I stayed up until 4am binge-watching Downton Abby. *Warning… this post contains Season Two spoilers*
Jesse went fishing early this morning with some buddies. I was still awake, cuddled up on the couch when he got up to leave.
From the moment I came to conscious awareness of the day, my mind played with all things Downton Abby.
Mrs Hughes gave up her change at marital bliss in order to stay in her position as Head House Maid. How loyal and self-sacrificing. Mr Bates left Anna after professing his love to her. The situation made his decision a noble one, but he didn’t explain himself. Speak up Man! Explain yourself! Even while lying in bed, I could FEEL my great dislike of Mrs O’Brian and Thomas… despicable, self-serving people. I felt a growing affinity for Mary (I couldn’t stand her at first), even though Matthew is still too good for her. I found myself pondering whether Lady Grantham is supposed to come across as constantly ‘high’ on downers. The story takes place in the early 1900’s… were drugs even a thing back then? My initial morning thoughts were consumed by the show and the characters I was coming to know.
So here it is; 11am. I’m just waking up to start my day. My sabbath. My seventh day. My day of rest.
For the better part of this year, I’ve consistently made it a point to shove all of life’s activities and work and must-do’s into six days and reserve the seventh for rest and rejuvenation. It doesn’t happen perfectly, but I try.
My sabbath goal is to charge my batteries and to energize my spirit, mind and body.
I lay here and consider my day; pondering the purpose of a Biblically sound sabbath. The Pharisees in Jesus’ days made the sabbath so complicated. Is it ok for me to sweep, but vacuuming would move me out of the ‘rest’ I need? Is it ok to respond to text messages, but I better not open my emails?! I’m not interested in a legalistic approach, but I also want to honor the true reason God gave merit to the concept.
I came to realize that the whole purpose is to be saturated with God’s presence today so that It’s weaved into my thoughts and my attitude and my life. Just like my late-night Downton fest caused me to know the characters better and the details sat in my subconscious waiting to be awakened in me this morning. So do I want today’s activities to bring me closer to God, to help me get to know His character better and to ingrain Him in my every thought.
It was only in watching the show for six hours that I learned about each character so intimately, and started to grasp the story line. And in the same way, it is only by spending quality, devoted time with God do we get to know Him.
In our non-stop, prideful, do-it-yourself, self-gratifying culture, it is common to ‘believe’ in God, but not to know Him on any deep level. The depth of our relationship with God is dependent on the time we spend with Him. I’m learning, ever so slowly how to surrender parts of my life to something that I had no idea would be so beneficial and amazing.
I invite you to step out of habit, to risk your pride, and squash your fear… join me in this journey. I never in a million years thought I could reserve a whole day to rest and rejuvenation. It must be intentional. It must be a priority. Or you will fail. I could list all of the reasons I’m too busy to make this work, just like you can. It’s a personal choice. And the fruits of your life will speak to what you make a priority.
Isaiah 30:15 says ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength’. This was a message specifically for a backslidden Israel. But we can take that for ourselves too. It is in returning to God, our Creator and resting that we find salvation and peace. It is in quietness that we hear God’s voice and see the minute details of the life we’re blessed with. And it is in the confidence of the Almighty God and our guaranteed eternity that will strengthen us in the harsh world we live in.