I was standing in a sanctuary in the woods as worship began.
I was attending a Christian writing conference where they told me how to get published and get an agent and publisher and the whole nine yards. It was growing dark outside as I sidled into a pew with another lady beside me.
I was tired. I didn’t want to be singing.
I stood and I sang anyway, quietly praying that nothing would happen. I prayed that God would help me rest. I asked him to hide me in the cleft of the rock like Moses. I was weary of the hecticness of life, of the constant noise and the bright lights and the thrills. It was like I was at a carnival and had some deep-fried-something-or-other and was riding the Tilt-A-Whirl, waiting to get sick.
I glanced to my left, where my pew-mate stood, and noticed how serene she looked. The music seemed to wash over her and through her; it was like the Lord was tucking her into bed or something, gently singing a lullaby as she closed her eyes and steadied her breathing.
The sun began to sink a bit faster.
The sun is sinking as I write this.
The chair my feet are resting on has a slight wobble to it. Certain letters I type—like L, O, P, and the others on the left side of my keyboard—make the chair almost lose balance again. It begins to tip over onto its back leg like a barrel over a waterfall.
As I write this I am hurrying. Racing the sun as it sets, my fingers lightly tap over the keys, all the keys, composing something—anything—before the dusk. This week I wasn’t as productive as I needed to be. I haven’t written an article I’m supposed to write for an online magazine. I barely finished a paper I presented today. Work has been slow, and I haven’t had as many deep conversations as I usually do. As I usually do or as I should, I’m not sure which.
I just need to be productive. So I write.
I planned on writing really poetically about sunsets and rest, but that’s not actually why I’m writing. I’m writing because I need to be productive. I’m writing because people have mentioned they haven’t seen anything on my website recently.
The sun is beginning to sink a bit faster.
I just want to learn how to rest. I sat in silence as the speaker took the stage, my mind still racing. God, why can’t I find rest? Why haven’t you taught me to rest yet? I’m twenty-three, shouldn’t I feel at peace? Is this the pattern my life will follow? Will I ever feel true rest?
When it was over, the lady next to me, who I found out is named Robby, struck up a conversation.
She asked me my name and I said Drew and then she asked me what I liked to write and I told her I liked writing about authentic Christianity, about life in a way that didn’t trivialize anything. I liked simplicity. She smiled and nodded her head, actively listening to me and oozing a peace that I was growing quite fond of. I asked her what she wrote.
“Oh, I write about God. I should write on my blog more often, but I don’t do it enough. I especially like writing about the Sabbath though.”
People were filing out of the sanctuary, but I stopped noticing. We continued to talk, but suddenly I felt like I was carrying on two conversations at once. One with her and one with God.
I explained to her how I had always meant to keep the Sabbath but hadn't. I just had writing and homework and others things to do. Life was too busy.
God told me in that moment that he wanted to answer my prayer. He told me that he already had.
Robby told me she takes her Sabbath the old fashioned way, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. She encouraged me to do the same.
God told me he invented a day to teach his people how to rest. He said if I want to rest in the cleft of the rock, I should start by letting him teach me how.
The sun had fully set by this point. It was Friday.
It’s now been six weeks and five Sabbaths since that conversation occurred. I am hurriedly typing these words onto my computer before I can’t anymore, before I have to rest.
Sometimes it feels like a plague. No working for 24 hours, my mind yells at me. I am trying to remind my mind that the Sabbath was made for me, not the other way around. But I enjoy being efficient.
I enjoy the way people look surprised at how much I can fit into my day. I enjoy the knowledge that I finished a checklist. Like a spiritual grocery store, I want to show my list to God and tell him how good I did at successfully getting all the items. Discipleship and vegetables-check. Mentoring and fruit-check. Deep conversations and protein-check. I even avoided the temptations-and-high-calorie-processed-food aisle. Check. Check. Check.
See, God? Look at my list?
But I only end up tired, no matter how many vegetables I eat.
Robby said she worried about the same things. She worried she wouldn't be able to keep up if one/seventh of her week suddenly vanished. She told God that. God told her to practice the Sabbath anyway, just as he told me.
As I sit and write, I am realizing this post will end almost at the same time the sun splashes down and visits the other side of the world. I think that's fitting.
My computer battery is almost dead, too. I think that's fitting as well.
I feel ill-prepared, but I trust my Teacher.
Now it's YOUR turn! Anyone want to join me in being a Sabbath Keeper? Email me (drew@drewbrownwrites), I think it'd be cool to get a group that can support and encourage one another!
Also, my fellow Sabbath Keeper and inspiration for this piece, Robby, writes a lot about Sabbath over on her blog! Check it out here!
Have any practical tips on how to rest? Comment below!