Stopping on the Sabbath

This past week, our church and small groups were studying the importance of honoring the Sabbath and what that might look like. One of the characteristics proposed by author Peter Scazzero is “stopping.” In Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, he writes: ” ‘To stop’ is built into the literal meaning of the Hebrew word Sabbath. Yet, most of us can’t stop until we are finished with whatever it is we think we need to do: projects, e-mails, cleaning, errands … There’s always one more goal to be reached before stopping.” Uh, yeah, I can relate. It’s as if I think what I’m doing in this world is more important. But this is not it. This world is not all we have.

Saturday night I found myself laying in bed realizing I didn’t finish the prep work for the bulletin board I had planned to decorate at my kids’ school on Monday morning. I began to debate whether I should finish it on Sunday. Is this an opportunity to honor the Sabbath in a new way? It’s busywork but not paid “work.” I am not grumbling about getting it done but I’m not “delighting” in it either. It’s honoring to God that I do the job well but not necessarily bringing Him honor. At least not in the way that “stopping” and setting it aside for a day to trust that everything will get done. On the other hand, nobody would really notice if I came in on Tuesday instead of Monday to finish the bulletin board … or if I finished it all. But it was important to me to ensure it got done.

I have limited time in the morning before my son gets home from Kindergarten. I already had plans for the afternoon with errands to run with him. Then to complicate matters, I have been fighting off a cold for a few weeks and it’s starting to transform into a respiratory infection. If I ignore it, I’ll likely have pneumonia within a week or two, rarely fails. So, I’m thinking a visit to the dr’s office is needed, but if I don’t get in first thing during walk-in hours, forget it, I’ll be there all day!

So, what am I going to do? What’s the priority? Some may say I’m overthinking it or think who cares? But if I can’t trust God for the little things to be done, how will He grow my faith to accomplish the big ones? I went to sleep not really sure what I was going to do.

Sunday, we had a wonderful time, including a lunch date between my husband and me, family time outside, and dinner with friends who had our family over for dinner and a game of Carcassonne, which we had just purchased and never played. I hadn’t given the prep work another thought. Until 10pm. I decided to go to bed and leave it for Monday morning.

When I woke up in the morning and after I dropped the kids off at the bus, I had enough time to get ready for the day, print what I needed to finish the bulletin board and get to the doctor’s office around 8am. I cut the printouts while I sat in the waiting room (and finished just as they called my name, literally). Then I was done with my appointment and at the school before 9 (so a little later than my scheduled 8:30 arrival but that’s not unusual). I decorated the bulletin board, helped in my daughter’s classroom and finished early with that so I was able to help also in my son’s kindergarten classroom. I had the opportunity there, even though she hadn’t planned on me coming that morning, to work with the kids one-on-one on a writing assignment (something I never get to do but love it because I can interact with the kids and get to know my son’s friends a little better and she how he is behaving, too). Truly a blessing!

I picked up my son from the bus at 10:45am, we had lunch and then I ran my errand. We got home and it wasn’t even 12:30 yet. It’s like my day expanded! I was able to get everything done that I had planned and still have half the day left to do more (or, you know, take a nap). And my Sunday was undisturbed. Awesome.

“Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord.” Exodus 35:2


2 thoughts on “Stopping on the Sabbath

  1. I spent the day making pie crusts with Nicole and then we tried a french silk pie recipe. This did not feel like work. How do we know where that line is? Is it subjective to our attitude?

    • You were delighting in gifts God has given you: your daughter and dessert! So, I think that falls well within the “rules” if you look at it that way. But really it’s all about where your heart is. :)

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