I’m not your typical Sabbathkeeper. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the concept. Raised a Seventh-day Adventist, I walked away from the church and its Sabbathkeeping rituals in my early 20s. That was during a time of life when I was going through a “Rumspringa”—as Amish kids do.
Why did I leave Sabbath and my church behind? Partly rebellion. Partly because of legalism. Partly because I was weary of trying (and failing) to be “good.”
Several years later I was planted in church once again—but this time on Sunday mornings with my own family. Sabbathkeeping was no longer on my radar.
But that changed.
I won’t relate the entire process of change, but I will emphasize two things: (1) I was probably the most reluctant Sabbathkeeper in the world when I started, and (2) I have grown so much in my Christian walk since making the commitment to keep the Sabbath that it still blows me away.
Here are just a few of the ways:
I’m calmer and less frantic—not just from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night, but throughout the entire week.
My faith is stronger than it has been since a particular period in my childhood, when it was at its very strongest.
Strongholds are falling away. Things in my life that I’ve struggled with for decades—some since as long as I can remember—are becoming areas of growth for me.
My family is happier. Although not everyone in my immediate family observes Sabbath, it still ends up being a day in which we spend more quality time together: quality time equals less time “doing your own thing” media-wise, and more time making eye contact and talking with each other.
Sabbath reminds me what life is really all about. I have been a Christian for most of my life, but I have often felt as if I were just going through the motions, trying to “do good” on my own steam. God uses Sabbath rest to center and ground me, to help me refocus and become renewed.
I’m still a very imperfect Christian, and I have an incredibly long and challenging walk ahead of me to grow my faith and make it stronger. But I no longer feel as if I’m holding on to life by my fingertips. The day-to-day schedule is no longer as frantic and overwhelming, because I know that even though this morning or evening or week is crazy-busy, I am going to be resting soon. It reminds me, too, that God has it all under control even when I don’t. I find great comfort in that.
As a writer I’ve discovered that a weekly rest is just what I need to rejuvenate my work; and I expect that other creatives would find the same to be true for them. Even for those who are not believers, the Sabbath can help them to find fresh starts and new beginnings as well. Sabbathkeeping can inject a new vision or perspective into a project we’ve been struggling with, or perhaps just give our souls a time to rest, to be quiet, and to enjoy ourselves without having to be “on task” or producing anything.
If you have not been keeping the Sabbath as fully as you should, ask yourself, Am I willing to try a Sabbath rest experiment? If so, start with whatever you can handle, or challenge yourself to spend time resting with the Lord for a full 24-hour period. Then consider: How did it feel? What did you observe? Did taking this break recharge you?
This experiment will likely change your life and strengthen your relationship with the Savior—just as it did mine.
Joy Choquette is a freelance writer living in Vermont. She blogs about creativity, the Holy Spirit, and finding the small blessings in life at www.joychoquette.com.