To be honest, I learned more about what a Sabbath looks like from an atheist on a podcast than I ever did in church. I always heard that we are to take a sabbath and how important it is but come on! What the heck does a sabbath look like? I get why it is important, but for 17 years of my life I had very little to no control of my schedule and then college is basically a few years of hard-core procrastinating balanced with getting everything done to graduating college. Then a transition into working a full-time job and very little other obligations.
Where are the concrete reasons of how to help someone experience a Sabbath? Oh, and especially as super type-A, to-do list, task-oriented human like myself. Where is the importance of a Sabbath in the pre-marriage books that I read? Sure, biblical things were all over those books like not cheating, finances, serving togethering, picking a church together but NOTHING about the importance of taking a Sabbath.
One of the first podcasts I came across as I started discovering more than music on road trips, I came across Dax Shepherd’s “Arm Chair Expert” podcast. He had an episode with Ashton Kutscher where he talked about Kutscher’s Jewish faith. Kutscher went on to explain that no matter what is going on in his life he prioritizes time to rest each week. A few weeks later Mila Kunez (Kutscher’s wife) talked a little more in depth about their family ‘Sabbath’ practice. Even though she claims no religion, she values the importance of stopping, resting and refreshing with family. She went on to explain that one evening every week her family has nothing planned but time together. They don’t worry about anything besides enjoying being together. They share a meal and take time to reflect of the past week. Their family uses this time to apologize for anything that might have come up or gone wrong the past week. This prompts them to start a new week on a clean slate of love and gratitude. Kunez mentions that it was so important for her to not carry any negativity from past weeks into the present.
Once I heard both of their explanations of the importance of their weekly Sabbath in their families, I was so blown away at how I have gone my whole life and missed the teaching and commandment of the Sabbath. Adam and I took our first Sabbath about six months into our marriage. We had to look at our calendar and planned out a day where we would intentionally schedule nothing! It was a great day to just breathe and have no expectations. But that day came and went, and we did not make it a habit to take a Sabbath weekly.
Since that first Sabbath we have really dove deep into what a Sabbath should look like. I have learned so much good knowledge about making my Sabbath routine by listening to people like Annie F. Downs who takes a Sabbath every single Wednesday no matter what. As well as Lysa Turkerst who schedules a Sabbath on whatever day best works with her schedule. And Dr. Caroline Leaf who takes science of the brain to match what the bible says about the importance of a day of rest for our body, mind and soul. The more I research, read, learn about the importance of adding intentional rest in my life, the more I am driven to make it non-negotiable. If these super productive, important and famous people can take a day of rest why can’t I? Why is this not already the normal? Why do I feel such a need to be busy all the time? And why is this not covered in any of our pre-marriage advice?
Adam and I have started out planning a Sabbath at least once a month! To start we are not even planning a whole day to Sabbath but instead just a Friday evening. The few we have done have been planned out a month in advance but are so refreshing. We take this time to reflect on how the month is going, how we are doing individually and how we are doing as a couple. We get anything off our chest and fill the time with joy. It is important to me that we spend equal time in our sabbath apart as we do together. This gives us a chance to breathe as an independent human and to connect with God.
Our desires are to be more structured in planning our months to make sure that we get a full day of Sabbath at least once a month and then move into maybe half a day every week until we can make it a habit of a full day of rest every single week. We are still seeking advice and wisdom from people in our lives and quite frankly any resources possible to really try to understand what a true Sabbath can look like. We are tired of Sabbath seeming like such a secret and out of the normal thing to do. It is clear that our bodies and minds need deep spiritual rest and connection, but it shouldn’t feel like a burden to pause life and to recharge with a Sabbath. We don’t have it all figured out, but we do know that life is too short to not pause and rest in a Sabbath.
What does Sabbath look like for you?
Did you grow up learning about the importance and practicality of a Sabbath?
What is your favorite way to rest during your Sabbath?
Keep your head up high and your words filled with love!
Your friend Colleen Howard.
Pastor Bill Ligon at Christian Renewal used to teach on the Sabbath and it’s benefits. He also taught about the Jewish festivals their importance and significance as well. You were young and not old enough to learn about it. We then went to other congregations and did not keep up but always thought the Sabbath was important and honored it by going to church and trying to be with family.
You worked for an organization that was sponsored by a man who valued the Sabbath and closed his stores every Sunday. Continue your quest for how to celebrate the Sabbath. It is so important God himself chose to rest after working for 6 days.