Did you know that you can avoid the bondage of busyness by honoring the Sabbath?
God actually commanded rest in spite of the challenges we face. (Exodus 20:8-11) Read this article now to be set free!
*Note: The information below was first taught to me through a Bible study I recommend by Priscilla Shirer, Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath.
God's Intentions for the Sabbath Rest
The word for Sabbath in Hebrew is Shabbat. It means to cease, to stop, or pause, to come to an end.
God didn’t just want the Hebrews to be legally free from their Egyptian bondage; He wanted them to walk in their freedom and enjoy it. His boundaries were gifts! (They always are.) Anything God gives His children to enjoy can easily bring chaos, disaster or destruction if abused outside of God-given boundaries.
Christian author and speaker Priscilla Shirer writes of a study once conducted by a sociologist to determine the benefits or disadvantages of setting boundaries. A group of children were put in a playground with no railing or fence. Unsure how far was too far, the children stayed close. In the next test, they were put into a playground enclosed by a fence. This time, they roamed the full property on all sides, enjoying more with the boundaries in place than without them. In other words, the boundary released them to enjoy what they’d been given in its entirety.
Priscilla says the Ten Commandments were first presented to a people who had been slaves in Egypt for four centuries. The Hebrews understood no other way of life. The Sabbath would help remind them that they were free. Free to say no, free to rest, free to not be controlled by what previously mastered them. Most importantly, they were free to enjoy their relationship with God, worshiping Him uninhibited.
The miracle of the manna reiterated God's point. To feed the Hebrews while in the desert, God provided manna each morning. The people were told to collect it from the earth but to only take what they needed for the day. When they tried to collect more for safe keeping, it would rot. However, on the sixth day of the week, they were told to collect double, since they would be resting on the Sabbath. For this day only, the additional manna did not rot overnight but sustained them on the Sabbath also.
In short, God wanted His people to trust in Him, not in their own abilities to provide for themselves. In this way, they would have more rest, more faith, and accomplish more by God's supernatural grace than if they disobeyed and refused to stop striving on their own.
Believing that doing less will somehow produce more requires big faith! Yet, that is what God still asks of us today. He wants to provide. He wants to bless. But we must have the faith to give Him space, or “margin,” in our lives to do so.
How do we do it?
What Does It Mean to Rest?
Busyness is a threat to our souls. Exhaustion can become an idol. Sometimes we feel we have not done enough until we cannot do any more.
Since resting on the Sabbath is a command, we can understand that it is also a discipline. Resting does not always come naturally or easily. We must develop self-control, a fruit of the Spirit. (A fruit of the spirit is a characteristic from the Holy Spirit given to Christians as they walk by faith. Fruits of the Spirit can be purposefully developed.)
Self-control includes the ability to say no to demands that infringe on our Sabbath rest, surrendering ourselves instead to the command of our Father. Therefore, the Sabbath is about surrender to Jesus! Viewing rest as God-honoring helps it settle better in our minds, doesn’t it?
One way to ensure we are saying no when appropriate is to determine to do only the priorities God has for us in the particular season of life. We can also incorporate godly accountability into our efforts, such as from a mentor or spiritual leader. We might also create a plan or strategy that is focused on making time for intimacy with God rather than just adhering to another set of rules.
Remember, we often overload ourselves when we forget who God is. He is our provider! And He is the one in control. There is exactly enough time in each day to do what God has for us.
So if you feel God calling your heart to rest, or to do something He has for you instead of what you feel your priorities should be, obey Him. It is His invitation to true freedom.
What Happens if We Don't?
The consequences of overdoing it will seep into every part of our lives. We could neglect the people we love; miss out on what really matters; or live in bondage to constant busyness. This is not part of God’s plan for His children.
Priscilla submits that the Sabbath is a statement about God’s Sovereignty. When we learn the discipline of rest and of saying no when appropriate, it reveals that we serve only one God, not our desires.
“When we step into the margins that are meant to be set aside at God’s bidding… we pridefully usurp the authority of God. Conversely, when we honor God’s margins and the boundaries He has instituted, we endorse His authority, express our continued need for Him, invite His favor in our lives, and bring honor to His name.” - Priscilla Shrier, Breathe
The Sabbath & Our Lives
We cannot live healthy, meaningful lives when we are caught in the trap of busyness. Not resting hinders our relationship with God and prevents us from walking in the freedom and blessing He has for us.
Peace and rest to you.
Meg Grimm writes biblical studies and research articles that help set women free from impractical health and beauty standards of the world. She strives to unveil true beauty and sensible body care principles from a godly perspective.