Gifts of Time and Sabbath Rest

Time is an elusive resource. No matter how hard we try, we can’t grasp it or control it or change it.time, Sabbath, rest,

  • We complain that there isn’t enough of it in a day to get things done.
  • It flies by when we’re having fun.
  • Things can become frozen in it.
  • The older we get, the faster it goes.
  • It’s of the essence.
  • We tell people to stop wasting it.

What is time, really?

The Gift of Time

With the creation of the sun and the moon on Day 4, God bestows upon us the gift of time and seasons. This Genesis 1 gift keeps on giving. We live out our lives within its parameters: seconds, minutes, hours; days, weeks, months, years. Over the course of a year, we rotate through the seasons of birth, growth, harvest, and rest.

But how many of us even notice this gift of time or the seasons that should give meaning and purpose to our lives, both in our days and in our years? Do we fully experience and engage with our senses the passing and changing of day to night, of week to month, of season to season, of year to year? Do we build into Untitled design-3our days times of rest, or do the days parade by in a stream of busyness and business, barely acknowledged much less celebrated?

Sabbath Rest?

As I’ve started working through The Way of Discipleship book with a friend, we’re currently studying the practice of Sabbath. The definition states the following: “Sabbath is a specific period of rest from the labors of life for the purpose of rejuvenation and fellowship with God and one another.” Three questions then direct me to evaluate my practice of Sabbath regarding these points:

  • my pace of life and its effect on my soul and those around me
  • what rest looks like for me, and
  • how much time I set aside to rest or reflect on God

As I sat with these thoughts, I realized this wasn’t going to be a section I could zoom through, because honestly I couldn’t see much Sabbath rest going on in my life on Sunday or any other day for that matter. I thought uncomfortably about what my Sundays typically look like. Morning is devoted to church, yes, but the afternoons are nearly indistinguishable from any other day of the week, crammed full of activities, cleaning, cooking, and laundry, lots of laundry. I often intend to slow down and relax, but rarely does it happen.

Jen's Sabbath pictureGod set aside Day 7 to rest from His labors. It’s a pattern He means for us to follow that’s somehow been lost in our skewed vision of time. Each day we race from work to school to home to lessons to home and then start the process all over again. Sunday is supposed to be different, as it was when I was a child. Stores  closed. Businesses shut. Families went to church, ate a leisurely dinner, napped, played,  and visited. Somehow from then to now, we’ve shed that tradition and made Sunday the catch-up day. Catch up on work, chores, laundry, with precious little time for Sabbathing.

I’ve tried to tackle this issue before in my life, but without much success. I want to be mindful of the gifts of time and rest and Himself that God has given us. I want to discover how to infuse them not just into my Sunday, but to create mini-Sabbath times throughout the rest of the week too.

Next post, I’ll look at my first attempt at creating some margin in my Sundays.

If you’d like to join me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on time and Sabbath. Just leave them below.

I’d like to thank my friend, artist Jennifer Bubp,, for allowing me to use her beautiful Sabbath collage.

What Is the Simple Life?

As Mary and I are preparing to kick off our first ever online Bible study offered by Only By Prayer called The Simple Life, I’ve naturally been doing some reflection on what I think the simple life looks like. I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely know what the simple life doesn’t look like based on past and current experience. I can tell you that it doesn’t look like any of the following things, all of which I’ve done at some point in my life.Simple Life Possible Pin

  • It doesn’t look like working until 9:30 p.m. every weeknight grading students’  English papers.
  • It doesn’t look like staying up until 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. every night writing an e-book.
  • It doesn’t look like doing household chores all day Sunday to try and prepare for the next week.
  • It doesn’t look like skipping my devotion time repeatedly because I’m too tired to get up in the morning.
  • It doesn’t look like watching the whole summer pass by with the realization that I’ve only sat down twice in the evening on my deck to relax and read a book.
  • It doesn’t look like my children and I only seeing my husband every other weekend for the duration of six months while he works across the country.
  • It doesn’t look like wading through a house filled with too much junk!

I’m pretty good at knowing what the simple life isn’t; it’s what it is that I need to figure out.

Now, I know that life has its seasons, and some seasons just have to be endured, but when you realize it’s gone from a life season to a life pattern, then it’s time for a life change!

So far, in my early prestudy ruminations, I’m beginning to see that simply doesn’t necessarily mean easily. Here is what I think I want the simple life to look like: To me, the simple life means 1) sitting at the feet of Jesus 2) undergirding everything with prayer 3) being intentional with my time and resources, and 4) pursuing and listening for God’s next thing for me.

Now I just need to learn how to do all that! How about you? What do you think the simple life looks life for you?

Would you like to join us in exploring The Simple Life ? There’s till time for you to sign up.