Happy March 1st! I’m so thankful to enter into a new, fresh month today. Especially because it means spring is actually on it’s way. The past few weeks have been doozies and I admitted to y’all this past Friday that within the stress that has come with this time, I’ve lost what the concept of ‘rest’ means. Truly, no grasp. Yes, I’ve known my body has needed sleep or extra vitamin C, but the actual concept of resting without distraction from stress build up was not sticking. I’d sleep, but then check my phone in between snoozes in fear I was missing something important. I’d read, but be distracted and answer emails or texts in between. I’d check errands off of my to-do list but do them in a hurry and not actually process my time spent in the market, and end up coming home with extra things I didn’t actually need. See a connection here? Much of my time lately has been hurried, rushed, fueled by “getting everything done”. And the more I choose to operate in this way, the more I don’t actual feel that I’m very productive.
Back in November, John Mark Comer spoke on ‘The Sabbath’ (11/18) at church. Admittedly, I remember listening but thinking all kinds of “yeah, but’s”. Yeah, I want to figure out how to do that, but… life seems too messy right now. Yeah, let’s try to do that this weekend, but actually… we already have all these plans. Yeah, I desperately want to learn how to do that, but my brother just died and I’m overcome with grief and have no idea what it means to rest amidst it.
Well, this past weekend God nudged me into Sabbath whether I wanted it or not. We house sat for one of the families I work for. I know what you’re thinking. House sitting often doesn’t incorporate Sabbath, but read on. I was still recovering from my nasty bug leading into the weekend, so our hopes of all these plans (plan a spring trip, go through photos and back up hard drive, cross off to-do’s) we had for our time house sitting had to be put on hold. Instead, we rested. We ordered Thai food take out. We took their pup (who we’re both downright obsessed with) for long, easy walks. We napped. I took a bath both nights. I read magazines outside on the deck in the sun without my phone and then sat and prayed. I stretched my sore body that has been through too much physical strain lately. We re-connected as a married couple. It was so wonderful and so needed.
Honestly, it was the most relaxed I have been since Tim died. And I’m really thankful to be able to type that. We’ve been through a lot in these past 6 months. They’ve been really, really tough. And we haven’t let ourselves rest without guilt. But we did. Finally. And it was a true gift, just as Sabbath was created to be.
I highly encourage you to take time this week to prepare for your own Sabbath. Mentally and physically. Make space within your week to intentionally arrange a place for rest. As noted in the sermon (which I highly suggest listening to as well), it doesn’t have to be a specific time and it doesn’t necessarily need to look a specific way. But it does need to be restful and worshipful.
Here are a few ideas I have for you and myself to continue to practice Sabbath-ing:
Take baths (or actually enjoy your shower!). As I mentioned, I took two baths over the weekend. Gosh, I forgot how much I love them! It seems like the only way for me to actually sit and decompress without any distractions and especially sit without my phone in fear that it could drop into the water! Ha! But in all seriousness, time spent in the bath was healing for not only my body but my brain as well.
Savor fresh flowers. I always make it a point to pick up some fresh flowers in my week, simply because I like the way they look in my home. But lately, I feel like I’ve lost the joy in that concept. I’m going to really be intentional about this moment in my week. Taking my time picking out some blooms and then really loving arranging them and their physical beauty and presence in our home. After all, flowers are a part of God’s beautiful creation! So whether you pick some from your own garden or grab some from your favorite market, enjoy them.
Read without my phone near by. It sounds silly because it’s so simple. But how often are we actually abiding by this? It’s so easy to just have our phones near by, especially if we’re waiting to hear from someone. But gosh, put those darn things away! Over the weekend, I decided to put my phone away for the majority of the time. It was so freeing. And a huge wakeup call to how addicted I am to it. In blogging, you kinda have to be sometimes. And that’s hard for me. But realizing that it was okay to not be connected to the world was such freedom.
Feel inspired. For me, I get inspired by things like spring fashion. It’s just something I love! God gave me an eye for style! And though it’s not advised to go out and hit a sale while sabath-ing, I do think it’s okay to tune into those inspirations. Maybe that is being excited about some new spring fashions you’ve recently picked up. Maybe it’s simply putting them on or putting them in your closet and styling them for future outfits. For me, this was being excited about that Old Navy sale finds I mentioned about on Friday. That was my ‘prep’ to Sabbath, if you will. And though I’m not encouraging you to go spend money to find rest, I’m encouraging you to be thankful for the means to do a little spring shopping if you so desire, to be thankful for warmer weather ahead, and being thankful that spring fashion invites us to enter into a new season of beauty.
And finally, strive to make sleeping count. I have a weird guilt complex about sleeping too much. My body needs a lot of sleep to function at my best (9 hours is my ideal!), and I often feel guilty about that. I’ve decided that I’m going to stop that type of thinking. I’ve decided that I’m really going to savor the process of sleep. The joy of putting fresh sheets on the bed for the week. The delight of pulling them back every evening and slipping into bed to get comfy. To get to bed early! And prep for that time well in advance – not the wash my face flustered and get ready to crash routine I’ve recently become accustomed to. To not have my phone anywhere near my bed. To actually be thankful for sleep and rest. I really believe this shift in thinking will be so beneficial to me.
I hope this post of Sabbath inspiration finds you well. I know that switching to this mindset is certainly a choice, and not always an easy one in our go, go, go society. In the words of John Mark, I love the idea that choosing to Sabbath is to be wise. That God rested (Genesis 2:3) , and we should as well. That busy ≠ important. And that ultimately, this idea of rest is downright crucial to our physical and emotional well-being.
So even though it’s Tuesday, and you may be feeling like the week of stress has only just begun, I encourage you to begin to adjust your thinking towards this idea and finding time in your week to actually practice it. I know it’s tough, but I also know we can do it.