observing the Sabbath

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives.  They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is: Observing the Sabbath.

Keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest is one of the Ten Commandments: ”Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy… the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:8 & 10)


What images does that word evoke in you? The sounds of rain or waves crashing on shore? Warm beaches? A quiet nap on the couch? Gazing into the backyard in the afternoon? A still lake? Time in quiet prayer?

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God made the Sabbath for man. To rest.

A day set aside to recharge our spiritual batteries and to reconnect with God. Of all the things God made in the entirety of creation, he set aside a day for resting.

That’s a pretty clear sign that rest is important to God. Our rest. In Him.

As Christians of a new covenant with Jesus, we are not bound to Old Testament Law, so observing the Sabbath won’t jepordize our salvation.

But what if observing the habit of rest on the Sabbath enhances our sanctification? What if rest blesses us? Transforms us? Did not Jesus (the perfecter of our faith) rest?

Why do we so easily neglect this ancient practice that was created for our good? My guess is that it is mainly because we are so sick with busyness. Corresponding to that is that I think we’re ignorant when it comes to how to rest. In this super-charged, fast-paced, get-things-done society we live in, we rarely take time to unplug and just exist. I recently read a simple thought about shutting down. 12 sentences of conviction – there is a time to work and a time to rest.

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God has peppered my thoughts lately with how to observe the Sabbath, and while no list of hard and fast rules was formed, I do have some insights I believe are helpful to finding rest:

Plan for nothing. Schedule a day with nothing. Really. No errands you have to get done, no people you must visit, no time restraints, no agenda. See what happens.* This type of mental (and perhaps physical) rest is good for our minds and our souls – we are expectantly resting and letting God do what he will. Perhaps you decide to take a walk in the neighborhood (you can pray for your neighbors or your city). Maybe you dust off the Word you’ve neglected and read some passages in a cozy chair. Maybe you watch a program on TV (* I caution you against spending the whole day in front of the TV!) or you decide to hand write a letter to a friend or family member that has been on your mind.

Abstain from the internet for a day. This might be hard. If you’re anything like me it’s almost become second nature to hop online and check my email or social media. Make a decision to abstain for 24 hours from the internet – start with 6 or 12 hours at first if this is hard for you – or go cold turkey and just stay off the whole day. The world still revolves when you are sleeping, it will still revolve when you’re offline.

Feed your personality type. If you’re an introvert, set aside some alone time – wander around or sit in a quiet place and recharge your batteries. Maybe you’re an extrovert and you can plan a time to meet a friend to talk about what God is doing in your life. I dare you to not set a time limit on it and just revel in enjoying the conversation without watching the clock for when you have to go!

For a driven person like myself I find it hard to rest because I sometimes feel like it’s lazy, but “there is nothing sinful about resting and there’s nothing honorable about not resting.” It can be helpful to look at the Sabbath as a way of retracting from the world and toward the Creator of the world; like fasting, we disconnect from the world’s comfort to reconnect with His comfort.

Do you practice the Sabbath?


I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:

Kelli is a United Methodist. She is a writer and public health advocate. An Arizona native, who recently returned home , Kelli lives with dog, Willie Nelson Mandela, who runs the show.  She blogs at: www.africankelli.com

Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs atwww.beautyschooldropout.net

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs at bigsnafu.com.

3 Comments to “observing the Sabbath”

  1. I love your suggestions about different ways to observe the Sabbath! I recently tried an internet fast, and while I think it was a good exercise, I think trying to do it on Sunday, which is a fairly stressful day for me, was not such a good idea. I tend to pop on the internet here and there for a quick break from whatever is making me crazy, and I really need that on Sundays! (Sad but true.)
    Sarah recently posted..Sisters in Spirit: Finding a Sabbath

  2. Yes. I love this. And thank you for the link to Zenhabits!
    Kelli recently posted..Sisters in Spirit: September

  3. “Plan for nothing. . . .See what happens.” Insanity? Calamity? It sounds so impossible, I’m going to have to give it a try. I think you are on to something with the idea that observing the Sabbath increases our sanctification.

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