“So Moses told the people, ‘You must be careful to obey all the commands of the LORD your God, following His instructions in every detail. Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.'” Deuteronomy 5:32-33
“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy as the LORD your God has commanded you.” Deuteronomy 5:12
These verses bring such comfort to me today. Mostly because they give me hope in looking forward to my own Sabbath! I’m exhausted from yet another day of heavy duty cleaning and laundry. From almost the very beginning of this writing career God has stressed to me the importance of REST. Rest was my third book; the second book that originated from the blog posts. It details my journey to learning the importance of rest for mothers and how they are so much better at functioning when they are well rested. Not to mention happier too! Over the years this is a topic that God has continued to stress. Occasionally He calls me to quiet my soul and come to Him for a Daddy-Daughter day on those Sabbaths, but usually it’s just me taking a day to sleep and rest my body and brain from the constant activity of a mother.
When I started working at Dollar General I told them that I could work, pretty much any day or time EXCEPT Fridays, they were off limits. And wouldn’t you know it, I was only there for a week or two before I was scheduled to close on a Friday. Siiigh… I called my husband to ask him what he thought I should do. Do I put my foot down and stand my ground, or do I let it slide – it was a closing shift after all. He said that I needed to stick to what I had originally told them, no Fridays. I’ve been there for almost three months now and Fridays are still supposed to be my days off, but I continually have to remind them of this. Now I’m not complaining mind you, but I am pointing out something that may not have occurred to you yet if you’ve attempted your own Sabbath rest. Satan will do ANYTHING to keep you from taking that Sabbath rest.
You may look at that and shake your head and say, “well of course he will”, but have you thought about the things that he might be using to keep you from taking that day of rest? I didn’t, not at first anyway. But the longer I went and the more serious I became about them, the harder it became to stick to my guns. There was always something being scheduled for a Friday, a birthday party, a funeral, a meeting, you name it! And usually they weren’t events that were easy to say, “no” to. Why? Because it was a test! What would I choose? The birthday party, or hanging out with God all day? There was one instance in particular that I don’t think I will ever forget. Our church secretary’s husband died suddenly and his funeral was on Friday. Thursday night I spent forever chopping potatoes and onions and cooking potato soup for the funeral dinner. All the while telling the other church ladies arranging the lunch that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it to the funeral or not.
Friday morning dawned and I was WRACKED with guilt. This was our church secretary! She does SO MUCH for all of us, and I was the women’s ministry director with no job outside my home, how could I NOT go??? She would be so offended! I mean, yeah it’s nice that you made the soup and sent it but how could you not also go to the funeral? What kind of cold heartless woman are you?
I can’t remember if it came from my husband or my pastor’s wife but someone told me to stay home and remain faithful to the LORD. Was it easy? NO WAY!!! But was it worth it? Absolutely! Did I get some strange looks from the other church ladies who did go? Yeah. In today’s culture, the whole concept of a Sabbath day of rest has become so foreign to us that most people don’t even know what it is, let alone how to have one. We’re all so goal oriented that we forge ahead despite the fatigue, charge up on caffeine and keep going even though our human bodies are screaming out for a break. (And we wonder why we get sick and feel like crud all the time.) Yet the principle of the Sabbath is the oldest and most long standing tradition known to mankind. It was the FIRST of all of God’s commands to humanity. Genesis 2:1-3 “So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.”
All the rest of the commandments: do not have any Gods before Me, do not make any idols, don’t misuse My name, honor your father and mother, do not murder, do not commit adultery, don’t steal or lie, do not covet your neighbors possessions, all those came later; much later. But the Sabbath, it came right after Adam and Eve’s creation. While God’s week ended with rest, their week started with it. Are you starting to catch my drift here? The Sabbath is kind of a big deal. Not because the Law says so, or even because the Bible says so, but because your body was created with a Sabbath rest in mind. And when it doesn’t get that rest your entire person suffers for it. Will it be easy? No. Does it get easier with time, eeeehhhhh, I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I’ve been doing this for about two and a half years so far and it’s still not easy. But a big part of that may be the fact that I’m kind of a push-over when it comes to people asking me to do things. I’m working on that, slowly but surely. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem right?
Right now I’m pretty sure that there are some of you out there reading this that you are EXHAUSTED. I’d also wager to bet that God has been putting it on your heart lately to set aside one day of your week to rest and to seek Him once you’ve slept for as long as you could possibly sleep. I’d also go so far as to say that there is something that Satan is putting in your path to make you feel guilty for taking that step. Whether it’s your current commitments, your finances, you name it; there will ALWAYS be something that Satan is going to try to put between you and God. Trust me, I know! But I also know this, physical fatigue is one of the easiest ways for Satan to pull you down and it makes it so much easier for you to fall for his temptations. Again, trust me on this one, I know because I’ve been there!
Sweetie, you are not Super Woman. You weren’t created to be Super Woman, or even Bat Girl. You were created to be human with a body that needs its REST. And there is NO SUBSTITUTE for it either. No amount of energy drinks, or caffeine, or even exercise and health drinks can equally substitute for the benefits of a whole day OFF. Beloved the Sabbath was created for your benefit, take it. It may mean telling a few people, “no”, and that might be hard for you (it may not be) but it will be soooo good for you and you will be sooooo very glad that you did it. Trust me on this one!
Take a day to lay around in your PJs all day, wear the ones that you wouldn’t DARE to be seen wearing in public. That way if something comes up they’re a reminder that you’re not supposed to set one foot outside your door all day long – that’s 24 hours for anyone who needs to get legalistic about it. After you’ve slept until you can’t possibly sleep any longer, start praying, God will tell you what to do from there. It may be to get up and watch those recorded shows that you just haven’t been able to get around to lately. It may be to lay in bed and read that book that’s been eyeing you from the shelf. It may even be to simply lay there and just listen to the stillness and to wait for that small voice inside that guides us into all Truth. But no matter what you do, just the fact that you’ve dedicated that day to resting in order to honor God is keeping the Sabbath holy. (If you think about it, it’s actually a form of fasting! You’re fasting from WORK!) And He will honor YOU for having kept it.
I can’t even come close to explaining to you what it feels like at the end of that day of rest. You feel like a newer fresher version of yourself and it’s amazing! You should try it some time!
Maybe today! 😉