Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down
"Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." Genesis 2:3 (NASB)
During my son’s basketball practice, I made my grocery list, returned text messages, checked work emails, read an online devotion and scrolled through Facebook. In the midst of my frenzy, a photo of my friend’s vacation stopped me in my tracks. I could almost feel the warm sun and hear the clear water lapping the shore.
My shoulders relaxed and my mind rested for just a moment before the referee blew the whistle, and I was off again. Though tired, after the practice I headed to the grocery store, post office and garage for an oil change. I tucked the picture of the beach in the back of my mind and reminded myself that I needed to take a Sabbath — a full day of rest.
Does taking one whole day off sound foreign to you? I struggle with it, too. That’s because we have lost the rhythm of life, which includes a day of rest. As a result, we are tired, overworked, disorganized, confused and sleep-deprived.
What has happened to the Sabbath? Where did the ideals of a day of rest go?
With bills to pay, broken things to fix, kids to care for and work deadlines to meet, it’s difficult to give ourselves permission to slow down. Celebrating the work we’ve done seems like a waste of time. But God said to rest and celebrate. He even modeled it for us.
We are given an example of the Sabbath in Genesis 2:3: "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." The word "blessed" means praise, salute, kneel or bless oneself. The Lord gave Himself permission to rest and to celebrate the work He had done on the other six days of the week.
Pausing once a week helps to clear our hearts and minds. This "white space" enables us to focus on praising and worshipping the Lord. We find room to rejoice in the work He has enabled us to complete, which balances discouragement over unfinished jobs. It aligns our perspective with what is important and reminds us that these tasks will still be there when we return to work.
Make plans to schedule a Sabbath rest for yourself. Mark your calendar now and set that day aside for praise and worship, prayer and Scripture reading, naps and knitting (or whatever is restful for you). Most importantly, set your Sabbath state of mind on the Lord and honor Him with a day of rest and celebration.
Dear Lord, it seems I rarely press pause. Thank You for this reminder to set aside a day of rest and reflection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Exodus 20:8, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." (ESV)
Spend your Sabbath rest refreshing yourself in God’s Word and Wendy Pope’s Bible study, Trusting God for a Better Tomorrow: A Study of Psalms.
Visit Wendy’s blog for tips on creating white space in your life for Sabbath rest.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When is the last time you truly rested and spent time celebrating what God has allowed you to accomplish?
Sit down with your calendar and decide which day you will take as your Sabbath. If you are married or have children, make this decision as a family.
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