The Sabbath Experiment

A few steps to experience Sabbath peace
The Sabbath Experiment

Last Saturday I slept in until 8:30. My husband brought me coffee in bed, and we talked for several minutes while the kids played downstairs. I took a deep breath and felt a settling sense of peace. Then I had a startling thought: Why don't we do this more?

Nancy Beach writes, "The Sabbath is actually life-giving when we free up time and space to practice it." I agree, so what keeps me from practicing Sabbath? When I consider my lack of rest and then ask myself this question, I give a litany of excuses:

  • It's not really important
  • I don't need it
  • I'll waste time
  • I can't carve that out in my schedule
  • It requires too much planning
  • I hate rules!

Sabbath-keeping is a direct commandment in Scripture, and my list of excuses adds up to nothing more than disobedience. So what's a frazzled heart to do? What if I got serious about practicing Sabbath, to "taste and see" that keeping God's rule of life is actually good—for me, for my family, and for my relationship with God?

If this resonates with you, I'd like to invite you into a Sabbath-keeping experiment. This practice of Sabbath-keeping is a take-it-slow kind of experience, designed to help you make the space to find that re-centering peace with God. Over the next six weeks, take a few small steps to experience Sabbath peace.

Week #1: Sabbath Dreams

This week, physically or mentally prepare a list of reasons why you don't practice Sabbath. Oftentimes, small children or ministry commitments end up making it impossible to find a 24-hour period of time that's available. Jonlyn Fincher offers us some Sabbath flexibility by inviting us to consider what feels like "work" and "not work." So this week, journal these questions:

  • What feels like work to me?
  • What would I do if all my work was done?
  • What are my reasons for not keeping a Sabbath?

If Sabbath seems like a pipe dream for your overfull life, then start by knocking off one or two of your "work" items and adding one or two of your "not work" items this week. Consider this a "taste" of Sabbath in your life.

Week #2: Sabbath Realities

Whether you're good at Sabbath or laugh at the idea of actually resting for an entire day, you can start somewhere. As you continue to add to your list of "work" and "not work," consider the time-suckers that steal your rest. Chores? Cell phone? Facebook? Work responsibilities? This week, relentlessly cut those things out of one 24-hour period. Are you more addicted to work than you'd like to admit? It's often in the boredom and silence that we discover the true condition of our hearts. Bring it before God and allow him to recalibrate your identity in nothing but his love.

Nicole Unice

Nicole Unice is a TCW regular contributor. Nicole is on the ministry staff of Hope Church and author of Brave Enough and She's Got Issues. She writes for a variety of magazines and speaks nationwide at retreats and leadership events. Nicole and her husband Dave have three children. You can find her blogging about honest living at NicoleUnice.com.

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Busyness; God's Presence; Rest; Sabbath; Slowing Down; Worship
Today's Christian Woman, May/June , 2011
Posted May 2, 2011

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