I’ve been stuck somewhere in Sabbath the last few weeks. Observing. Learning. Enjoying. I keep trying to leave, but can’t seem to get my car started. The ignition won’t turn over. So, it’s apparent there’s more to explore, and so I’ll stay a little longer. It’s rather reminiscent of the many times our car simply broke down (multiple times, I might add) on road trips to or from Phoenix in Gallup, NM. We’d have to find cheap motels and hole up (note the emphasis on cheap!), while some mechanic or another ordered parts, and repaired our car. Gotta say, the Valley of Sabbath is much more inviting than Gallup, NM (even if you love Gallup, you would have to admit this to be true!).
One thing I know when it comes to truths the Lord teaches: Lessons aren’t meant to just sit in my brain as information, they are meant to work their way to my heart, and come out as transformation. Generally, this means I must put into practice what I’m being taught. I’ve labeled this, “Doing the work.” Some people don’t like that phrase, because it has a scent of legalism to it. In answer to that, I would say this. It’s not legalism when the “work” that’s done is from a heart of love and a want to be like the one who sacrificially graced me with NEW LIFE. So, yes, grace works. I mean that on many levels.
OK, I digressed. Back to practicing Sabbath. I have. Bay’s been on the road traveling, so while he’s been gone, I organized my work schedule in order to take a “Sabbath day.” I knew if I stayed at home, everything from laundry to dust bunnies that live in the corners would be calling my name, distracting me. As a result, I picked a place I LOVE, and decided I would go there to Sabbath. It’s a special place in the heart of the Phoenix Zoo (I happened to be in Phoenix, and not Colorado during this brief time-period). My special place is a bench in an area that no one would visit, unless they wanted to do what I was doing, be alone. My plan was to read, to sit, to ponder, to walk, and to to write (in no particular order). My goal was to simply be present with Jesus (in His presence is fulness of joy).
Here’s what I noted. I do not Sabbath well. I simply struggle to rest. There is a restlessness inside me that can not be silenced. It screams. It wrestles. It struggles. It’s not unlike the lemurs that are on a nearby island. They don’t seem to rest either; and, have you ever heard a lemur scream? Enough said. I have a lemur-mind, that makes it DIFFICULT (not impossible) to Sabbath. So, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and about then, I heard the Lord whisper five words. Well, they just popped into my mind, and they sounded so much like the Lord, that I took it as His voice. “You are a rushed-spirit!” There it is. Guilty, Lord!
Over the years, I’ve mastered multi-tasking; making every minute count; producing much even out of little. My calendar has been full. I’ve counted my value based on the events on a calendar (I got that from my mom who felt it necessary to fill every day of the week with words, even though she may have nothing of significance to attend). MY BEHAVIORS turned me into a rushed-spirit. So rushed that life just whizzed by, and I missed a lot of Selah-Moments that should have been meaningful.
So, back to Gallup, NM (I know you wondered if I had a point with that!). Seriously, we broke down so many times in Gallup, we stopped going that direction. Instead, we decided to go a different route (we also have newer cars, which might help). Here's the point. Follow a different road. There in the middle of Sabbath, I realized one of the reasons I’ve been stuck; it’s time to heed the warning signs of the rushed-spirit, and go a different direction. This may sound I bit mystical, but after confessing that to the Lord, I took another deep breath, turned my hands over on my knees (palms up) and told the Lord I was symbolically giving Him that rushed-ness, and now was open to receive whatever He had for me.
Palms up: a sign of vulnerability and surrender.
Palms up: I’m “letting go” to “take in”.
Palms up: I’m no longer in control, not even of my rest.
Palms up: I trust you.
Palms up: My invitation to be still and to know…You.
The biggest hurdle to Sabbath-rest and the Joy of Jesus is a rushed-spirit!
I’m to remember this: Structured pauses are essential to prevent being overcome and overwhelmed by the true rest of God that can be experienced DAILY.
A P.S. As our son, Adam, then a lieutenant in the US Army, was entering Baghdad, Iraq for the first time in 2004 (on his birthday, no less), he noticed some graffiti written on a wall. It read, "I (heart) Gallup, New Mexico"! Having been with us during those multiple break-down seasons of life, and having broken down there himself on drives home from college, Adam’s first thought was this, “I must be in hell…” For us, Gallup was not a fun place. Just so, Iraq was not either. However, for the record, sometimes those not-so-fun places are a gift. They offer us a chance to slow down and remember what’s important. When we remember, we begin to Sabbath. That’s a another good lesson.