It felt good. It gave me a sense of worth and value that in some ways I wasn’t receiving in other parts of my life. I lived the complete opposite of the quiet life.
Busyness brought a lot of emotions out of me. I felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants--most times moving so fast, my socks would fall off. I loved it. I always had something to do, to be done, to prepare, to attend, and to decide. If was never a dull moment. Even during my days off, though I intentionally didn’t work, I would try to fill my day to the brim. I’d go on day trips, or travel out of town. My calendar was booked. Any way I could stay busy, I did it. And it was all for me. I even remember saying to myself, ‘My day off is mine. I’ll do what I please, because I’m going to rest and sabbath the way I want to.’ Was this all bad? No, not at all. I was missing something though.
I thought I was in a good place. I was a big fan of busyness until 3 years ago.
I spun a lot of plates. Some of these plates were by my own doing, whether I couldn’t say no, I didn’t calendar well, or truly didn’t handle crucial conversations well. Some were out of my control. I mean, it’s what we know right? Or at least what I wanted to be known as or hear from others: ‘Wow, he is a hard worker.’ ‘He does it all!’ ‘He is so reliable.’ I looked to be validated by others.
I didn’t see it at the time, but my patterns were so unhealthy. I was exhausted. My passion was fading, and anything that I loved and cared about became a task. Over time, joy was lost and the act of walking through the motions was extremely evident.
I was missing something. Sabbath was misused. The idea of rest didn’t really compute for me. On December 22, 2018 I lost my job. I was completely devastated.
I had a solid mentor speak truth to me. He said, ‘You look lifeless, you need rest.’
I listened to him.
I chose to take a personal retreat. It was a ‘find myself’ weekend. Who am I in God? What is my purpose? Where do I belong?
During this weekend God showed up. He also made it really clear that I didn’t rest and take time to pause in my life.
From this moment on, my rhythms and lifestyle drastically changed.
Rest or ,some may know it as, Sabbath is now a non-negotiable in my life.
What does sabbath look like for you?
I pray and hope through my personal story and through the content I share will help answer some questions you may have about sabbath.
Sabbath is instituted by God. Sabbath is a gift. Sabbath is an act of worship. Sabbath literally means "stop" in greek.
God made us to turn off.
Check out Psalm 121:
‘I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.’
YOU NEED SABBATH
What happens when you rest? God watches and works while you sleep. Relinquish control, pause, reflect, and lean in within. Think about it, when you fall asleep, you are giving up full control. When you hand over all things to God and do nothing, God does it all. I want to remind you, God made us to turn off, heal, rest, reboot, and sleep.
While you are doing this, God continues to hold the world in His hands as it turns.
When we don’t sabbath, it’s a missed opportunity. It will affect other areas of your life, cause you to become unhealthy, grow in weariness, and you'll be more susceptible to fall into sin.
Are you worn out? Fatigued? Easily annoyed? Critical? Resentful? Blame shifting? Envious? Easily giving into gossip? Worried? Anxious?
These are deep signs of inconsistency or no rhythm of sabbath.
Do we need sabbath? Of course we do, but it’s more than a need. There is something more! The quiet life brings love. Love can never be in a hurry, love can never lean in with a ‘busy’ mindset.
SET A TIME
Before you decide what you’re going to do, make sure you choose a time weekly that works for you—preferably a solid 24 hour period of time. It doesn’t matter what day it is. Maybe you can’t in your life circumstances right now commit to a full 24 hours. Find a morning, a lunch hour, or a segment of your evening to lock down. Declaring a weekly rhythm is your first step and very important.
You’re going to miss a beat, rhythms will be tested, but give yourself grace. Remind yourself—‘I’m not made for the sabbath, the sabbath is made for me. I'm not just here to work, I’m here to worship.’
Even when the religious teachers tested Jesus on why miracles and good works were done at times on the Sabbath by Jesus and His disciples. Jesus would further say, in Mark 2.27, ‘The sabbath was made to meet the needs of people and not the people to meet the requirements of the sabbath.’
The sabbath is a gift--it’s a blessing. It’s more than a need, but it’s also an opportunity to worship.
Sabbath is more than taking a break from work. Rest really can’t be done with binging on netflix, traveling constantly, playing hours of video games, overloading on your favorite food or bevy. These are not bad things, but God wants to give rest to your soul.
Do you want to grow in worship? Do you want to grow in your connection with God?
Sabbath is your answer.
Here is an example on what Sabbath looks like in my life currently:
Active step(s) to prepare: Thursday night, I turn my phone on ‘DO NOT DISTURB.’
Sabbath Day: This will commonly last until Saturday evening, but at least until Saturday Morning. I will also get my items that I need for the next day ready so I’m not in a rush.
I typically sleep in a little more, after a normal morning routine to get our 5 year old ready and drop her off for school, I head to the beach, a park, or experience a walk/hike. I commonly listen to worship music, podcasts, or a sermon to prepare and calm my heart while I’m on my way. Once I’ve parked and I’m where I want to be, I begin my time sitting and waiting. Whether it is a moment to process my time with God I just had in the car, a self check-in or simply sitting still. I proceed to lean into a moment of meditation. Guided meditation has really helped ease my mind, release distractions and to remain in the present moment (This action has almost become a daily habit in my life).
I then shift to prayer. Giving thanks, releasing my insecurities and mistakes to Jesus as I repent, I ask for my needs, the needs of my family and the needs of others and I then end it with waiting in silence to hear from Him. I continue spending my time waiting to hear from Him through His word.
Moments like this I don’t force or rush. I just lean in.
I typically throughout the day, will pick my favorite place to eat, or at least make some of my favorite food, experience the sunshine and intentionally choose to slow my pace in all the things I lean into on the Sabbath. Once I come home and my wife and little girl are home, I eat dinner with them, play a game, dance, laugh, and experience intentional time with my wife, whether that is a date night in-house or out on the town.
The look of my Sabbath has changed throughout the years, so don’t stress on making it perfect.
If you’re feeling groovy, I’d encourage multiple personal retreats a year. To strive to live a quiet life on the regular is biblical. How ever long you can get, to Sabbath for a long weekend, is refreshing, realigning, and life-giving.
Simply put, you can only pour out what you have.
‘Brothers and sisters, we are asking you to love one another more and more. And do everything you can to live a quiet life.’ 1 Thessalonians 4.10b-11a
So what will Sabbath look like for you?
You need sabbath
You also have the opportunity to lean in to worship.
SABBATH BRINGS YOU TO WORSHIP
Whatever your Sabbath will look like, the hope is to experience pause, perspective, and purification.
Pausing helps remember who God is and why you can trust Him. Psalm 121, ‘My help comes from the Lord.’ It’s a space to remember what God is doing and what He has already done for you.
While you rest, God works.
Open your eyes, to gain awareness and perspective of what is around you. The beauty that surrounds you daily—the stars, the blue sky, the oceans, lakes, valleys, and mountains! I’ve leaned into this phrase these past few years, ‘I wander to be in wonder.’ This too is a great practice to ponder what God is going to do. How many times do you ponder for things that have not even happened yet that create worry and fear? When you allow the fears and the worries of this world to take control, it suffocates and snuffs out anything good. Ponder His goodness and what God is capable of doing!
While you rest, God works.
Letting go and simplifying. Things that clutter your life that you think you need, they actually create unnecessary feelings of not having enough and not being enough. Be reminded of how He sees you, His promises and be purified by His love, His direction, His kingship. Maybe donate or get rid of some clothes you don’t wear anymore. Less is more.
While you rest, God works.
Where did Sabbath come from? It came from God. Even God rested on the 7th day in Genesis. He rested because he was done. This is why Sabbath is more than just a need, but it’s an active posture of worship. It is finished because of Jesus.
We no longer have to live a life FOR Jesus and His righteousness, rather we get to live, celebrate, and know we are approved, accepted, loved, wanted, and valued FROM the finished work of Jesus and His righteousness.
Sabbath creates space for us to say, ‘Thank you! you’re amazing, nothing else can compare to your love and goodness.’
What will Sabbath look like for you?
JOHN MARK COMER
In Garden City, popular pastor and speaker John Mark Comer gives a surprisingly counter-cultural take on the typical "spiritual" answer of the church. Comer explores Scripture to discover God's original intent for how we are meant to spend our time, reshaping how you view and do your work, rest, and life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coert and Rachael are from the Northeast and have been married for over 11 years. They have a little girl named Quinn and three dogs!
Coert is on staff at Riverside and passionate about the stories of others and seeing the story of Jesus bring life to their narrative. Coert enjoys traveling, downhill skiing, baseball, coffee, and house projects. The Voorhees family, as a unit, enjoys going to the beach, hanging at the local coffee shop, playing board games, music, and occasionally having a dance party in the living room.