Taking A Sabbath

On October 15, 2013 by Eddie

In my last post, I talked about how God has completely turned my world upside down over the last few months. In the course of a few weeks, God confirmed that it was time for us to take a huge leap and leave the security of a full-time job, and suddenly I was looking into a big void and wondering what was next. 

In one of my weakest moments, a very good friend gave me some great advice that has completely changed my life. He told me to hold off on trying to rush into the next thing I found to do and take some time to sit, rest, be still and listen for God. And not just a few days, a few weeks worth of time. In his words, “no matter what time or money you spend, you will never regret it.”

So I reluctantly told Danielle about this idea of taking a Sabbatical, fully expecting her to think I was completely nuts. First, leave my job, then just “rest” for a while? That makes no sense to a strategic planner like my wife. But somehow, she immediately knew it was the right thing to do, and without any convincing she began looking for a place for our sabbatical.

Fast forward a few months, and I’m currently typing this blog post from a house in Florida, where my family has been camped out for the last few weeks. It has been, without a doubt, the most incredible decision we could have possibly made. There’s a lot to share, but here are the biggest things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Health Comes First – when things got busy over the last few years, one of the first things I eliminated in my schedule was any kind of physical exercise. It seems like the least important thing on the calendar. For the last few weeks, I’ve made it a priority to exercise (Crossfit, which I am now hooked on), and I’m amazed at why I ever gave it up. Being a good steward of my body changes so much: it gives more energy to face the day, helps me feel overall like I’m living on purpose instead of simply responding to circumstance, and helps me remember that difficult circumstances are worth fighting through.
  • Power of Discipline – The last thing I did before leaving home was pick up a copy of Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline.” Over the past few weeks, meditation has become a go-to way to start my day, and I can’t wait to bring it home with me. I never knew how powerful and important it could be, until I quieted myself down and began hearing the Lord speak about my day. Luther once said “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer,” and I always thought that was a bit super-spiritual. Now, I understand what he meant. A little bit of discipline goes a LONG way.
  • Emotional Health – After a few weeks of growing physically and spiritually stronger, I began to notice a subtle change. I started enjoying people again. Without noticing it, I had begun to simply “endure” the people around me. Slowly I saw myself talking to strangers, enjoying time with my kids more, and falling in love with my wife again. Emphasizing my physical and spiritual health has given me the emotional margin to really notice and enjoy the people around me.

Funny, isn’t it, that such a revolutionary idea (taking a break) is actually really, really old? God knew what He was doing when he laid out the fourth commandment. Maybe he intended to show us, that if we make rest a priority, all the other commandments become a whole lot easier.

Now obviously, this break isn’t something we can easily repeat. Once we dive back into life, it will probably be years before we can get back to a similar place of extended rest. However, I think it’s totally feasible to experience a taste of Sabbatical every week, if I’m just disciplined in observing a Sabbath. Not only is it feasible, it’s essential if I want to maintain any sense of the peace and joy I’ve found these few weeks.

What about you, do you have a Sabbath ritual? If so, how does it help the rest of your week?

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