Practicing Sabbath

My husband and I have been in this two-year class at church where we learn about different spiritual disciplines to connect with God in new ways. One of the past retreats was on silence, solitude, and Sabbath. I quickly realized that silence and solitude were some of my strong suits, but setting aside a day of the week to intentionally rest for Sabbath was something I had entirely forgotten about.

I decided to give it a try and for my first attempt I shut off my phone for 48 hours and that was a nice break from technology/people. Another time I set a day aside to do things that were restful or refreshing, ie- no work or chores, just things I enjoyed. I read a whole book that day. I took a nap. It was lovely.

Then I forgot about it for a while and we had about three weeks in a row that were pretty bananas. All good things, but wildly busy and we have been intentionally less busy for the past two years so this kind of caught both of us off guard. We decided to try a Sabbath day together this weekend, and holy smokes it’s been wonderful.

Historically, Sunday has been our day to “get things done” like laundry, cleaning, errands. But we wanted to try a “be around home day” and a “buy nothing day.” To make this work, Andy woke me up from a cat-nap on the couch Saturday night at 7 and said, “Time to go to the grocery store!” We planned a quick week of meals, checked to see what ingredients we didn’t have, made a list, and zipped down the street to Aldi.

This morning we went to early church, then back home to make brunch. Andy left on a bike ride and I did the only part of work I would allow that day, helping write my Aunt’s resume that I had promised to do. I gave myself an hour time limit, stuck to that and then took a nap. Andy returned and he took a nap while I caught up with a friend out of state. I prepped veggies for the grill and Andy made dinner. He put on classical music which makes us feel like we’re older than we are, but it’s also proved to be really relaxing.

I sliced up more veggies and washed some fruit for us to enjoy this week for lunches and I mindlessly said, “I need to sweep and mop the floor.” Andy was quick to reply, “Not today, no work today!” I smiled- I appreciated how intentional he was being about today.

There was a moment with the windows open and the music on where I said, “Oh my gosh, why haven’t we been doing this every week?” There’s a reason that God suggested that we rest once a week. It’s like taking in a slow, deep breath before the new week begins. And I realize not everyone can take a whole day, but even fanagling a few intentional hours can make an incredible difference.

I’m off to do some reading next. But I didn’t want to let the day go by without recognizing how lovely it’s been.

Sabbath. What a great idea, God.


Doing the Right Thing- Taking a Sabbatical


Photo by Andy in Badlands National Park

Andy and I have made the decision to travel for a few months. A whole bunch of prayer, conversation, and planning with calculators, library travel books, and maps have led to this choice.

We talk about this travel time in a bunch of different ways. There are a couple words we keep coming back to in an effort to describe it. We’re hitting the pause button on our day to day life, or maybe more of a “reset.” A time to try something different.

Taking a few months off is a risk, to be sure. And this trip is also full of potential to be restful, refreshing, and maybe even life changing? It’s been a tough few years in some key areas of our lives, and we’re looking at this time as a sabbatical of sorts.

The word sabbatical comes from the biblical word “sabbath” which reflects the human need to stop and rest. Shabbat in Hebrew literally means a “ceasing”. Other language describes a sabbatical as simply a break from work.

While we are on our road trip we will take time to reconnect with each other, and with family and friends we’ll visit along the way. When we’re not bumming a spot on someone’s couch or spare room, we’ll be camping and exploring National Parks. 

In some ways, this was a really easy choice to make and in some ways it was hard. But mostly it came down to the fact that we had talked about it so much- we knew if we didn’t give it a try, we’d always regret it. And we knew if we actually did it, we’d never regret it. The short question we asked ourselves was, “Why not?”

I saw a photo of a piece of paper on Instagram recently with the handwritten words, “I did the right thing for me.” The note was a reminder for when they’re making big decisions filled with risk and possibility to make decisions based out of love instead of fear. I really like that way of thinking, especially as it relates to our desire to take this sabbatical.

After all the prayer, conversation and planning, in this moment of time– this is a good thing for us.