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Life-giving Force

Author and Sabbath-keeper Keri Wyatt Kent shares the joy and surprising discoveries of taking a day off every week.

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Keri Wyatt Kent is busy. She works full-time from her home, volunteers at church and in her community, is a wife, mothers two teenagers, speaks across the country, and writes books, including her recent Rest and Deeper into the Word. How does she accomplish it all? "I keep the Sabbath," she admits. Here's what she's learned about this neglected commandment.

Kyria: How did you start practicing Sabbath?

Keri: When my kids were little, I wanted a day off, but Sunday was a busy day for my realtor husband. So I made little changes, which evolved over time.

What did you discover?

I was calmer. I easily get flustered, but I gave myself permission to lighten up.

I also built relationships with my kids. I often say, "Just a minute. I'm busy." But Sundays I'm available.

One Sabbath my daughter and I just watched the squirrels play outside. That may not seem spiritual, but it is. Kids form their image of God from how they're interacting with their parents.

It's the sacramental ordinary.

The sacramental ordinary?

Both Lewis and Tolkien write about ordinary moments, and yet they're sacramental. Like when Lucy has tea with Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Sabbath is like that—it's routine, but because of that, it's transformed into something sacramental. In its ordinariness it becomes sacred.

That adds another dimension.

Right. It's not just a day to chill out. It's a day to focus on God. So worship and church need to be part of it. Let go of being in charge and see what God lays in your path.

Practicing Sabbath changed the rhythm of our lives. It's a process and a journey.

How do you convince the family?

Start with yourself—the only person you have the power to change. Gradually cut more tasks, aim for being a calm presence in your family. See if you can change enough that they notice without you saying anything.

After a month or more of changing only you, tell your family what you're doing, and set a boundary. You might say, "I'm trying to slow down my Sundays and make them a day of rest, as the Bible commands. I'd love for you to join me. The next step in this process for me is to not run errands on that day, even for a school assignment." (Give them advance warning.)

When we first started this practice, I'd gently challenge my husband to make different choices. But I also knew I had plenty of work to do on myself.

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Ginger E. Kolbaba

Ginger Kolbaba is the author of Desperate Pastors' Wives and The Old Fashioned Way. Connect with her on Twitter @gingerkolbaba.

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Related Topics:Busyness; Rest; Sabbath; Slowing Down
From Issue:
Today's Christian Woman, 2011, May/June
Posted May 2, 2011

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Today's Christian Woman
Life-giving Force