A Practice of Rest

Sabbath. It’s something that became almost sacred to me during 2020. The world was so noisy and filled with so much fear I physically needed it. I also needed it spiritually.

I needed to rest. I also needed to cease. Cease the endless chatter vying for room in my mind.

I needed to unplug from the world that seemed to have gone crazy. I could sense the fear coming from people when I went to work or the grocery store. It was suffocating.

Sabbath became a life preserver for my sanity. I refused to live in the fear I saw people living in.

Sabbath and the spiritual practice of centering prayer kept me centered.

Sabbath doesn’t just mean to cease and rest. It’s letting go of our autonomy and reminding ourselves we can’t do anything on our own. It’s trusting that God will provide even when we are still, and not producing.

When I talk to people about Sabbath, everyone says they are too busy to make practice a Sabbath.

I remember when I was a little girl all the businesses were closed on Sundays. And many businesses closed at noon on Wednesdays. Rest was a part of life.

I’m not sure when that changed. It was a gradual change. I believe it’s time we flipped the script on what culture tells us we should be doing. It’s an act of rebellion against a noisy and chaotic world when we cease our striving to produce and do for an entire day. It has the potential to help bring us back to our true self and find our purpose in who God created us to be. We are able to share with those in our lives the divine love of God when we aren’t’ thinking about what we need to be doing next. It helps us live in the present moment without feeling shame about the past or anxiety about the future.

Now we think that rest is earned. But what if we shifted our mindset from earning the rest to working FROM a place rest? 

What if we changed our perspective on Sabbath? If you are uncomfortable with the term Sabbath, call it a Practice of Rest. Whether you are religious or not, it can be a life changing practice. We don’t have to be legalistic about it. We can set our intention to rest and prepare for that intention as best as possible. The point is not to follow a set of “rules,” but to set an intention in our heart. We set our intention to cease striving just for that day and find delight. Your delight might be in gathering with friends. It might be enjoying a hobby or visiting with family. It might be literally resting and just reading.

My challenge to you is to start your practice of rest small. Maybe set aside 6 hours one day a week and do not think about work or chores or what you need to be doing and instead do things to just simply be. The point isn’t to follow a bunch of rules, but to do something that brings you rest and delight. Something that brings you life so you can work FROM rest instead of earning rest. Not only will it have an impact on your emotional and spiritual help in a profound way, it can also impact your physical health in positive ways.

These books have been helpful in my study of Sabbath and establishing the practice of a day of rest:

Garden City by John Mark Comer

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

The Sabbath – Abraham Joshua Herschel

Sabbath – Dan Allender

Annie F. Downs has also shared a great deal about Sabbath and this video from her shares more.

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Copyright © 2023 Amy Nabors.