Today, we continue our discussion on Sabbath as several of our team members share the ways they have encountered God in Sabbath or what he is doing in their lives in this area.
This last year, Sadie began intentionally observing Sabbath every Sunday. Below, she shares some of her thoughts on this.
At first, I didn’t think that setting aside time for a Sabbath would change me in many ways. I knew that eventually it would affect me, but I had no idea that it would be so immediate.
The week after my first Sabbath, I was so joyful. I was physically and mentally prepared to handle the stress of the week—more so than a weekend of regular rest. I also believe that God has been able to more clearly reveal things to me when I am practicing Sabbath.
Recently, God has been telling me things about my sin, His sacrifice, and lies that I was living by. I don’t think I would have been willing to face those things without the time I set aside for Sabbath. Taking that time has allowed me to take steps to deepen my faith.
Clarissa is still working out exactly what God is calling her to in Sabbath. She shares her thoughts below.
This past year, I have been learning a lot about my deeply ingrained need to “do” and how I acquire my value from this. I always identified with Martha in the story where Jesus goes to visit her home and she spends the whole time working. However, I don’t think I realized until this past year just how deeply that is rooted in my being.
I think a lot of times, I live like the Israelites in Jeremiah 2:13:
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
I want to be filled with the Living Water. On that note, I have been much more intentional in the last year about letting Sundays be a day of “being.” For me, this means allowing God to remove the internal pressures I put on myself to do, and learning better to be with Him and rest with Him without the constant clock ticking in my head telling me what I need to do next.
I still have a lot of progress to make in this area, as it is very difficult for me to set aside activities and responsibilities (or get them done ahead of time) and distractions to just be with the Lord. When I do rest with Him, though, it is so much easier to see Him and remain in Him in the day-to-day. I pray that He will continue to increase my love for Him and spark a continual priority of being with Him above all else.
And finally, Amanda shares her journey with Sabbath in the recent months since she moved here.
Sabbath is something that, until recently, was really more of a concept than an actual reality to me. I grew up in the church and it was always something that was tossed about as important, but never truly emphasized as a necessary spiritual discipline or commandment. As is, unfortunately, often the case in my life, it has taken some time and a lot of repetition from God for me to change my thoughts and habits around Sabbath.
In the last few months, our team has been talking a lot about Sabbath and “rest” and what that means, largely sparked by a book we have been reading. But, because this is how God seems to work, at the same time, a few of my favorite podcasts have been doing series on Sabbath. Through all of this study, I’ve come to view Sabbath as both a physical process and a kind of mindset. I believe God created Sabbath (Mark 2:27) for us as a necessary rhythm and reminder of Him.
Shortly after arriving in Hungary, Daniel and I began practicing Sabbath every week. For us, it is a time of slowing down and remembering God’s power, love, and faithfulness. On Sabbath, I really try to remove all the excess noise and be quiet before God for a time. I also try to intentionally enjoy the gifts he has given me and thank Him for them. Sometimes that looks like taking a walk with Daniel because it’s beautiful out and sometimes that means reading a good book or eating a delicious pastry.
I think one of my favorite and most unexpected parts of Sabbath is the way it has shaped the rest of my week. I sense myself looking forward to Sabbath during the the week and even experiencing tiny bits of Sabbath throughout the week when I recognize God’s presence and power during the busyness. To me, it makes the Kingdom of God more tangible as I look forward to the peace and joy that Sabbath brings, but relish the small glimpses I do get throughout the week, mirroring the “already” and the “not yet” of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Perhaps Daniel’s favorite byproduct of Sabbath is how clean our flat now is. Because I’ve tried to be intentional about not doing “non-work work” on Sabbath (like laundry, dishes) our flat has never been cleaner because it has created a routine where I do all of my cleaning before Sabbath starts.
Overall, Sabbath has become an essential time of rest and realignment of myself under God (rather than attempting to do everything by my own power) especially as I navigate life in a new culture.
We hope you will also take time in your own life to reflect on what God might be saying to you about Sabbath. Are you being intentional about truly resting in him?