Sunday, July 13, 2008

Remember the Sabbath Day

Yesterday I woke up with a headache--not your garden variety kind but a big ugly migraine. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2001 I suffered endlessly from these, and I can honestly tell you that not a day goes by without one that I don't give praise for feeling well. Dan was working, and as I put Danica down for her morning nap I shifted my gears to begin to race through all I do during that hour--unload the dishwasher, make the beds, take a shower, move the laundry, etc. I went into our room to make our bed, and I looked at the pillows and covers and thought, "When was the last time I got BACK into bed?" I can't remember, so I know it's been months, maybe even since Danica was born. I crawled into the cool sheets and rested my aching head.

The day proved that I really was ill. My headache became worse, I felt dizzy and nauseous. I could really only accomplish the necessary care for the girls. I began to be so sick to my stomach that I had to run back and forth to the bathroom. I guess I may have a virus but my first thought is that my body is doing what it always does when I have pushed it too hard for too long and when I have mixed the over activity with stress. My body is telling me, "Remember the Sabbath day!"

Growing up I have the most peaceful memories of Sundays in our home. The morning began with a special breakfast, usually coffee cake or homemade cinnamon rolls, then we would get ready for church listening to soft hymns. My sisters and I would sing and play the piano as we waited for everyone to be ready. After church we would return home to have a big Sunday dinner, most of which was planned and prepared the night before. The most blessed part of these days was the quietness that overcame our home as we all retired to our rooms to take naps or read or write. The house was still. There was no TV, no computer, no planned activities. We remembered the Sabbath.

I have been reading the book Breathe, Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life, and in the chapter titled Rested Keri Kent writes,

"The Bible commands us to rest. This is, when you think about it, amazing. What a generous and kind God we have. We expect marching orders, or hoops to jump through. But God simply says, "Alright, this will be challenging, but here's what I want you to do; take a break." That should be a no-brainer, right? So it's downright incredible that we so flagrantly disobey him on this.

As I've said, simplicity is all about having a "single eye," which means living with our primary focus on Christ. Keeping Sabbath is a great practice to help us maintain our focus. In the Jewish tradition, the Sabbath is the focus of the week, with three days to prepare for Sabbath, then following it, three days to reflect. This creates a rhythm of life that puts our focus not on our stuff or our schedule but on the opportunity to meet with God. . . The Bible's rationale for the Sabbath is simple; we, God's image-bearers, function best by following God's example, particularly in how we manage our time. Resting on Sundays reminds us of the miracle of creation and the gift God gave himself and his creatures. It reminds us of how to dance the dance of life."

I have been so guilty lately of using all seven days to get through my to do list. I often dread Sunday evenings because I spend several hours working on my lists due the next day. I may take an hour or two, but I certainly have not disciplined myself or my family to make a day of rest and guard it zealously. And so yesterday my body threw up a red flag for my soul and called to me, "REST."

Thank you for your command to remember the Sabbath day. Please give me the grace and strength to obey Your gracious and all wise request that I rest and reflect on a regular and continual basis.

1 comment:

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Nice blog! Sounds like life is challenging for you and your family these days. May God strengthen you and be very present for you in the midst of these trials. I'm glad you found my book encouraging. And I always tried to sleep when my baby slept. the housework will always be there! I have another coming out at the end of the year, focused entirely on Sabbath, that I think you might be interested in. The title is Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity.
I'm going to be giving away some promo copies once the book is printed (at the end of the year), so check my blog at