Why Sabbath? When was the last time you had a day to yourself where at the end of it you felt filled with energy and closer to Jesus? That is God’s heart for the Sabbath. This beautiful idea of Sabbath has become faded over the years. We have become so entrenched in our values of hard work and persistence, (which are excellent values) that we have often lost the value of resting with our Creator. The point of Sabbath is to remember our first love, to set our work aside and show Him by our actions that He is vastly more important than our work. Sabbath shows we trust that He is big enough to handle our loose ends, Sabbath shows our Savior that our focus is first on the Master and not on the ministry. Sabbath reflects that our audience is Jesus, not people. Sabbath is a guardrail to making sure we do not become like the church in Revelation that forgot their first love.
What am I supposed to do for a WHOLE day?! If you are like me, the idea of an entire day with God can be daunting. It’s especially intimidating to those extroverted types who cringe at the thought of a whole day alone. Don’t worry – it doesn’t have to look like sitting in a quiet room reading Leviticus for hours by yourself! Here are some creative tips about how to spend a life-giving, soul-filling day away with God.
Getting Started. For starters, the Sabbath should be a “day of decadence” with Jesus. It is a day we get to press pause and just BE with our Creator, in whatever way we are wired to commune with Him. It is a day of celebration where we come away filled and most importantly having drawn near to the heart of a father. Here are basic ways to get started and some fun creative ideas to try.
- Plan It. If you do not put this in your calendar, it won’t happen! Take ten minutes out of your week and plan out where you are going, when you are going, and what you might do. (It took me two years to really solidify my Sabbath, but now every Monday I have a Sabbath and I look forward to it every week!)
Not everyone can take a whole day weekly in his or her season of life – that’s ok. Start with finding a smaller chunk of time in your week that you regularly set aside, it will fill and restore you in ways you never thought possible. Look ahead to try and plan for a day you really could take the day just for you and God.
- Pick a Place. Where do you connect best with God? Are you a nature lover? Or are you someone who never understood those tree-loving hippie Christians and just wants good quiet room indoors with absolute silence? Maybe you love a good coffee shop so you can be around people as you spend time with God. What place inspires you and is an easy place for you to connect with God?
- Choose an Activity. Decide something to do. Ask yourself these three questions:
– How do I connect to God? Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas is a great tool for discovering different ways you connect to God. (Here is an quick overview to learn more about each pathway, and an online questionnaire to help you discover what your pathway might be.)
– What fills me? A day with God should be fun and filling; so what are the things God has wired you to enjoy? Do those things that fill you with God.
– Am I an introvert or extrovert? If you are an extreme extrovert you may want to try doing your Sabbath with someone else on occasion. There should be an element of abiding just you and God, but God likes community and speaks, ministers, and fills through others – so try doing a Sabbath with a trusted friend.
- Be Intentional. I have experienced what it’s like to go into a ministry season both filled and depleted, and neither had anything to do with the circumstances of that summer. It had everything to do with intentionality. Intentionality creates intimacy – allowing our spirit to become in tune with His. Resting with God is not about not doing anything, it’s all about being intentional in drawing near to the heart of the Father and abiding in His presence, listening to His whispers of well done and remembering at the end of the day we are not our titles, we are simply His kids in whom he wants to delight.
I’ve come up with a list of different fun and creative things you can do on your Sabbath. Remember, planning what and where you’ll spend your day beforehand can help you to be intentional and lead to a life-giving, soul-filling day away with God.