Shabbat & Shalom, Ya’ll

Hand written lettering with text "Shabbat shalom". Typographical design element for jewish holiday shabbat.

I just got me a nap, ya’ll! I mean a good one, too! Very rare except for the occasional Sunday afternoon snooze. I usually either feel guilty for napping during the day, or just plain have too much to do. It’s just hard to slow down. I mean, you know how it is. We only have so many hours in a day, and so much to accomplish. Even when we stop working physically, our minds keep going ninety miles an hour. My mind even keeps right on going in my sleep sometimes. Can you relate?

What I so often fail to realize is that rest is one of God’s most beautiful gifts. It’s a gift that we, with our filled-to-the brim lives, tend to not take full advantage of.  Lately, I find myself so busy that the days pass in a blur. There are some things that legitimately have to be done, but I wonder if some things could wait? Or even just be skipped altogether.

With the Children of Israel, who had  lived in slavery for 400 years, God had spell it out for them in a commandment. REST. I wonder if our non-stop activity sometimes enslaves us. Even the good things we’re doing. God created the Sabbath and gave it to the Jews and to us as well. He knew that physically, mentally and spiritually, rest is good for us.

Senior man and woman sleeping. Senior man and woman resting with eyes closed. Mature couple sleeping together in their bed.

And rest is not just for Sundays. God wants us to set boundaries for ourselves to incorporate sufficient rest into our lives every day of the week. That means different things for different people. It might mean scaling back on activities that are not absolutely necessary, just to chill with our families more often. Or maybe just taking the time to do something we truly enjoy, that feeds our soul. It may mean going to bed earlier to get a good nights sleep. Or even simply spending more time with Him, allowing His presence to saturate our hearts and give us wisdom, strength and peace.

Woman resting with cup of hot drink and book near fireplace

Now, make no mistake, God doesn’t want us to be lazy either. Work is a gift from Him too. We just need to find a balance, and that can be tough. Achieving balance means making conscious decisions when it comes to how we spend our time.

For the past few weeks, I have been involved in a Bible study in the home of a dear friend. “Breathe” by Priscilla Shirer, could not have come at a better time for me. If you feel like you are living an over-crowded life, I highly recommend this study.

breathe

I am learning a lot, but putting it into practice will be the challenge. In the first session of the study, there is a quote by Harriet Tubman, who worked the Underground Railroad and helped thousands of slaves escape to freedom. Tubman said: “I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more if they had known they were slaves.”

I don’t want to be slave to my work or possessions or the activities that I choose. I don’t want my family to feel neglected, or to believe that I value time spent on other things more time spent with them. I am seeing more and more that there are some things that just maybe, don’t have to be done today. It’s all about choices. Today I made the choice to nap. Just for a little while. And all those things I need to get done? They’re still here waiting for me. In the grand scheme of things, it won’t matter much when I get around to them.

The Jewish word for Sabbath is Shabbat. It means to cease, to end, or to rest. Shalom is a word often used as a greeting, and means peace. Shalom is more than just its definition; it is a state of mind.  A state of complete peace, contentment, completeness, well being and harmony.

To achieve Shabbat and Shalom in every area of our lives, for every day of the week, we need to evaluate. What must I get done, and what can I let go? What things are most important to me? Once again, there are only so many hours in the day, so weeding out the things that suck our time and steal our hours, our joy, our Shabbat and Shalom is necessary. What are those things for you?

I have some ideas of what these things are for me. Doing something about it is going to be a process. For now, all I can say is that I will try my best to cut some of the non-essential things, and I will continue to seek His guidance in finding balance.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! Worship the Lord with all your heart, and then find some time to just rest. He loves you and wants you to seek this time of refreshing.

 

 

 

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