Sabbath: The Secret to a Slowed Down Life

And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. - Jeremiah 17: 22

You know that feeling. You check the calendar and it’s already October, but you’re so sure July 4th was just last weekend. Where has all the time gone? you wonder. You’re thankful for a calendar full of plans, but come Sunday night as you pack lunch for Monday, you’re just tired. 

This has been my story all too often, and I’m not sure if it’s age, maturity, burnout, or sanctification, but I know in my heart that I haven’t been called to constantly feel sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. 

So what’s the solution? Sometimes we don’t need to just slow down. Sometimes we need to stop. Stop and rest. Specifically, the Bible calls us to a regular rhythm of stopping rest – a Sabbath. Sabbath is a God-sanctioned holy ceasing of work to rest and delight in the Lord. In a world that is constantly asking for more energy, connectivity, and productivity, it is wildly countercultural but wildly necessary to stop and reset. For Christ-followers, this should be at least weekly, and it’s a commandment. Why? Taking a day to cease from working accomplishes important things in our lives. Regularly observing a Sabbath honors God’s design for His people, acknowledges our humanity and limitations, and demonstrates our faith in God to do what we cannot. 

To be honest, sometimes I flip forward in my planner hunting for a day off, and I struggle to find a free weekend less than two months away. In an almost-post-COVID time, I’m all too tempted to keep my schedule full of fun events, often to a level of extreme exhaustion. But this doesn’t reflect the image of our Creator or His desire to be rested and refreshed in Him. Sabbath rest is and has always been a top priority of God’s, so the same should be true of the Christ-follower. In fact, the Lord wasted almost no time creating the Sabbath. 

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them.  And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.  So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. - Genesis 2:1-3.

The Same God of creation, the God who made all the heavens and the earth and the sky and the oceans and the plants and Adam and Eve in 6 days, rested. Moreover, the Lord, who needs no rest, chose to rest on the 7th day. In his hesed, his steadfast lovingkindness,  I have to believe that the Lord demonstrated this original Sabbath not for His own benefit but for ours. Through this bold decision to stop when He didn’t even need to, God demonstrated His power and sovereignty. When you’re the boss and create the heavens and earth effortlessly, you can trust that things will be handled even if you rest for a day. 

We certainly didn’t contribute to creation, but I’m often convicted of living as if I have to keep my own world spinning on its axis. I let my to-do list get the best of me, and because I despise leaving projects unfinished, I find myself chugging through seven days of work. Y’all, it doesn’t have to be this way! The beauty of God’s love as his children is that we also have access to the Sabbath rest He offers. Because our Lord is in control and never stops working for us, we can stop, and in doing so demonstrate our faith in His control.

He will not allow your foot to slip;  your Protector will not slumber. Indeed the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. - Psalm 121: 3-4 

I am no expert (or even a consistent amateur) of observing the Sabbath, but because I have grown so passionate about reaping the lifestyle that obedience to this command offers, I’ll share 3 quick tips on how to #SlayyourSabbath (no need to observe this silly hashtag though).

  1. Set yourself up for success. – It’s cliche, but it’s true; a failure to plan is a plan to fail.  Notice that just because you decide to start eating a healthier diet and moving more doesn’’t mean the office stops having birthday cake in the fridge, or that friends don’t want to go out to eat? Same with Sabbathing. Even though I resolved to rest on Sunday (which is my preferred day, but of course different days may make more sense for others), I initially battled the same competitors for my time and energy. Even if I didn’t hang out with friends, it took some time to realize that for me, grocery shopping, laundry, and meal prep were not inherently restful for me, so I couldn’t leave those until Sunday evening anymore. This means sometimes other days of the week a little busier, but it makes me all the more thankful when Sunday runs around and I can simply rest with the Lord.    
  2. Ask the Lord what your unique Sabbath looks like. – I have a bad habit of trying to identify rules and impose them on others, especially when it comes to the Sabbath. My husband has been a valuable teaching source in remembering that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made with unique gifts and personalities. So naturally, we have unique needs for our Sabbath. I couldn’t figure out why I still felt fatigued after watching 3-5 hours of television on my Sabbath. I was on the couch, after all! Then the Word of the Lord hit me: “And You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:30. Every person is different, but for me, I learned that my Sabbath has to involve me flooding my mind with the things of God. This means I avoid some shows on Sundays. I generally don’t use social media on Sundays because it generally exhausts me, but I can’t and shouldn’t place that expectation on others. As a social introvert, I prefer to spend my Sabbath at home by myself or with my family.This provides me a much-needed rest from interacting with others, something I can’t avoid in my day-to-day life as a dentist. My husband, on the other hand, works from home and prefers to spend his Sabbath resting in the great outdoors with movement or catching up with friends for intentional conversation. Two very different Sabbaths, both honoring the Lord as we rest in him the way He calls us to. It’s also important to note that our Sabbaths may look different in a month or a year, and that’s okay too! 
  3.  Share your Sabbath journey. – I used to think being a good friend meant keeping everyone around me comfortable, even if it was inauthentic. As a result, I not only missed opportunities to share the gospel, but I also subjected loved ones stark lifestyle changes with no explanation and plenty of awkwardness and misunderstanding. If I could tell my younger self something, it would be to not be afraid. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9. I’m growing to understand that being a good friend and Christ follower requires me to be both truthful and loving. My closest friends know that I believe a blameless man, Jesus Christ, came to the Earth as the son of God and died for every single one of our sins, believers or not, and that choosing to believe so gives freedom and eternal life. That is uncomfortable, but so necessary to share if I’m to be truthful and loving. With that, it becomes much easier to share a decision to sit out on an event that coincides with my Sabbath when I know my friends already understand my reasoning.  If you’re worried about what to say, ask God! He will give you the words. (And for tips on saying no for your ultimate good, check out  a relevant blog post here).
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. - Exodus 20:8 

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the first word in the command about the Sabbath is to remember it. When our lives are constantly being modified to fit more and more into our schedules, it is all too easy to forget we were designed to spend time in holy rest with the Father because it is good for us and He is good to us. I pray that as we transition from summertime to fall, you remember the Sabbath as you seek His rest through the end of this year and beyond. 

Rest well,


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30

Bonus: As we were discussing the struggle to craft a habitual Sabbath into our busy lives, a good friend (thanks, Rachel!) shared a book that helped me better understand God’s design for rest. 24/6: A Prescription for a Happier, Healthier Life by Dr. Matthew Sleeth is a quick, powerful read that reminds me that (using his words) “ Sabbath is a time to transition from human doings to human beings” (Sleeth). Do yourself a favor and check it out! It’s a dog-gone good read. 🙂

Luka knows that rest is just as important as play!

4 thoughts on “Sabbath: The Secret to a Slowed Down Life

  1. thanks for your encouragement and sharing! Sabbathing is a gift and yet so hard to do! I’m with ya!

    Miss you and hope you and Zach are doing well<3

    Liked by 1 person

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