Over the last couple of months God has been trying to teach me about resting in Him. In particular He has been trying to teach me about observing sabbath. I've never given much thought to the idea of spending a whole day resting each week.
However, recently things have been getting so constantly busy that I realised something had to change. I was mentally and physically exhausted and barely able to cope. Perhaps I wasn't coping as I kept being ill. When I get in that state I have a tendency to fall into depression as well. I could feel it creeping up on me again and I didn't want it to take hold. I started by reading 'The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness' by Tim Chester, which a kind friend gave me some time ago. It struck a cord with me. I knew I was too busy and needed to change.
Then I came across a book by Shelly Miller called 'Rhythms of rest'. Shelly suggests that we do make an effort to have a sabbath each week. One day in the week to spend more time with God and to do no work. I decided to take up this challenge of observing a Sabbath. I have only been doing it for a few weeks but already I am beginning to sense a change in my attitude. I now look forward to Sundays even more than I did before. It is a day when worship with God's people, rest and do things that bring me closer to God. I am beginning to feel better. We are not designed to work 7 days a week. It is not mentally or physically healthy. Even God rested on the 7th day. Why do I think I can keep going? Spiritually I find I am more refreshed too.
It isn't always easy to achieve a day of rest each week. I am finding that it takes organisation and planning. I aim to get anything I perceive as work done from Monday to Saturday. The day will vary from person to person. If you need to work on a Sunday another day could be your Sabbath. Sunday works for me and I turn off all email notifications on a Saturday night and don't look at them again until Monday. Freedom! No emails, housework, shopping and paperwork. Of course, sometimes things happen and life doesn't flow as we plan. But I keep working towards it.
A day a week to spend resting in God's presence is beginning to restore me. I love the passage below from Isaiah. In God we find strength and power. If you don't already observe sabbath may I encourage you to think about it.
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Lynda Alsford is a sea loving, cat loving GP administrator and writes in her spare time. She has written two books, He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. She writes a newsletter, Seeking the Healer, in which she shares the spiritual insights she has gained on her journey. Sign up for this at her website www.lyndaalsford.com. She is also administrator for ACW.