The Sabbath “Experiment”

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Hi, friends. I have been thinking a lot about moments and rest and I am still asking, “What is this moment for?” (Please see that post first.) Some of you are, too. I thought I would share some Sabbath thoughts with you so far this year.

I began reading this book during the first week of the year, so the first Sunday of 2009 was the first day of this “experiment.” After coming home from church and lunch, I snuggled up on the couch beside my husband who had big plans to watch a football game. There was no laptop on my lap, no projects in my hands, nothing but a Pottery Barn magazine and the Miami Dolphins on tv. After flipping the last glossy page, I looked around the room and thought, “I am bored.”

This whole concept of truly slowing down, of guilt-free relaxation, of refusing the long list of to-do’s in my planner and in my head…it was, well, foreign.

The night progressed with a simple dinner and playing a fun board game (which never seems to top the list over the ever-present television). We talked on the phone with family, spent quality time together, and had an all-around peaceful day.

Worship. Relaxation. Romance. Family.

And let me note that, for what it’s worth, I had the most PRODUCTIVE week, that first full week of the year. I was working out every night (can you imagine?), preparing stress-free meals, and I even got ahead on the laundry. I kept looking around and wondering, What is going on? And, Could it be the Sabbath? I feel so centered…

The second Sunday of January went similarly, and all week I found myself looking forward to the Day where nothing could press in on me, and everything could be enjoyed. Savored. I added in time for reflection. Reading and discussing and praying with Dean.

This past Sunday was not like the others. We had a beautiful weekend with my family- and their new puppy- in town. Someone had a big birthday!,

and we enjoyed the city to the hilt. Sunday was brimming with a special church service, a family brunch, and goodbyes. It was perfect.

But right when I should have taken pause, taken a little nap, or just regrouped and reflected on the joy of the weekend, we changed into jeans and charged over to our friends’ house for a football party. (Go, Eagles…poor Eagles).

Let me say, I don’t regret spending the Sabbath with our good friends. I am learning that the Sabbath is especially perfect for enjoying God, family, and friends. It is about slowing down to connect. But when the Small Voice (and my husband) pointed out that the time was growing late, the social butterfly in me was not yet ready to flit home. So we stayed.

When we finally got home and straight into bed, I realized that I had pushed my limits. I had not accepted the natural invitation to rest on the day that my body and soul desires it most.

And Monday morning greeted me with a roar. I have felt a bit off-center this week.

Let me say, I am not legalistic as to think that if we don’t honor the Sabbath, we will have a bad week. But I am realistic in understanding that if we bypass a moment that is intended for rest, we might just feel run down and weary in the days and moments that follow.

So I write this today as a lesson in listening…in obeying…and in cherishing the Sabbath moments in your life.



January 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

I love this. Listening. Noticing. Obedience that flows from a heart in love. Thank you for sharing this. I read a book by Sally Breedlove called Choosing Rest: Cultivating a Sunday heart in a Monday world. Your post reminded me of some of that.


January 26, 2009 at 2:56 pm

So, so good. Straight to my heart. It's fitting well with the book I'm reading on rest by Marva Dawn (I will post on that this week!) — and the twist to her book is that it's specifically for those in ministry/leadership. She tells the story of how she began to practice a Sabbath rest when she started her doctorate! And she did it all the way through … and gives testimony to the power of Sabbath rest to restore and refocus you during the week. Let's go on this journey of rest together … glad that you're leading the way, friend. (btw, ask me about what day Seth & I will have as our Sabbath rest — since Sunday poses more challenges as church staff) love you, Heather

Amanda Jackson

February 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Katherine, I loved catching up on your blog and especially enjoyed reading what you are learning about the Sabbath. I can so relate to what you are saying there (as a fellow list-maker). Thanks so much for this encouragement… I needed to hear it and look forward to “experimenting” myself this coming Sunday. Sara mentioned a possible Souper Jenny night soon, so hope to see you soon!