on your part but it will be well worth it.  Jesus often took a day to go off alone and pray and just be with God.  If Jesus needed it and could do it, it seems that we could follow his example. 

Sabbath is a sacred time that allows for healing of the body, mind and spirit from the trauma and wounds of every day living.  Create this type of space and environment in your life and let it be a non-negotiable. 

“Therefore, God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.”  Exodus 20.11b The Message

Be blessed, be still

Nancy

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