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Public Enemy #1

Public Enemy #1

The insidious thing that steals your joy and health—and what you can do to take back control.
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What reeks havoc in the typical American home? Greed? Anger? Anxiety? The TV remote?

It's time. There's never enough and the daily grind of hurry, exhaustion, and overload is extracting a price that is unraveling our homes, our hearts, and our hunger for God. Too many of us are positioned to self-destruct.

When asked, "How are you?" our answer is no longer, "Fine," but "Busy." It's the ruthless badge of honor we proudly wear as Christian women. We're loving the Lord, caring for our families, serving our corner of the world, right? But far from running the race with joy, we're sporting a self-imposed limp, puttering and sputtering along on the fumes of a dangerously depleted tank.

Deep within, when no one is around, we silently whisper, Is this all there is?

Understanding Rhythms

Night and day. Winter and summer. Hardwired into the fabric of creation is the rhythm of life—of rest and productivity. Modern technology has created a culture with no rhythm. It's on, it's loud, and its lure is relentless. Most of us have been swept into a way of life that no longer honors the God-given rhythms of life—much less abundant life. The rhythms of rest, far from being an outdated relic from antiquity, may be the very thing waiting to revive our withered, weary souls.

While growing up in a Christian family, for me the rhythm of rest called Sabbath entailed going to church, eating pot roast, and not mowing the lawn. With our obligations fulfilled, the rest of the day was ours to do with as we pleased, which in my family meant work: wash the car, send birthday cards, and weed the garden—whatever didn't get done on Saturday. The ability to work is a gift from our Creator. So is rest. Not only was it created in the heart of God, it's the first thing he called holy (Genesis 2:3). The rhythm of work and rest is the rhythm of life. One without the other is like a clanging cymbal in our ears—and in God's. Our job is to break the vice grip that our 24/7 culture has on us and begin to embrace the hard work of rest—which is the holy work of God.

Rest in the 21st Century

My journey into rest began more than 20 years ago, and it's been a roller coaster. Acting out of sheer obedience to the 4th Commandment (once I swallowed hard and admitted I'd been neglecting it my entire life), I moved into Sabbath-keeping kicking and screaming. It was, for many years, the worst day of my week. Having derived my value as a human being from what I could efficiently accomplish in any given day, I had no idea how to let down and relax. After many tiresome years, Marva Dawn's Keeping the Sabbath Wholly helped me see rest as a gift to be unwrapped, not a fate to endure. She painted a riveting and scripturally grounded picture; she cast a vision for a day of restoration that far exceeded my days of washing cars and eating pot roast.

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Patricia

February 01, 2013  8:50pm

I welcome this article while recognising that it's not possible, because of work commitments, for many Christians to keep a Sabbath. We can learn much from the Seventh Day Adventists in this regard. My sabbath keeping has been done in short spurts over the years although when I spent time at my in-laws who are Adventists, I saw an absolute beauty in taking time out. From the "ring in of the Sabbath" on Friday evenings at sunset when the family got together, singing hymns accompanied by piano, to the huge lunch which followed church service on Saturday, following by resting in the afternoon or a peaceful drive, it reminded me that God knew what he was doing when he commanded us to keep the Sabbath. I'm going to try to be consistent in my observation of it, beginning this Sunday, whether it is to simply stay at home and rest or visit friends or family.

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Sue Fairchild

January 31, 2013  6:17pm

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