Dear Sabbath Seekers,
Recently a friend admitted to me that she tries to avoid alone time with God because she really isn’t ready to let God in to the deepest areas of her life. As long as she keeps busy, goes to worship, involves herself with church activities and says the perfunctory prayers, she feels she had done her due diligence with Sabbath.
And I think she is not alone in feeling this way.
Quiet, alone time with God brings about an intimacy that many of us are not ready for. It can be scary and intimidating especially when approaching the throne of the Almighty. Being active for God is not the same as being with or in God for a Sabbath moment or rest.
What fears keep you from sitting with God and sharing your heart? What images of God do you have that could interfere with being present with your Creator? How would you feel if you could let go of these fears or discover new images for God? Would it change how you approach Sabbath time with God?
Images of God can be formed very early in life and can often take a lifetime to reframe. Far too many people have been taught about a judgmental, punishing God who gives demerits for bad behavior and stars for good. Over the course of a life time most people feel their demerits weighing them down and getting in the way of going to God for guidance or comfort.
Yet, the Bible is filled with many different images of God that don’t look or feel anything like the white bearded old man sitting on a throne of Sunday School lore. The Psalms show God as a fortress, a rock, a light. Isaiah talks of God as a mother loving her children. Exodus lifts up the image of God as an eagle. Jesus shows us the most intimate portrait of God as Abba which translates as ‘daddy’ or ‘protective parent’. Jesus brings us the image of a loving, gracious God who listens and cares for us.
I spent many years with an image of God who was punishing and judgmental until in a moment of deep despair, at my lowest point ever, I just broke down and prayed for help because I was in trouble. It was then that my image changed because it was at that moment I felt God wrap me in loving arms and hold on tight.
Looking closely at our image of God is an important place to start if we are finding it difficult to take Sabbath moments with God.
Another place to start is to ask yourself “what is the most important thing I need to discuss/share with God today?” As you begin to seek the answer to that question there can come a moment of realization that in just the asking, God has heard it. If God has already heard your heart, what is there to gain from not listening and being with God for a while?
What gets in your way of taking Sabbath rest time with God? Is it really being too busy or is it something deeper that you want to avoid?
God created Sabbath for us to rest and renew our spirits. It is a gift that I have begun to accept and I am finding that Sabbath keeping keeps me at peace.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” Luke 10:38-39
Often times I start with the question…what is the most important thing I need to discuss with God today?