Why Sabbath Doesn’t Have to Stay in Your Suitcase {An Invitation}

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It happens every year on that dreaded last day of our cottage vacation. I become a lovesick woman.

Sweeping cobwebs from beneath concrete steps and scrubbing toilets, my mind is elsewhere, captivated by remembrance. Of pushing my body into the still lake that woos me outside the open bedroom window. It’s as if nothing else matters but one last embrace with those soft, luxurious waters.

But the clock mocks intimacy, ticking it off as infatuation.

Sabbath isn’t a serious relationship, just a two week fling with indulgence. You are foolish to think you can experience this restful restoration as a continual reality. Love is fickle after the folly of summer vacation.

After the dust clothes are folded back in the drawer, sheets unpinned from the clothesline, I dump soft blueberries in the trash bin and squeeze into my sour swimsuit. For one last dip of wet kisses cascading down my neck, weightless from the absence of burdens.

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While floating on my back, gazing into gauzy clouds tearing into frameless faces, I whisper a promise to the Creator.

I will unpack Sabbath from my suitcase and return to you like this weekly. I can no longer live without your nearness. I don’t want to.

As I listen, His response rocks still waters, creating ripples that affect others in my circles of influence.

Tell them that Sabbath isn’t only for times away with a suitcase but a weekly unpacking. Of conversation and remembering that I love them. I care more about who they are than what they do. Invite them to join you. When life gets hectic, a weekly Sabbath rhythm will be easier in the embrace of community. Name them the Sabbath Society.

I have kept that promise every week since.

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Today, almost four hundred people that make up the Sabbath Society choose rest as a lifestyle instead of a suggestion. We’re quietly forming a Rest Revolution, a behind the scenes transcendent ticking of time that carries ripples of transformation.

Maybe you’re in a season of parenting young children; the desire for whitespace in the forefront but the reality elusive in your schedule. Perhaps you’re a leader, responsible for people and programs that depend on your presence and influence. Or could it be that your previous Sabbath experiences shadow the possibility of vibrancy in the present?

Even in lonely quietness, an internal discordance can make for a place of continual unrest. That fourth commandment seems more like a hurdle to climb over than a loving invitation to peace. Yes?

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As we celebrate the value of our work on Labor Day, I’m extending an invitation. Will you join the Rest Revolution, break assumptions about Sabbath and start with a clean slate? Could it be that He tells us to remember the Sabbath and keep the day holy because He knows we will forget?

This month I’m focusing on the why, what and how about rest with members of the Sabbath Society leading the conversation. On Wednesday, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of 24/6: A Prescription for a  Healthier, Happier Life, will kick us off, sharing wisdom about Sabbath from his perspective as a busy physician.  Psst, stay tuned for a special announcement.

And for further insight, join Redemptions Beauty Book Club each Wednesday in September, where we will discuss each of the four parts in 24/6. This is a closed Facebook page for privacy; just ask to be added to the group if you want to join the conversation.

Do you believe that Sabbath is only possible on vacation? Or have you experienced the weekly unpacking from your suitcase?

 

15 Things I Learned {About Transition} in August

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This month I have discovered that transition isn’t for the faint of heart, sacrifice is a hollowing process and testing precedes the fulfillment of God’s promises. I have learned that I don’t give up easily and I will fight to the finish in the face of failure, as long as I know God is with me. As we scour through our possessions in preparation for our move to England, this is what I’ve learned in the process:

1)      You really don’t need as many clothes as you think you do. You’ll discover that reality when you must reduce the volume from a walk-in closet to a small armoire in London.

2)      The same truth applies to jewelry, shoes, hats, accessories, dishes, towels and table cloths. Ask me how I know that.

3)      On my birthday, seated around the table at our favorite Mexican restaurant, my kids gave me the very best unintended gift. They Googled the Myers Brigg personality test and took it. Afterward, we all understood each other so much better.

4)      I have thinkers in my house (two INTJ’s and one ENTP). This little tidbit offers vindication for my ENFP personality. I no longer feel wrong about expressing emotions or forgetting what I was saying during dinner conversation with my three rational thinkers. They’ll get over it.

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5)      You cannot make a major life transition without intercessors who speak into your desperation. They will be the lifeline for your hopelessness during the uncomfortable waiting season.

6)      Blogging isn’t about statistics or platform building. This is a mirage, a distraction from the relationships God is arranging. Some of the very people who pray for me daily and believe in me with abandon are those I never even knew existed before I started blogging.

7)      Intimate friendships are possible with people you’ve never met in person.

8)      Remember those early years, when you were poor and hungry, collecting recipes for ground turkey and hamburger? Hold onto those treasures. You may revisit those a few decades later except now your children will eat them with you.

9)       Apparently Hello Kitty isn’t a cat. Whatever.

10)   There are places that willingly take all my unwanted stuff and repurpose it for someone who needs it. Thank you Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the Fire Department and my church.

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11)   There are places that willingly take all my unwanted possessions, sell them and then give me half of the profit. Thank you Once Upon a Child and all the local consignment stores that send us little checks every month. We are grateful we don’t have to host yard sales.

12)   We have too much stuff. Refer to #9 and #10.

13)   Sending your first-born to college while at the same time planning a move across the Atlantic may seem crazy and unconventional until you actually step into the adventure and watch God orchestrate the details.

14)   The rhythm of Sabbath will save you during hard seasons. Rest is tangible in the embrace of community.

15)   Waiting is hard but worth it.

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What did you learn this month?

What Anxiety Is Telling You

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Unloading the dishwasher, I stack the same three bowls we’ve used for a couple weeks back into the empty kitchen cabinet. This morning, the heaviness in my chest keeps productivity moving at a turtle’s pace.

I walk plates to the island carrying an invisible hard shell of worries with each step. No matter how deeply I sigh, the uncertainty in my circumstance clenches the exhale with a steadfast grip. As soon as I allow myself to dream about the future, joy is shrouded by the what-ifs.

Our well laid plans to move to London are delayed by God’s timing.  Instead of navigating a new culture, I am still packing boxes and unloading my kid’s cereal bowls from the dishwasher.  A For Sale sign remains front and center, planted among tufts of green grass in the garden.

In the book of Philippians Paul says; do not be anxious about anything.  In my current situation this translates, “Do not breathe or the worst will happen.” That feels impossible.

I used to read this verse as a suggestion . . . but now I know better. Join me for the rest of the story at Velvet Ashes, a website dedicated to women living overseas. I’m finding kindred souls and a warm place to exhale in this community. Join me?