on my attempts at sabbath…

Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 in faith | 0 comments

Last Sunday’s sermon was all about commitments to “sabbath living”, which I usually inwardly scoff at as something idealistic and impossible. I even wrote on my sermon notes…

I know…pretty pessimistic. But that was halfway through the sermon, and by the end, I was coming around a little bit. He talked about the challenges of family situations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out little chunks of time where you say, “I’m done”. That’s so hard for me to do…I feel like my task list is this bottomless abyss and if I don’t constantly do something, I will be smothered by it.

I know…overly dramatic and entirely untrue. So, Sunday afternoon, Ben took the two older kids sledding, Fiona was napping, and I was…alone. So I decided to practice. I picked up my new book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and sat down in the recliner to read. The sun was shining through the window, the chair was comfy, I had my highlighter in my hand, and the first thing I did was look at the clock and say to myself,  “Okay, I can read for 30 minutes.”

I then proceeded to look at the clock every five minutes to see if I had read too long…if my break was over yet. And I kept getting distracted by things that would pop into my head, like “oh yeah, I need to re-enroll the kids before Friday” and “when are we going to celebrate the kid’s birthdays?” and so it went. When it ended with Fiona waking up from her nap, I stood up and immediately started worrying about all the things I “should” have done during that time instead of just sitting there.

Needless to say, it didn’t go so well.

But this afternoon, with Parker away for the afternoon, Madi at school, and Fiona napping, I found myself in a similar situation. Determined not to make the same mistakes again, I thought about what else I could do to find a “place of rest”. And I realized that I don’t have to sit and stare out the window to be at rest. For me, something restful is writing here…on my personal little chunk of the internet. I don’t have any expectations or schedules for myself here, but I try to use my time to “try out” on digital paper what has been spinning around in my head. It is freeing…relaxing…especially when I don’t let myself get distracted by piles of e-mail messages to dig through and laundry to be folded and dishwashers to be unloaded. (which I effectively ignored, by the way)

Jeff said, “Sabbath is not a reward…it is a break in the middle of your work”. I love that. A break. A reprieve. And while I’m far far from perfect at taking those breaks…I’m trying to figure it out.

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