There’s a reason God told His people thousands of years ago to take a day of rest and rememberance each week: they would never do it otherwise. We value progress, growth, increase and fruitfulness. Our modern culture bounces between lethargy and hyperactivity, a fact demonstrated through the problems with our children who are either couched playing video games or bouncing off the walls at school.
But Sabbath wasn’t a time to simply take an afternoon nap or fast activity. Sabbath was a focused rest- a time to remember that no matter how hard we work, everything we have comes from God.
A few years ago an opportunity opened up for me to participate in the beta level of a brand new spiritual formation experience. One of my favorite authors and speakers, Alicia Britt Chole, was looking for women to join her in one year of intentional, focused spiritual growth together. Alicia herself would lead the group through times of mentoring, group and individual lessons and an annual prayer retreat. In addition to joining this group, I felt God leading me to step back in my job and spend some time focusing on growth and personal healing.
It was time for a period of Sabbath in my life.
I cannot express strongly enough how deeply that year changed me. Alicia’s wisdom, an incredible community of women and fasting my strengths created a healing space that my soul desperately needed. I had begun to believe that my battles must be fought alone, but having Alicia’s hindsight as my foresight allowed me to stand on the shoulders of her wisdom. My fellow mentees allowed me to experience the incredible joy of true friendship, support and accountability. These incredible, strong, gifted women have been such a source of life and love and hope in my life.
My heart needed the space to heal and grow, and so does yours. How often do you step away from fruitfulness to grow roots? When was the last time you rested to regain your strength (physically, emotionally, or spiritually)? How often do you fast your strengths, setting aside the need for extrinsic encouragement to allow God to remind you you’re worth just as much to Him without the great things you do?
If you’re interested in further study on this topic, I highly recommend Alicia’ book Anonymous, Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson, and the Leadership Investment Intensive mentoring opportunities listed here.