Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hit the Brakes #2: Taking a "Sabbath"

Having grown up in a Christian home, the idea of taking a "Sabbath," or a day of rest, is certainly not foreign to me. However, I always thought that taking a Sabbath meant coming home from church on Sunday and taking a nap for a few hours in the afternoon. Recently, I've discovered that it could actually look quite different from that.

For the past several months, I've been serving as a student leader with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the college I attend. As a student leader I'm required to attend several different leadership retreats throughout the year and one of the things emphasized at those retreats is the importance of taking a time of rest each week. Taking a Sabbath, I've learned, means doing something that refreshes me, brings me closer to God, and renews my perspective on life. While ideally I would set aside an entire day for rest, if I'm simply too busy to do that, just a few hours a week can make a difference.

Last semester I did not make it a habit to have a Sabbath each week; this semester, however, I decided to make it a priority. Between working approximately 30 hours each week, going to school, serving on leadership, and doing various other things, I knew that I would be constantly frazzled if I didn't make a point of setting aside time just for non-sleeping rest.

One of the great things about taking a Sabbath, I've learned, is that even though the Sabbath is traditionally a Saturday (or Sunday), it can actually be taken any day of the week. It just so happens that I take my time of rest on Sunday mornings, since my church doesn't start until 12:30PM.

For the past few weeks, I've been spending every Sunday morning from around 10AM to noon at Starbucks, reading a book about Christian worldview that I've been wanting to read for years but could never find the time to read. I never thought this would happen, but those couple hours each week have come to mean so much to me and I've grown quite protective of them. It's in those moments that I find peace and refreshment and strength for the next week. I'm not worrying about school or work or anything else. It's just me, God, my book, and a cup of coffee. And it's beautiful.

If you've never tried taking a time of rest each week, I encourage you to do it for one month and then decide what you think. Figure out what you enjoy doing, what speaks to you. For some people, this could be taking a walk outside, knitting, listening to music, going for a run or bike ride, playing pool alone, or something else entirely. Make this a time that is just for you and God without the distractions of friends, school, work, or family. I think you'll find that you don't want to give it up.

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