Just before Christmas we found out that we would be moving to Canada in eleven weeks time, my husband in just two weeks, and since then life has been all about the move. Every day there is a task that needs me to roll my up sleeves and get my hands dirty and it’s been that way for 10 weeks now (8 of which I have been alone for). Today marks the end of these long weeks though as today we have been reunited with my husband, the best man I know.
In the last 10 weeks my mind has been a whirr of lists and jobs, as if I have a tribe of oompa loopas beavering away in my brain at all times of the day and night. I’ve got through it but without a single moments rest until this morning. The kids and I were returning from a trip to London to say some goodbyes, and we managed to rendez vous with the best man I know at Heathrow as he flew in from Toronto. This meant we could make our flight home to Aberdeen together! As we made our way across Terminal 5 the best man I know turned to me and offered me his business class seat.
As happy as I am that we all back together again, a reunited family of four, I am not going to pass up an opportunity to sit, by myself, undisturbed, with not a single thing to do or a single thing to think about. No way!
So here I am, airplane mode on, sitting in a plush seat with a coffee and my thoughts. My thoughts! Well hello there deep cavern of wonderings and ponderings, we are reunited! I have an old slightly battered copy of my favourite magazine with me, Woman Alive, and I have just been re-reading an article about the Sabbath. I remember the article from my first read and almost leafed past it but just as I was about to turn the page something stopped me. So here I am, homeward bound, wondering and pondering about the Sabbath and it goes a little something like this……….
Sabbath is something that I’m sure most of us, Christian or not, are familiar with. Simplified, it is a day of rest. God made the world in 6 days we are told and on the last day He rested. So on the seventh day of the week we rest, to honour God by remembering what He did and to take the time to restore ourselves from the busyness of life.
A friend sent our prayer whatsapp group a meme this week which was a quote from Christine Caine (founder of A21):
“if we do not learn to labour from a place of rest then we will burn out”.
This is true of me and I think probably most of us. We labour and we labour and we labour and through it all we give ourselves targets to labour towards. Once I’ve done this, if I achieve that, when that’s completed, then I’ll have a break. That’s what God did, right?? He made it all and then He allowed Himself a rest. Job done.
But no, that isn’t actually right!
God did work & then rest, but not because His work was done. His work is never done, He is never done. As the article I was reading pointed out, unlike us, He rested before His target was complete. In fact, making the world was just the beginning of His plans. He still had the whole of the Old Testament and New Testament to get through! But amongst it all He took a moment, pressed pause and rested. So if we are trying to become more Christ like each day, then we need to be setting aside real time for Sabbath. It doesn’t just need to be once we’re finished and truly exhausted, but anytime, to look back on what we’ve done/are doing and contemplate it. We are told that in those first 6 days God looked back on what he’d done 7 times before He rested:
“And God saw that it was good” Genesis 1 v 4, 10, 12, 18, 22, 25, 31
Rest is something we should do often and it’s something we shouldn’t feel guilty about. Otherwise where does our labour come from? And what do we have left to keep giving?
Three weeks ago the days of rolling up my sleeves just became to much. I phoned the best man I know in floods of tears, I could barely get my words out but the one thing I was able to say, over and over again, was “ I just have nothing left to give. Nothing”. My store bank was empty, I had no reserves, no saddle bags with replenishments. I was well and truly out. But God never is:
“And my God will supply every need of yours” Philippians 4 v 19
It was only when I sat down at the end of that week, Sunday morning, and got on my knees and prayed, literally calling out to God for His help, that my load lightened. The rest of the day I felt rejuvenated, replenished and I have in fact had enough to give these last three weeks. My store banks aren’t empty anymore.
As many of you will know I did a Lent Challenge for CAFOD in 2018 which I absolutely loved but amongst the madness I didn’t set myself one this year. It’s weighed on me that even in life’s most difficult moments I didn’t make an effort to set this time of Lent aside for God. However, I now feel inspired to start a Lent Challenge 2019 of taking up Sabbath. I may be late to the race (an embarrassing 27 days late in fact) but I’ve got one heck of a running buddy to help me catch up.
Click Woman Alive to learn more about this amazing magazine.
The article I was reading was an interview with Shelly Miller who leads an online community called the Sabbath Society. You can find out more here. Shelly has also written a book called Rhythms of Rest about Sabbath, which I’ve just downloaded!