Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A month of Sabbaths

My life on paper looks like the resume for the perfectly productive North American life. High school filled with extracurricular activities and an after school job while still graduating Valedictorian.  Double majoring with a minor in college yet able to build lifelong friendships with various people. Moving on to complete a Master's degree and ultimately landing a job in my chosen field before graduation. Relocating to my city of choice as a position became available. Then being able to fulfill a life-long dream of becoming a missionary in a Spanish speaking country...feed the hungry, bind up their wounds (sometime literally), and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So when I came home from the mission field, the Lord asked me to do only one thing, and only one thing for a whole month. I thought to myself, "I got this." I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Bring it on, Lord. Until I hit week 3 and realized I was potentially failing at something for the first time in my life. What was this difficult thing the Lord had called me to? Rest.

Yup. Rest. As you can see from my laundry list above, rest was never in my vocabulary and it certainly wasn't on my list of priorities. The month pretty much looked like this:

Week one: Extreme culture shock. Life alone with the deer in Rockford, Michigan. Fill time with as many craft projects as possible. End week with a party for me and fill my house with people. AKA Deer in Headlights Phase

Week two: Fill my week with as many coffee dates, lunches, and dinners as possible. Surround myself with as many people as possible. AKA Cat in a Bath Tub Phase (Don't make me be alone!!! I don't wanna!!!)

Week three: Fill schedule in with people as much as possible. Think about as many business opportunities and clever ways to return to productive work as possible. Talk to people about talking about and planning those opportunities in October after "rest" is over. AKA Dog in a Thunder Storm Phase (When is this going to be OVER?!?!?)

End of week three: Get called out by the Lord for all of previous activity being not resting and having to repent and put the breaks on. AKA Caught Red Handed Phase

Week four: Actually taking time to rest and wait on the Lord. Finally feeling peace and calm. Stress and anxiety about the rest of life mostly subsided. Actually receiving what the Lord had wanted to give me for an even longer period of time. AKA Sabbath Rest Phase

When the Lord called me out for not resting, this is what He told me: He asks us for 1/10 of our money (that's tithing), 1/7 of our time each week (that's the Sabbath rest that is as old as Genesis), and 100% of ourselves (that's the dying to self part that is at the root of Christianity). This is because God always wants more of our time than our money, BUT He wants ALL of US WAAAAAAY more than our time. And I had been holding this back from the Lord for a long time.

Rest is counter cultural.We are taught that resting=laziness. Resting=being not productive. Resting=for old people. "I can sleep when I die". While it is counter culture for the world, it is foundational for Kingdom culture. We have been made in the image of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all mighty God. He made us and formed us. And then HE RESTED. I know you've heard this before. God doesn't need to rest. In fact, the Bible says He never sleeps. But He rested for our sake. We are NOT all-powerful, all-knowing, or all mighty. We are not even part-mighty. He rested for our sakes, because He knows how easily we burn out, stress out, and wear out.

Are you stressed out? Are you burnt out? Are you wearing out? How are your Sabbaths going? Are you taking time to rest and wait on the Lord?

Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

1 comment:

  1. I totally identify with this...

    that passage was one of the ones we chose for our wedding! Unfortunately the pastor didn't use it at all...