“Ah, you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? Isaiah 29:15-16 ESV
I was well into my thirties when I realized that God’s ways were not only different from mine but seemed completely backwards. In those days I had begun ingesting daily scripture and was learning first-hand about how sacrificial love works. Verses on loving my enemies, loaning without expecting return, and turning a second cheek worked on my angry and scarred heart. This Father was teaching a completely surreal self-defense!
As the decades have rolled over, so this reversed concept of Godly lifestyle has tumbled me. Initially, in my self-centeredness, I thought God backward. But now I recognize that I’ve been the one who is switched around, believing and practicing opposite to the Upright One.
REORIENTING VIA SABBATH
And now insert the Sabbath. The day of no work. If there is too much to do, how does a break help? That just doesn’t make sense.
The Prophet Isaiah informs us, in the above scripture, that it is people who have things wrong and God who created us to work in His ways. When we believe our needs are higher than the Creator’s ways or that He doesn’t understand us, truly something is not right.
As a parent, I am frustrated when my child says, “You just don’t get it, Mom.”
Oh, I get it.
This verse is God’s I know better than you think response.
This pertains to Sabbath because God made us to work more efficiently with the practice of this Holy day. The Creation story has the Father making a universe (with all its orbits and scientific laws), man (with all his needs and interdependence), and a special day that reorients us to God as center of it all.
Day seven is meant to bring us full circle, face to face with Him.
And we need that more than we need anything else.
More than money.
More than reputation.
When we do not put the Lord at the center of everything, we have things inside out. Our lives turn inside out. We become dis-attached and spin like a planet out of orbit. We are out of order. God set the world in motion and set man rotating in a really good sequence. He ordered it so. And when our hearts say I don’t have time for this, we are the ones who have it wrong.
Sabbath is an opportunity to hit reset. To stop the current projection. And to realign with the One who is always pointing out the way, the truth and the life.
LESSONS IN OBSERVING SABBATH
Practicing a seven-day rhythm of rest and realignment is changing my life in a few ways:
STOP: Work can remain unfinished. Dirty dishes are very patient, not at all requiring my attention. Neither does laundry, checkbook reconciliation, and weed pulling. And I am not a mess just because things are untidy.
REST: The pace of my mind will slow to that of my practice. The hurry of life can and will be reset both physically and mentally when I have an intentional day of restful and worshipful activities. Initially there might me a lag between body and mind, but eventually the worrisome and anxious thoughts that keep me wound up relax. I can be fully present and enjoy leisure activities.
REALIGN: I turn off the electronics. And without media’s voice repetitiously telling me what I need to be happy, what I need to be pretty, what I need to be acceptable…I am free to enjoy what I have, how I am made, and who loves me as I am. This is big for me. I had no idea how much tv (especially advertising) formed my thinking about what life should look like. I have become acutely aware that “normal” was created not by the neighborhood I grew up in but the fictious families on tv, and now on multiple forms of electronic media. What if I had watched my mother more and Martha Stewart less?
REJOICE: When I turn down the volume on the discontent of the world, I become jubilant in the sufficiency of my life. Excess is unnecessary when I understand that enough is plenty. Yet God blesses with fruitfulness and multiplicity, therefore abundance is everywhere. One rose bush produces not one flower, but bountiful bouquets when treated with tender loving care.
APPRECIATING THE OUTCOMES
I don’t pretend to think that I am an expert on the topic of Sabbath. And never do I want to put more value on the practice than on the purpose. However, I am finding myself more and more “Untethered” to the lies and expectations of this world as I follow the guidelines God laid out at the foundations. In more ways than one, I feel my life turning right side up as I continue to remember each week what this Holy day is for – my relationship to and with God.