Why always the same ole same?Published 9:04am Monday, April 18, 2011
Do you ever feel like you are on a treadmill and you can never get off? Today feels like yesterday (and that wasn’t a very good day) and you know that tomorrow will feel the same. Are you just sick and tired of being sick and tired?
As I walk around I see the faces of people and they look so tired and worn out; and truthfully, I believe that most of us are tired and worn out? Why do you think this is?
I believe that most of us do not practice the Sabbath. I’m not talking about only going to church on Sunday; I am talking about truly practicing a Sabbath. We work and work and work and we never get anywhere and it seems the only thing we accomplish is to become more exhausted. We attend church on Sunday, but our minds are at home or making lists of all we need to do before the day is over.
Do you remember the creation story in Genesis? “ 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3
God didn’t rest because he was worn out from creating the heavens and the earth. God rested because “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1: 3a.
Practicing the Sabbath is about ceasing. Miriam Webster (m-w.com) defines cease as “a : to come to an end <the fighting gradually ceased> b : to bring an activity or action to an end : discontinue <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discontinue> <they have been ordered to cease and desist>”. In other words, Ceasing means that we let all of our work and our labor of the week “come to an end”.
We never take a day away from our work. Because of the computer and smart phones we can keep up to date 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When we fail to cease from our work we fail to do more than just merely exist. Failing to cease interferes with our relationship with God. I love the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”.
We never rest, our minds and our bodies are always at work. Why is resting so important? I can tell you why it is important – God commanded that we keep the Sabbath day holy. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Exodus 20:8.
I am not talking about the legalistic Sabbath the Pharisees complained about the day Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, but the Sabbath where we rest from our labors and we enjoy life by taking a walk, playing with our children, being silly for no reason, taking a long nap all because God gave us permission too, in fact commanded us too.
Some people think of the Sabbath as a burden or a duty, but it is far from that. The Sabbath is a gift from God. The Sabbath is a day that gives us permission to experience God.
Marva Dawn expressed this in her book. “The Sense of the Call,” “The Sabbath reclaims us because it enfolds us in the grace of not doing work, of not needing to accomplish anything, of not having to be in control, of living by God’s values instead of society’s. The Sabbath revitalizes us because it gives us an entire day to be open and waiting for God’s new life to fill us and be developed in us. It renews us especially by giving us all kinds of rest.”
We live in a world that is not very conducive to rest. We often live under the false assumption that the more we do the more we accomplish. However, when we go and go and go – we often find that we never get anything done.
If we are going to know God – His ways, His love, His mercy, His grace – we need to rest – I believe that we will never have true physical rest if we don’t have spiritual rest.
Is your soul weary – worn out – full of heartache – doubt – fear – grief? We need to allow ourselves to spend time with God – letting God lead us to the kind of true Sabbath rest that brings about renewal and revitalization.
If we are going to be spiritually at rest we need to be at rest physically, emotionally – it is all one package. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
We try so hard to be in control of our lives, our spouse’s life, our children’s lives. We try to be god on a daily basis and we never rest in the one true God. I laugh at myself often because I think how in the world can I be in control of the world when I can’t even find my car keys.
The same ole’ same ole’ will never change if we don’t change. I remember as a young child that Sunday was a special day. There was a Blue Law then and all of the stores were closed on Sunday. Sunday was the day that we relaxed. We went to church and then we ate at my Grandparent’s house. While the adults sat around and had conversation, the cousins would play outside. Ooooh, I miss those days.
Now we use Sunday to catch up on all the laundry that we didn’t finish on Saturday, we go grocery shopping; catch up on work, etc. If we don’t have a day, Sabbath, that we devote to resting from our labors, resting in God’s presence we are going to be caught in the never ending cycle of same ole same ole.
The Sabbath – an entire day to spend with God – praising God – enjoying God’s creation – to enjoy relationships. This is when we begin to know who we are in God’s plan; the place where we find ourselves in true relationship with God.
The Sabbath day – that place that renews us and gives us a peace of knowing that we don’t have to be in control, that God is fully capable of taking care of the world. (After all, He created it.) The Sabbath is where we find the strength to live under God’s power and God’s direction in spite of what the world tells us.
If our life is never changing – the same ole’ same ole’ – maybe it is because we keep going and going and we never stop to rest. Resting in God’s presence; experiencing the peace that only God offers; that is living!
May you live in the peace that passes all understanding!