When I first began the exploration of what a true Sabbath might look like I studied, noted and pondered. So many of you have asked for more information on how and why I have embraced the practice of a weekly Sabbath. I think the best way for me to share that publicly is in slices, as I said last week. So today I share pages from my journal, my notes, as I began to inhale the air of sanctity of time over three years ago. Most notes are taken from Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God.
What makes Sabbath time - whether a day or a year, an afternoon or a week, a month or a moment- different from any other time? Simple: a shift in my thinking, an altering of my attitude.
First I must change my mind. Before I keep a Sabbath day, I must cultivate a Sabbath heart.
A Sabbath heart sanctifies time. This is not a ritual, it is a perspective. And it is not a shift in circumstances. I must make a deliberate choice to shift point of view and to come at my circumstances from a fresh angle and with greater depth of field. I must choose to see my life otherwise through a different lens, from a different standpoint, with a different mindset.
The root of the Hebrew word for "sanctify" means to betroth. It is a marriage pledge. It is to choose to commit yourself, all of yourself, to this man or this woman, and to honor that commitment WHETHER IT IS CONVENIENT OR NOT.
Sabbath is time sanctified, time betrothed, time I must receive and approach differently from all other time. Sabbath time is unlike every and any other time on the clock and the calendar. I must be more intimate with it. I must be more thankful for it. I must be more protective of it and generous with it. I become more myself in Sabbath: more vulnerable, less afraid. More ready to confess, to be silent, to be small, to be valiant.
There is no day in all creation that can banish my loneliness, even while meeting me in it, like Sabbath day.
But first I must change my mind.
One of the largest obstacles of true Sabbath keeping is leisure. Like "waiting for the weekend" where I see work only as an extended interlude between my real life, leisure is what Sabbath becomes when I no longer know how to sanctify time.
Leisure is Sabbath bereft of the Sacred. Leisure enslaves me and exhausts me, demanding more from me than it gives.
I know how unsatisfying leisure can be. I know what it's like to return to teaching the girls, or any other work of my life, after a time spent in revelry or retreat: typically I go back weary and depressed. The time away from my work wasn't time sanctified so much as time stolen, time when I escaped for a short lived escapade. The difference between this and Sabbath couldn't be sharper.
Sanctifying SOME time adds richness to ALL time. To spend time with my Lord is to emerge, not sullen and peevish, but elated and refreshed. I come away filled, not depleted.
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
But the folly of fools is deception.
- Proverbs 15:8
The wisdom of the wise is to give thought to their ways. They think about where they are going! But the folly of fools is deception. They keep lying to themselves.
Wise people ask, Does the path I'm walking lead to a place I want to go? If I keep heading this way, will I like where I arrive?
Fools don't ask that. They keep making excuses for themselves, justifying and blaming all the way to nowhere. They dupe themselves right into the grave. They never change their minds.
Consider your ways.
Consider your thoughts and attitudes - the pattern of them, their shape and drift.
Are they leading you where you want to go? Plot their trajectory: will they land you in a place you care to live?
If not, change your mind.
Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ - 2 Cor. 10:5
Search me, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me." - Psalm 139:23-24
Invite the Spirit to search you and reveal habitual thought and attitudes of your heart that are misleading you.
Ask God to change your mind "and lead you in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:24