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Slow Down
STORIES ABOUT SABBATH, REST, AND REORIENTING OUR LIVES AROUND GRACE
STORIES ABOUT SABBATH, REST, AND REORIENTING OUR LIVES AROUND GRACE
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

I’VE ALWAYS PRIDED MYSELF on how much work and stress I could handle. For a good portion of my life, I brought this mentality into church.

What Dreams May Come
Pornography and its Effect on the Mission Field

I HAD A CRAZY, vivid dream during my first year on the mission field in Southeast Asia. In it, I was surrounded by attractive women lavishing me with attention. It was a feast of carnal entertainment, and I felt helpless to resist. The fantasy came to a climax when one woman got uncomfortably close, at which point her entire face transformed into a hideous snakelike demon.

Creating Sabbath Together
Finding a Rhythm of Rest in Marriage

I SCRUTINIZED THE FAMILIAR SCENE before me in the living room and felt a flash of annoyance. It was a November post-church Sunday afternoon, which only meant one thing: football.

A New Way to Relate to Rest

IN 2012, I WAS DIAGNOSED with lupus. The disease left me wheelchair bound for half a year. Before my flare-up, I was working and going to school full time, which didn’t leave me with very much time to spend with God.

Burning Out and Fading Away

MY HUSBAND DAVID AND I have a heart for missions. We dedicated our lives to the unreached during a “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” class in college. As we prepared for the mission field, God made it clear that we were called not to use our jobs as a cover to share the gospel overseas.

Slow and Steady
Keeping the Big Picture in Perspective While Balancing Ministry Work

GROWING UP, I WITNESSED the hard work ethic of my dad, a chemical engineer who became an entrepreneur. He worked six, sometimes seven, days a week. I remember pleading with him to hang out with me on his days off. As you might guess, it didn’t happen very often. He was usually too tired to do anything.

He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures

IN 2012, I WAS DIAGNOSED with lupus. The disease left me wheelchair bound for half a year. Before my flare-up, I was working and going to school full time, which didn’t leave me with very much time to spend with God.

I’VE ALWAYS PRIDED MYSELF on how much work and stress I could handle.

For a good portion of my life, I brought this mentality into church. As a junior high advisor, I led Friday night fellowship, hung out with kids on Saturdays, trained the youth worship team, taught Sunday School, and hosted our youth Sunday service. I also somehow juggled a full-time college load, a part-time internship in public relations, and work for INHERITANCE.

There were definitely those around me who were concerned — but their worries were drowned out by the louder, more enthusiastic praises of those clearly impressed by my abilities. I had energy, charisma, and drive. I was also smart enough to say the right things, to point to God like a rapper on the stage of the MTV Awards, rather than revealing that I enjoyed feeding my ego.

But as these things tend to go, everything eventually began to unravel. I soon found myself sitting in my pastor’s office, hearing the suggestion that I should take a sabbatical.

I didn’t understand. Sabbath was for those who were burned out, for those who were weaker and needed to take a break. I, on the other hand, had always been able to power through, had always been able to summon that last bit of willpower to make it to the top. But I begrudgingly accepted.

Sabbath was for those who were burned out, for those who were weaker and needed to take a break.

That forced sabbatical changed my life, and its impact was immediate. It was the first time I remembered eating a good breakfast on a Sunday morning. I didn’t feel like I was in a mad rush to get out the door. I even found time to read some magazines I had saved but never felt like I had enough time to open.

That first Sunday was like a fresh breath of clean, cold mountain air, cutting straight to my lungs and waking up something in my soul. As it blew, it revealed to me things I had never taken the time to notice.

I realized that in my busyness, my life had been suffering because of work. My personal, romantic, and communal lives were all in shambles — and probably my ministry too. I had no community and wasn’t being fed, but I was so driven by the idea of making a difference in the world. I justified my personal sacrifices by seeing myself as a martyr sacrificing my body and health for the kingdom.

It felt unnatural to stop working. It was a waste of time! I could have been helping someone or doing something. I could have been proving that I was a person worthy of God’s love.

Sabbath, as it turns out, is a waste of time. It is about not working. It is trusting that somehow, some way, God will take care of it. That even when we’re not getting anything done, we can still experience God’s grace in our lives. In a society and culture, where work defines so much of who we are, Sabbath is an entire reorientation of how we understand our lives in relation to God. It is a grace-filled way of living life.

Sabbath, as it turns out, is a waste of time.

May you experience more of God’s grace in your life, and may you find the grace to slow down, even when it seems impossible to do so.

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