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Why Sabbath Might Save Your Life


According to the American Psychological Association’s 2019 Stress in America Survey, more than three-quarters of adults report physical or emotional symptoms of stress, such as headache, feeling tired or changes in sleeping habits. 

 

So odds are, you’re stressed. And if you’re not, it’s likely you live with someone who is.

 

Even on days when I have breathing room on the calendar, my mind still runs rampant with thoughts of tasks I should be accomplishing, content I should be producing, activities I should be managing, and rooms I should be cleaning.

 

We’re all trying to keep up or get ahead, and we’re tired and overwhelmed.

 

So what do we do about this?

 

It’s not as simple as telling ourselves or everyone else to slow down. We can’t stop the world from moving without us. We can’t unplug some secret cord that will make the entire Internet crash.

 

But we can look to God’s Word. In fact, God knew from the beginning that we’d need respite for our weary souls. That’s why he commands us to rest.

 

In Genesis, we see God creating for six days, and then on the seventh day, he rested. Why? Because he was so worn out from making literally everything? Because he was exhausted and running on fumes? Because he spread himself too thin and had to take a break?

 

God rested because he was modeling for us the way he designed us to live. God wants us to flourish, thrive, and take delight in being his creation. And through a day of rest which looks different than the other days of the week, we reset our souls to the King and find refreshment we wouldn’t otherwise experience. God calls this time to rest Sabbath, and Scripture clearly defines it as holy and to be honored. It’s the fourth of the Ten Commandments, and it’s given to us in love—it’s God’s heart for us to rest and remember him, because that’s what brings us true life.

 

God isn’t trying to give us impossible standards when He invites us to rest. He’s not trying to make us fall behind. Instead, he’s tenderly caring for us, reminding us that he is in charge and he can be trusted. We have permission to take a day to cease production, and to have faith that he will care for us in ways we don’t usually give him the space for.

 

Making a Change

A few years ago, my husband and I decided we needed to stop acting like protecting the Sabbath was an outdated suggestion and started taking it seriously. 

 

For us as a family of four, Sabbath starts Friday evening when we trade our screens for books and music and puzzles.  We have dinner together and we decline invites to commitments or social gatherings that would interfere with rest. We wake up on Saturday morning slowly, often not getting out of our PJs until just before lunch. We go outside and play. We eat simple meals that require little prep and fewer dishes. We let go of task lists and simply delight in God and one another. We are present. We don’t do it perfectly, and we’re still growing into a rhythm that feels right to us, but we both agree that honoring the Sabbath adds so much value for us personally and as a family, and we notice a difference when we haven’t.

 

So I’m urging you, as someone who’s tempted to believe she holds the weight of the world on her shoulders, to take a break. Believe that God is bigger than you, and that he loves you enough to offer you deep rest. It may require adjustments to your mindset and schedule, and it will take time to find your rhythm, but God will use your obedience to restore you in a way nothing else can.

 

I think God knew our temptation to take life into our own hands. I think he knew we’d get bogged down easily by responsibility and production and keeping up with the pace of the world. But by modeling this healthy way of living in the way he created the world, it’s like he’s saying, “Look, my dear children. I am God and I rested. I hold the world in my hands, all power belongs to me. If I have permission to rest, you certainly do, too.”

 

Wife Step: Schedule a time to talk with your husband about honoring the Sabbath and prioritizing rest. How will this change your existing commitments? What can you let go of in order to make space for Sabbath? Understand that the process will take time, prayer, and trial and error, but the result will be health, wellness, and lasting joy.

Why Sabbath Might Save Your Life

Bailey Richardson

Bailey Richardson is the wife of a Paul Bunyan look-a-like, the mama of a growing little family, and a woman on the wild adventure of pursuing Jesus. She lives in a small lake town in Minnesota where her family is highly involved in their local church and Young Life, a global non-profit youth ministry. A self-proclaimed “recovering perfectionist,” Bailey loves writing for and connecting with women who want to more deeply experience the grace, freedom, and abundance that comes from following Jesus. You can find her at baileymrichardson.com or on Instagram @baileymrichardson.

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