What comes to mind when you hear that word?
For some it will be music. For others it will be nature. For others it may be life itself.
And the reality is that all of those answers are correct – and, in one sense, the same.
As I focus on the idea of Sabbath during this season, I am reading a book to help guide my thoughts and give me ideas. The book that I am reading is called Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives. It was written by Wayne Muller.
Some who read this book may be turned off because it is not truly a Christian book. I am not saying that Muller is not a Christian, nor that the book does not speak truth. I am saying that it is not purely, and only, related to Christian thought. And that may not appeal to some people.
But I am a believer that all truth (and any truth) is God’s truth, and thus, I find a great deal of God throughout the book (which the author does include intentionally).
Some of the practices that are mentioned may seem foreign to most Christians. And some may bring questions. But all of the practices I have read so far are presented to help people not only practice Sabbath, but also to embrace Sabbath, and find peace in the process.
That truth was made especially evident in the current section of my reading on rhythm – which was designed, and created by God.
We have day and night. We have seasons of the year. We have a full moon and a new moon. We have work and we have play. And we are supposed to have rest.
During this current disruption in our lives, many people are finding rest. Some would rather not be experiencing a forced kind of rest as we practice social distancing and focus on areas far different than what seemed important 6-7 weeks ago.
But after rushing and running from one place to another, from one appointment to another, and from one responsibility to another, many people are finding a type of rest that just two months ago was desired with a statement such as, “I just wish I could slow down.”
Well, sometimes, wishes come true.
Why? Because of rhythm.
What is fast will become slow. What is light will become dark. What is bright will become faded. And vice-versa on each of those ideas and more.
For too long, too many people (including me!) have been “burning the candle at both ends.” When that happens, it may be brighter (and even warmer) for a time, but eventually the candle burns out – QUICKER. And then, you have to slow down at least long enough to put a different candle in place and then light it (at one or both ends). If you do not have another candle available, you have to make or purchase a new one.
Of course, that metaphor is old, but the premise remains true. In a world filled with switches and buttons, it is easier to push far longer because no candle is burning. But we are.
And so, we need to find our rhythm.
I know many now wear certain devices to help track their sleep and to wake them up when their sleep cycle is at the best point – that is, when the rhythm is right.
So, life has rhythm. Nature has rhythm. Music has rhythm (while a song may be fast or slow from start to finish, most every album contains a little of both).
But the question is: Are you sensitive to the rhythm needed in your life?
For several years, I was not. Now, I am becoming much more sensitive – even after only two weeks of taking a Sabbath. Again, God had me on this path before COVID-19, but now many have a greater opportunity to take the time we desperately crave.
If anything, I am busier now than I was two month ago. But with a better understanding of rhythm, and a better appreciation for Sabbath, I am much better prepared to accomplish not only what I need to accomplish, but I am also more prepared to take the breaks necessary to sustain me over the long term. And those breaks now include taking a day – a Sabbath – in order to truly reset for the week ahead.
So, my encouragement to you is to find the right rhythm for you. I am still discovering my rhythm overall, and I am certain that it will have to reset occasionally. But the benefits I have experienced already make this endeavor so worthwhile.
If you have not joined me on this journey yet, please consider doing so. (You can read the past several blog entries, order a book, or just explore for yourself. But I do encourage you to do something intentional.) This process has already changed my life, and it may just change yours as well.