This is my story (personal testimony) about The Sabbath (Friday evening - Saturday evening).
Resting on The Sabbath did not come easy to me due to family traditions, self-centered ideologies, and customs. There are a set of traditions I was raised to live by and/or keep and those ways did not include going to worship or resting with God on The Sabbath. People I know work hard! But, I don't remember them resting or being encouraged to rest except when it was time to nap, when we were sick and/or when it was time to go to sleep at night. But is that really rest? Not necessarily. But, I have recently discovered that it is possible to rest with God while awake and it is an amazing experience!
Like most American families we did our laundry, shopping, played in team sports, took care of our household chores and overall did not rest on The Sabbath. I didn't know that resting while awake was possible until I arrived on the doorsteps of the summer of 2008. That summer, God shifted my whole self after watching a video produced by my now husband. The video was about remembering to keep The Sabbath. That week I decided to follow God's voice and keep The Sabbath. I didn't do laundry. I didn't go shopping. I didn't go to the movies. I tried to keep The Sabbath by abstaining from several activities that I believe God defined as work. I spent a lot of time in my bedroom reading the bible, watching Christian TV shows and napping but did I really rest? Not really.
I'm grateful for our Pastor, Paul Graham and how the Lord has used him to engage our church in a conversation about The Sabbath & rest. Now I'm totally intrigued and now feel a need to experience a true rest on The Sabbath before I take my final breath on this earth. Like before I die I want to experience a life in which I work hard and rest easy on The Sabbath while I am awake. I want to make sure that all the work I need to do is done with excellence. I want to complete every assignment that God has called me to do. I desire to pour out good works from a cup that is overflowing not half full. I want my work (my life) at home, church, in the office, in my personal relationships and in my neighborhood to be a refreshment to those I serve, love, and/or support. And I desire rest on The Sabbath!
I am convinced that in order to give, serve and love in a way that refreshes others I have to stay connected with The ONE who refreshes me and part of that means that I need to practice resting on The Sabbath not just on a day that I choose. I have decided to try to be more intentional about resting with God on the 7th day and rest in God Sunday-Friday afternoon. Resting in God to me means that I repent often, obey His written & spoken word, surrender always, confess sin, request God's forgiveness, forgive others, discipline my mind and body, and work hard.
As I prepare for rest on The Sabbath I plan to do the following:
Work hard Sunday - Friday
Get that laundry done: washed, dried, folded and put away before Friday evening
Resist the urge to procrastinate doing housework (cleaning, office work, baking bread, etc...)
Since we go to church on Saturday's I also want to have our church clothes ready & pressed by Friday the latest. This week we failed at this - will try harder next week!
Repent, confess, and seek The Lord daily so that I don't wait until The Sabbath to pour it all out on the altar at church. Waiting until the invitation to pray at the altar is more stressful and work than doing it throughout everyday.
Starting this week I want to spend less time with my phone. I notice that I spend quite a bit of time using my phone on The Sabbath and am curious about whether using it less would allow me to rest more on The Sabbath.
Actively resist the urge to be busy. This is the hardest because American born people are used to being so busy. Busy working. Busy worrying. Busy doing things that do not promote rest in and with God.
So while I have not mastered resting on The Sabbath yet, I believe I am closer to practicing restfulness on the 7th day of the week than I was 3 weeks ago - let alone 9 years ago.
Do you rest on The Sabbath? What's been your experience?
Thanks for reading and sharing.