40 Days of Sabbath and Prayer: First week
Happy Friday everyone! Here in Mexico, we’ve had another big week of storms. The river flooded the roads again, and we lost power for much of it. But today the sun is out! And we’re so glad the land can dry a bit. There is also no rain on the 10 day forecast! So that will be a much needed break. Because of all this rain, we haven’t been able to bring groceries to the families whose houses burned down. The roads were closed, with officers posted to ensure no one tried to drive them. So we’re going to try again this afternoon after a full day of sun. Thank you for praying with us for these families!
How has your first week of our Sabbath challenge gone? Mine was not what I had in mind, but God worked beautiful things through it. Saturday was set to be a busy day, but we got so much rain we couldn’t leave, so we called it a “rain day” (like a snow day, but all it takes here is rain to shut us down). And we watched nature documentaries, had snacks, and realized it would make a lovely Sabbath. Later when the power went out, we read until dark. It was an unexpectedly nice day of getting nothing done! Watching views of God’s breathtaking creation while the weather raged outside was meaningful. Our week continued with periods with and without power, which is always frustrating. But having that unexpected restful Saturday Sabbath was special. We couldn’t be out in nature, but we got to see the beauty of creation from home. And then having Sunday to prep for the week ahead also felt special! Mondays are big days for us, so getting the week planned out Sunday felt like a bonus. I hadn’t expected rest and delight on Saturday, so when the weather canceled our day, it was nice to focus on that instead of getting irritated by the inconvenience. Expectations set our experience so that certainly helped my mindset in getting through another hard unpredictable week.
A couple of friends bristled at the idea of choosing delight and joy on the Sabbath. I fully understand. It’s taken me too long to get comfortable with this premise. It was too good and too beautiful for me to handle when I was barely beginning to see that rest was a gift. God is always better than you can imagine. And when we experience a new level of His goodness, that too will be surpassed. And especially with the last few years of toil and headache, what our souls need is God’s rest and delight.
It’s not frivolous diversions we talk about when we speak of seeking delight. It’s looking at what God-given desires and gifts you have that would bring you delight. Many of us haven’t thought about such things since we were children. It’s a day when we remind ourselves that our worth is inherent, not earned by what we produce or consume. A day when we act out living in the Kingdom with the King. What might that look like for you? For those of you who are new to this, just stopping and catching your breath will seem monumental. But each week you have another gift! And for those of you who have done this for years, but your Sabbath has become dry and dull, ask God for ways to practice delight in His Kingdom with Him. One friend just wrote and shared that to begin her Sabbath, she lights a special candle. And to end it, she creates in a special book she is making, with calligraphy and gold gilt, of the names of God. Using your creative gifts to honor your Creator is a beautiful Sabbath practice.
I’m also beginning to understand that to receive this gift of a Sabbath day well, I must look at it as a feast day, or a holiday. I never stumble into Christmas or Thanksgiving or even a family member’s birthday without preparation. Instead, we look at how we want to celebrate, how we want to feast, and we prepare in advance for it. We plan meals and activities, we focus on how we want the day to look and feel. We look at what is important to the group, or the one we are celebrating, and we prepare accordingly. And so what would Sabbath look like if we were focusing on joy and delight and worship and feasting? And how can we prepare in advance for it?
Because of the power outages, I haven’t been able to review all your questions yet. So we’ll tackle that next week. That means you still have time to send me your questions and suggestions! You can email me or fill out our Contact form.