We sat in a semi-circle, women in sweats with naked faces; others donning skirts and lipstick. Sunk into couches, shoulder to shoulder with books and bibles sprawled on our laps, watching Margaret talk about Chapter 004: A Sanctuary in Time on the screen. And I prayed for God’s help to contain myself.
For the past fourteen weeks, I’ve invested in the subject of Sabbath with nearly one hundred people. I asked my cohort to lead the small group discussion that morning as protection from monopolizing the conversation. I knew I would have way too much to say. And this snatch of time to settle with generations of women, it isn’t about me.
Suddenly, my friend tilted her head towards me while asking a question, eyebrows arched, gesturing for affirmation. I responded, apologizing for my hesitancy. And then explained why I was holding back. I confessed about the Sabbath Society, the way this chapter led me to initiate it. How the sisterhood is transforming us one week at a time.
When I finished leaving traces of wonder splattered on the cushions, I looked at their stunned faces, and wondered if perhaps I’d forgotten to dress for the day.
I exhaled, apologized for saying too much.
Some asked me how to find out more about the Sabbath Society holding their pens ready.
That morning, we mostly learned about the picture of rest illustrated by the brush strokes of our unique experience. The colors of keeping Sabbath as vast and shaded as the intricacies of creation.
“Can you really just let dishes build up in the sink or walk past a mess scattered on the floor without cleaning it up,” they asked.
“Yes,” I responded. “I don’t think God judges me by how clean I keep my house.” And as we talked about the realities of busy schedules, life seasons, our excuses about why we can’t rest, one strapped with all the exceptions of young motherhood shyly revealed a bold admission.
“I actually take a nap with my children every day,” she admitted smiling with a lack of guilt. Because sometimes the deposit of snuggling with your children or sitting on the couch just because they want you to, yields a greater return than the bold strikes on your to-do list.
As I shared about being wonderstruck on the pilgrimage of Sabbath, seven things rose to surface revealing a startling revelation.
1) Observing Sabbath won’t happen if I don’t plan for it. Just like lunch dates with my girlfriends, if I don’t put it on the calendar, make space for it in my routine, it will never happen.
2) Being organized throughout the week is one of the keys to experiencing the richness of rest.
3) The joy of Sabbath doesn’t necessarily come with a well-crafted routine. It comes with an attitude of freedom; an open heart to hear Him.
4) Taking the time to rest is actually like giving the tithe. I think I can’t afford it, but when I choose it in faith, God actually redeems and lengthens my time during the next week.
5) And when I choose it, that 24-hour period actually informs the rest of my days. Because I can discern His presence more clearly.
6) I really can let go of my house being perfect. God doesn’t care if I leave dishes in the sink overnight.
7) It’s actually a gift to shut down social networking for 24 hours. It lends perspective and clear- headed thinking. And those things I fear I’m missing aren’t as important as I think.
Later that day, a note from a small group member sharing gratitude showed up in my inbox. Admitting to exhaustion, she chose to walk away from an open dishwasher, take the phone off the hook and crash on the couch when her children uncharacteristically took naps at the same time. She felt remarkably better when she awakened. “I feel soooo much better,” she said, “and they are both still asleep. God is literally so good! I’m not wasting any time carving out time for rest.”
The Sabbath song sings sweet in sisterhood. Because even in times of rest, we need each other.
The Sabbath was not created as a day filled with stifling rules and guidelines, but as a gift from God to His beloved people. The Sabbath was not designed as something to be dreaded, but as a time to eagerly anticipate. ~Margaret Feinberg
Today Duane Scott and I are co-hosting a book club and discussion on Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg. Link up your posts on finding the wonder of God in the everyday (they’ll show up on both our sites) and join the discussion in the comments and on our Facebook page throughout the week, Redemptions Beauty Book Club.
BOOK CLUB SCHEDULE
April 17: Chapter 004-005
April 24: Chapter 006-007
May 1: Chapter 008-009
May 8: Chapter 010-Final Thoughts