How I Benefited from a Sabbath Day

One of the goals that I set for myself on January 1, 2015 was to submit the manuscript of my book, Emotional Freedom: The Choices We Must Make, to my publisher by January 31. I missed that deadline, changed it to February 28, then to March 31, then to June 30, and then stopped setting deadlines. I felt frustrated and discouraged but I did not give up. Having the final draft of my manuscript very close to completion last Saturday night, I planned to work on it all day Sunday and send it in early Monday morning. On Sunday morning, something happened that caused me to change my mind and set aside my plan.

As I was waking up, I heard in my mind the words and music to the song “Oh Day of Rest and Gladness.” Laying there in the quietness, I recalled a memory in which I was sitting with my parents in a little country church and listening to everyone sing this hymn. I went to my computer, looked up the lyrics (You can find them here. ) and printed them.  As I read the words, I felt a longing for the peace and rest that they describe. I realized for the first time what a great gift the Sabbath is!

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While growing up, I did not consider it a gift; I thought that was a bother.  I felt not joy and gladness but frustration and sadness. My parents appreciated it. They worked hard every other day of the week, so on Sunday (the day that they practiced the Sabbath) they felt thankful for an opportunity to rest their bodies and souls. In the morning, they went to church; there, they met with the Lord and with friends whom they often invited home for Sunday dinner. In the afternoons, they usually took naps. Although I enjoyed the “having friends over for dinner”part of the day, I did not appreciate the “resting” part. Taking a nap was the last thing I wanted to do. I did not want to bother with napping because I did not think I needed to rest, and I vowed in my heart that I would not rest.

As I got older that vow, along with other unwise childish vows, was forgotten. Well, I thought it was but God brought it back to my memory.  While I was meditating on the lyrics of the hymn, what I had vowed over fifty years ago surfaced to my conscious mind, and I saw that it has been blocking my ability to rest. My whole perspective of the Sabbath changed because, through understanding the lyrics of the song, I saw that its intended purpose is to make my life easier instead of harder. Although Sabbath keeping can become legalistic, God did not intend for it to be so. Jesus revealed the intent of the Sabbath when said, “the Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 NLT).

So instead of working on my manuscript, I A Breakfast Fit for a Hobbitprepared a special breakfast: a generous serving of the smoked salmon that I’d received as a birthday gift, cucumbers fresh from my garden, organic red grapes, and a large pot of green tea. I placed this food on my favorite china.

After that, I walked, prayed, sang, wrote in my journal, and edited some of my photos. By the end of my Sabbath day, I felt more rested than I’d felt for months.

On Monday, feeling energetic and relaxed, I completed the final draft of my book and submitted it to my publisher.

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4 thoughts on “How I Benefited from a Sabbath Day

  1. I love this post. I too have changed how I Rest on Sunday’s. Some times it is still a struggle, but when I do rest (in Him) my week goes better and sweeter thanks for the reminder!

    • Thanks for your comment, Jane. May the Lord bless you with his sweet presence and refresh your body, soul, and spirit, today.

  2. I am so glad I found this today via Facebook… lovely post…. and it spoke to my heart in many ways…. I have in my life struggled somewhat with my legalistic confusion of the Sabbath…you many remember our daughter, Amanda, played violin, and her violin group classes for the Youth symphony took place on Sunday…. I struggled with allowing her to go… I felt I was condemned actually by a very legalistic friend who refused for her children to participate and I was felt terrible allowing Amanda to do this even though she was mightily blessed in the practice. And met her future husband in taking part in it. My failed friendship with the other longtime friend sadly ended in part to this, however. But, I finally was able to come to grips with my confusion by speaking to Don Sipher and Mike Johnson there at the church who explained the sabbath to me using the scripture you reference…. I ,like you, have never been a napper… and I still dont really want to… but having that one day a week to do what blesses the heart for me ( worship, blogging, reading, etc) is what rest is all about…. especially in these turbulent days… love the post and I did add you to my blog roll. God bless!

    • Carolyn, What a joy to hear from you! Thank you for your comment. It sounds as if we have had similar struggles with legalism. I’m so glad that you are learning more of grace.

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