Breath: making room for Sabbath

Slavery inventory: What holds control over me? What do I have a hard time saying no to?

  • Working (but I love my job!)
  • GTD, actually doing and the tools to do the things
  • Social Media
  • Procrastination
  • Overthinking
  • Family

Some of these aren’t great, but many of them are good things!

Sabbath Principle

“The Sabbath principle can keep these things from bossing us around, controlling our lives, and becoming masters over us… it’s the key to freedom.”

Priscilla Shirer, Breath

Sabbath rest is a healthy boundary. Sabbath in Hebrew is Shabbat = to cease, stop, pause, to come to an end.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

Genesis 2:2 (ESV)

God had Sabbath rest in mind from the beginning. Creation wasn’t completed until rest was created. Not just “not doing” rest, but tranquility, serenity, and peace.

“Rest was the capstone of creation and without it the universe would be incomplete.”

Priscilla Shirer, Breath

Rest is active. You have to chose rest. You have to really commit to it and create space for it. Rest guards our hearts in Christ Jesus. In other words, to allow space for rest, I must be intentional in creating margin throughout my life.

“Margin in families creates memories. Margin in our personal finances creates generosity. Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact. Margin in our lives overall creates options. Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow, and ultimately live life more fully.”

Brad Lomenick (from Breath, by Priscilla Shirer)

When rest gets labeled at lazy or causes guilty feelings…

I grapple with a chronic pain condition. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve learned when to rest, which is often, and when to take it slow, which is often. I’ve been accused (by those who don’t know) of being lazy, but I know how much work it takes to arrange all this required rest and still get some things done. I wasn’t hurt by this accusation because they really don’t know. However, I do wonder how to best respond in kindness without discussing my medical condition in nauseous detail. Do I respond at all?

The fact is, I do often feel guilty about not being able to keep up with my own ambitions. I build rest in, but I often view it as wasting time even though I obviously need it! Perhaps it is a matter of focus? I’m focused on the stuff I’d rather be doing rather than God.

Sometimes I ponder how to make rest more productive! Craft, read, study, write, pray… Am I just trying to fill a void? I’m beginning to determine there’s a difference in Sabbath rest and rest. Both are needed, but only one is driven by a focus on God and drawing closer to Him. It doesn’t take much thinking to know that Sabbath rest is better.

Why do I try to keep so busy?

Yeah, that’s the question! Let’s see… I don’t know how to be still. I feel useless if I’m not producing. I feel this weird need to prove myself – not to anyone in particular, but maybe to myself. I’m seeking the satisfaction of tasks that are done and done well (recognized or not).

Rest and margin is not just a principle of time, but applies to other areas of life as well, like finances and stuff/clutter.

“The very essence of the Sabbath principle – to cease, stop striving, and trust – went completely against their nature, making it extremely difficult… they needed to practice the discipline of freedom. A change in their hearts would be the result of practical changes in their lifestyle.”

Priscilla Shirer, Breath

he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.’”

Exodus 16:23 (ESV)

This verse is the first time that the word Sabbath is used. It is proposing a huge lifestyle change for these slaves just liberated from Egypt. It was a lifestyle change intended to change their hearts.

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