May 16, 2013
Space to Exhale
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord." Isaiah 58:13-14a (NIV)
That sounds so good, but it's really difficult for a girl like me. Even when my physical body is at rest, my mind rarely is.
I feel like I'm always juggling balls in my brain. Kids' needs. Home demands. Work projects. The to-do lists never stop.
Yet the Bible makes it very clear that we are to honor the Sabbath day and pursue rest. Literally we are to hit the pause button on life once a week and guard our need to rest. Guard it fiercely. Guard it intentionally. Guard it even if our schedules beg us to do otherwise.
There are honest, personal reasons we need to observe the Sabbath that will be unique for each person. There are private conversations we need to have with God. We all need to pause, to sit with God, and ask Him to reveal some things to us.
And when I consider our key verse Isaiah 58:13-14a, something occurs to me—it's not just a day for me to give to God. It's a day God established for me. He wants to give me something if only I'll slow down enough to receive it.
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD."
The Sabbath isn't merely a time to be observed; it's a time to be preserved. It's a time to rediscover our joy in the Lord.
I need this. I want to be a preserver of this day—one who is determined to protect this day of personal preservation and rediscover the delight of God.
The observer remembers to rest.
The preserver rests to remember—to remember that it's all about God.
The observer remembers to rest and pause on the Sabbath day in order to follow a rule.
The preserver does more than follow a rule. She follows God's desire and embraces His purpose in the rest. She spends one day a week letting the fresh wind of God's rest blow through her, cleaning out all she's been taking in during the week with a purifying soul exhale.
It's all about pausing and connecting with God without the distracting chaos of our everyday routines. For one day a week, we step out of the fray and let God direct our day according to His rhythm, not ours.
God's rhythm preserves a space in us to hear His voice, reveals the places we're off track, and prevents us from being filled with unnecessary clutter. Quiet rest allows us to see the places where we're going our own way, the areas where we're more self-pleasing than God-pleasing, the idle words that need to be reined in. During the down time, we can deal with the mental clutter and focus on the ways of God.
The Sabbath makes this possible.
Taking one day for rest gives my soul the freedom it so desperately needs. Freedom to breathe. Space to breathe. Inhaling and exhaling in a gentle rhythm set by God.
Dear Lord, space to breathe, this is what I need today. Thank You for showing me how important it is to create a place for freedom and rest. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For more encouragement and practical advice on creating a place to exhale in the midst of raw emotions check out Lysa TerKeurst's book Unglued.
The accompanying Unglued Bible study will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. To order your copy, click here.
Reflect and Respond:
Take a moment to think about your own practices for rest and reflection on the Sabbath.
What can you do to hit "pause" and spend some time with the Lord this week? It could be taking a break from your to-do list, committing to spend some time journaling, etc.
Hebrews 4:9-10, "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his." (NIV)
Psalm 62:1, "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him." (NIV)
© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 16 May 2013.