What I Learned From Resting

I’m weird. Different. A little unconventional. And I’m okay with that.

Most of my life, I tried to simply blend in. With buck teeth, big hair, bigger glasses, and the last name of “Butts”, blending in didn’t exactly come naturally for me. It took a lot of personal pain and suffering for me to come to a place of understanding that I wasn’t created to blend in. I’m unique, and I’m okay with being who God has uniquely called me to be.

It’s in that calling, I’ve recently sensed he was urging me to a time of rest. Some of you might think what I’m about to explain is a little weird. Just remember weird is my normal. So here we go.

What I Learned

I have been rushing around constantly. When Brent gets home from work, I scarf dinner and try to get away to finish work. I hastily spend time with my kids, getting them what they need, so I can take care of other stuff. When the week winds down, I spend it trying to fit in as many recreational trips or visits I can. I’m always doing something, and coincidentally, not accomplishing anything.

I sensed it clearly: “You need to rest.” I didn’t know what it meant, though. Take a nap? Read a book? Order out?

“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”

Oh. That whole commandment on the stone tablet thing? But how? Where do I start?

I had no idea, but I jumped in to finding out anyway. By 10:00 a.m. this past Friday, I had decided I was going to enter in to an intentional day of rest, and somehow, observe my first Sabbath.

I’ll save the details of how and what I did for another post, but I want to share with you some lessons I learned from my day of rest.

So often I hear, and have said myself, “I just need to get away.” If only retreating to a cabin for a few days to work, write, or just be, would give me what I needed to get right back at it. Yet what happens when I take those retreats? I come home and long for that escape from reality all over again.

Mostly, our weekends are our “catch up” days. Let’s go here, do this, visit them, buy these, get this done, and start these new. Somewhere in there, we should try to have some fun! Then, when Monday rolls around, we’re completely exhausted. So much for resting. This weekend was going to be different. This weekend, I was going to be obedient.

The Sabbath is an Old Testament law, but I don’t believe that at all means it’s now irrelevant. Yes, I have freedom in Christ! I also have the responsibility to exercise that freedom in ways that glorify Him. Running around like a headless chicken, falling further behind, and getting sucked in to my electronic devices doesn’t accomplish that. The Sabbath just makes sense.

The day was a long one, but not because it was drawn out by boredom. While I was intentionally resting, I was experiencing every single minute, fully present in it. It was incredible to experience the day for what it was, and not for what I was trying to shape it into to fit a schedule.

There was incredible power in simply being still. I didn’t have to cook or clean for my family – it had all been done the night before – and we were able to just be together. No obligations, no plans, no distractions, no interruptions.

The Bible says to work for six days, then don’t work – at all – for one. It goes on to say, essentially (and this is in my very loose translation) whatever you’re in the middle of, no matter how busy you try to say you are – just stop what you’re doing to and take a breather. For an entire day. One day. Every week. No matter what.

Resting for the entire day was absolutely glorious. Ironically enough, on my day of rest, I woke up super early. It allowed me, though, to spend the first 90 minutes of my day reading the Word. I haven’t spent that large of an uninterrupted time reading the Bible in….ever. I poured into my family. We played games, we read, we hung out, we wrestled. We rested. And wow, did we eat well. When everything was prepared in advance, with the intention of not having to do anything else to prepare meals – I made sure we were taken care of. The food was great, and totally stress-free.

I spent the close of my day in the Word as well. All day long I was wondering why we don’t make a regular habit of this. I don’t believe, especially after my Saturday, that the Sabbath was a burdensome commandment. Instead of feeling like I was being obedient to a command, I felt exponentially blessed. All day long, my heart was lifting up prayers of thanks. It was incredible.

Rest is totally necessary. We need to recharge. We need to disconnect from ourselves (and unplug from our devices) and reconnect to God. So many times we take a brief reprieve (a cat nap, a shopping trip, catch a movie), and call it good. And we keep working. And wasting. And getting worn out. And for what?

I was getting frustrated. I was totally disconnecting from my family. From my creator. All in the name of getting stuff done.

After observing my first Sabbath, it’s a practice I want to repeat. I’ve somehow used a lot of words to describe an experience I don’t really have the right words to articulate. It truly was a holy experience. I learned so much from simply resting.

What about you? How have you taken time for intentional rest lately?