7 Tips to keeping Sabbath

So we established last week we need a  sabbath – but how do we do it ?

The Old Testament has chapters and chapters about keeping Sabbath – keeping it holy – and most of it describes how to not work. When the law around Sabbath is introduced in Exodus 20 as part of the Ten Commandments, it says “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy” and then goes onto say “Six days you shall labour and do all your work but the seventh day is a sabbath to The Lord Your God on it your shall not do any work”

If Jesus went explained say Sabbath was made for mankind – and thus kept it as a pattern to follow .However it seems we are really good at working and not so good at resting.

So here are my tips – most of them I learnt the hard way from doing the opposite

1. Chose a day that works as your Sabbath – if you work at a church – in whatever capacity Sunday does not count as a Sabbath – it is a work day. For a long time I had a Jewish like sabbath – 5pm Friday till 5pm Sat. It made me leave work on time on Friday night and gave me till Sat night service off.
2. Don’t spend time with people you are pastoring or leading- that is work . if you are with people you work with and you make a pact not to discuss work.
3. Turn off your work emails – none of us are that important that people need an instant response.
4. Don’t answer work calls (unless it is your boss – and if they are a good boss they won’t call on your day off unless it’s an emergency – every rule has exceptions- emergencies are just that- emergencies!
5. Don’t respond to work texts – I once had to say to a student after repeated texts ” I will get to it tomorrow I am having a day off” – she responded well and hopefully I modelled something for her
6. A new one I am going to try this year – disconnect from social media – the world actually doesn’t need to know how you are spending your day off ! You don’t actually need to know what everyone is doing or saying on your day off- a break from all the noise of social media cold just instantly make our sabbaths holy !
7. And most importantly – spend some time with God and some time alone and/or some time in nature or some time with people who refresh you !

I really don’t think Sabbath can be optional for those of us wanting to do a long journey and do it well. If you want to go hard and burn out – the fastest way to do it is to work 7 days a week! Occasional busy seasons require it- but a lifestyle without a day off is not sustainable.

Those are my tips – what are yours – help us all out and post a tip that has helped you keep the sabbath holy !

12 thoughts on “7 Tips to keeping Sabbath

  1. Vickie says:

    Timely as always Pam. I’ve chosen for our next Women’s Bible Connect the study “Breathe” by Priscilla Shrier. It’s about honoring the Sabbath, which will be a different way for everyone, those that are raising a family-your sabbath might be making sure that it’s a family fun day – which gets trickier as you have teenagers in the house. Carving out time for yourself/family is vital for your health; mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s interesting because our body needs sleep ideally every night to fight off dieseases, to revitalize ourselves, and for energy to name a few. As babies, we sleep naturally, as children our parents made sure that we got enough sleep, as adults we realize the importance of sleep but sometimes take advantage of it. Sleep and sabbath are very closely related. Observing the sabbath is vital for our health. Our brain needs to take a break from the everyday demands. I loved your insight and points that you shared. Allowing the person to figure out what works for them with regards to sabbath is key. It’s not about being legalistic, it’s about adjusting it for the stage of life you are in. Carving that time out for yourself, your family, and honoring God’s command. He put it in there for a very simple reason. It’s so simple, yet we can complicate it. 🙂

    • pam.borrow@myc3church.net says:

      Thanks Vick- the study sounds amazing – can’t wait to hear how it goes. You are right it is so simple and yet we complicate it !

  2. Jennifer Carlino says:

    Thanks Pam– needed a readjustment/refocus for remembering Sabbath.

    I have two thoughts/tips
    1) Sabbath and rest doesn’t necessarily mean solitude. I think of it as rest and community. It’s a day to refresh by connecting with family and friends.
    2) If you’re married– keep each other accountable. My husband often asks me “is that Sabbathy” (yes, we made up that word). It keeps us aligned to be resting throughout the day.

  3. Jenny says:

    Alas…the Rest of God (great book by the way by Mark Buchanen)… The sabbath seems somewhat elusive to mommies trying to get life ready for Monday again, or shuttling kids to parties or after church fun ( which is dandy, but there is clean up especially. When twenty or more descend in your home). I love having people over to celebrate life and relationship with but the dichotomy between simple rest versus pleasure-non work remains…. I am sick today so it’s a forced sabbath (with social media here it seems)… But looking forward to quiet time with God. I surrendered to the rest to get better and although I cleaned one toilet, the rest will have to wait. Jesus meet us in our quiet moments of stillness and teach us not to hurry but to be ever aware of your “unforced rhythms of grace” as you tell us when you said “come to me all who are weary and need rest”….

    • pam.borrow@myc3church.net says:

      Yes very tricky for young mums- kids still need looking after no matter what day of the week. I guess it is about setting a pattern for a family that allows one day a weekend not to be crammed with activities. Tough to negotiate though!

  4. Leon Shohmelian says:

    Great post Pam.

    Getting a Sabbath rest day into my life was one of the best things I did in 2013. This year I am going to take on point 6 – disconnect from all the noise of social media.

    A tip that I have had to remind myself of constantly comes from the idea of “keeping it holy” and that is to consecrate that Sabbath time to rest. Schedule it into you diary or weekly schedule and do not let anything take it up. There will be a myriad of people, appointments and tasks which will start screaming at you from the sidelines of your life, arguing of their importance in your life and how you need to attend to them. You actually need to say “no” to things in order to keep your Sabbath rest day consecrated and separate from your busy work week. The world will not end if you say “no” to things! Big lesson for me in 2013.

    • pam.borrow@myc3church.net says:

      Yes Leon- it is about being disciplined to keep a day separate. Funny that- in our world we think the world will end if we say no. It is a constant challenge to kill the people pleasing to please God I find.

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