I love that my church is taking two weeks off for sabbath. It is meant to be a time of rest and renewal. For some, a welcomed chance to slow down and for others a forced pause. It is not only meant to be a break for all the staff members, but for our entire Church- all of the body. It is a time that we are stopping to reflect on the fact that God moves in the stillness- He speaks to us in whispers and changes our hearts through peaceful encounters with Himself.
“In Quietness and Trust Is Your Strength”
I’ll confess, I did not think much about this when I first learned it would take place. There may have been a fleeting oh, that’s a good idea, but, honestly, not much more than that.
Of course, I try to promote a slow-pace and simplicity, and they are important to me. There have been plenty of seasons that I have struggled with the amount of consumerism in my life and times when I find myself running ragged towards something that, literally, does not matter at all. I desire a balanced life wherein me and my family can live in a keen awareness of the grace and joy of God.
The sabbath break has opened up special time for family and friends. This past Sunday, when normally we would be at Church, my family got to have an amazingly delicious breakfast with our cousins. While we all consider it a privilege to serve together, It was nice to have a leisurely Sunday meal together with no time table.
That afternoon, I got to have an extra-long coffee date with a wonderful sweet new friend. Our conversation was full of encouragement and excitement. Hearing her faith stories and all the things she is learning right now was so inspiring to me. I could clearly see God working in her life and in the life of her family by listening to her heart. Taking the time to sit down and share what God is doing never fails to be one of the most powerful ways God changes my heart.
Just this past six months, I have come to more fully understand the importance of gathering around the table to eat and live with those we care about. After reading Shauna Niequist’s Bread & Wine, it has become a priority to slow down and invite people to our table. While I am still far from being a great entertainer and chef, I am showing more hospitality simply by carving out a handful of nights to sit down with folks and listen to them tell me about themselves and their lives. The experiences and memories that I have gained from doing this are worth far more than any time and effort that I had to put in to make it happen.
It matters that we slow down, take time and invest ourselves in relationships with others. While I have always loved being around others and have always valued friendships, the more my life and family grows, the harder it seems to find the time. So far, this sabbath break has reminded me that relationships are what it is all about. The time I get to spend with others keeps me laughing, growing, loving, and learning- but it is also determined by a deliberate decision to allocate the time to do so.