Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
Creating Caring Communities That Transform Lives
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Monday, May 13, 2013 @ 12:00:00 PM - Written by Doug Hignell -

Fact: We can't escape the world we live in and its stress-inducing rate of change.

Fiction: Because we can't escape this world and its stress-inducing rate of change, all hope for maintaining healthy margins is lost.

In this blog post, I'd like to suggest that there are, in fact, many helpful ideas and techniques for maintaining healthy margins. The most critical one, which I will focus on today, is the importance of reestablishing a Sabbath rest in our busy lives.

I believe many of us misunderstand the concept of Sabbath. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was a specific day of the week that God instituted to train the people of Israel to withdraw and focus on Him, and to protect their bodies by not working seven days per week. Since the Israelites were often "stiff necked", God realized that He needed to set strict guidelines for what they could and could not do on the Sabbath.

Today, there's a tendency to translate the Old Testament view of the Sabbath into merely going to church on Sundays. Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong proponent of supporting the local church, but I don't believe that attending a service at one's local church alone is the Sabbath God fully intended for us, nor is it enough to keep our lives balanced. Sadly, church can become one more activity, especially when we have young kids.

In the last blog we talked about the exponentially increasing rate of change in our world. Our pace of life is pretty wild compared to New Testament days, but even 2000 years ago the pace of life required that Jesus demonstrate the need for pulling away:

"And He said to them [as for you]] come away by yourselves to a deserted place, and rest a while -- for many were (continually) coming and going, and they had not even leisure enough to eat" (Mark 6:31 Amplified).

I once had the privilege of spending some time with Eugene Peterson, a pastor and writer known for writing The Message. As a pastor, Monday was his Sabbath day. I asked him to describe how he used that day. He said that, for him, it was setting a day aside to not do any activity that he had to -- that is, activities that neededto be accomplished. He told me that he loved being out in his garden or mowing his lawn, so these were things he could do on the Sabbath because they weren't "must do"” activities.

Though mowing my lawn wouldn't be restful for me, I do require at least a half of a day each week (or even better, a full day) to withdraw from my major responsibilities and move into a restful state. During these times, I often spend a significant portion of time in worship, reading the Bible, and so on, but not to accomplish something, like preparing for a Bible study, since such an activity is not rest for me. Walking in the mountains, sitting by a stream, reading a good book, and taking naps -- these are restful for me.

I'll continue this topic in my next blog post, but let me ask you this: When was the last time you set aside a significant portion of a day to withdraw from your to do list and high pressured activities (even putting aside your trusty technological devices) and truly rested?

Comments
Good words on margins... spent a bit of time next to a stream, certainly good for my soul. Thanks for sharing these things Doug.
Andrew Burchett @ 5:49:00 PM 5/20/2013

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