Surrendering to Sabbath – Week 14

by | Apr 12, 2013 | Uncategorized


My son looked over at me from the passenger seat, one knee hiked up to his chest. He’s in the habit of putting his socks and shoes on in the car on the way to school.  Even when he isn’t running late, which is practically never. Then he says, “I think I forgot to brush my teeth” and proceeds to pull a stick of gum from the community package lying on the console in the car. And two words keep crawling through my mind like the ticker on the sidebar of Facebook: Teenagers and Ewwww.

The jury is still out on how many times you have to do something before it becomes a habit. My son is proof of that. Some say 16-21 times of repetition, others say thirty days will do the trick. Maybe for others it takes a lifetime.

We’ve walked out this pilgrimage of observing Sabbath for fourteen weeks now. And I wonder, has it become a habit?

Maybe the jury is still out on that one too but I’m fessing up. Here are 10 predictable habits about my Sabbath.

A little insight? Maybe.

Helpful? Probably not.

1)      When the sun begins its descent on Saturday, I will light candles and call my family to the table to eat. We’ll devour the crockpot meal bubbling in the kitchen.Or I’ll answer the door to the man holding a cardboard box of pizza and scatter paper plates around the table.

2)      I will probably watch a cheesy movie like the Notebook or Holiday for the millionth time. Because I’m  so spiritual like that.

3)      I might be the last one to crawl into bed because I’ve fallen asleep through the movie. No one has bothered to wake me up. I’m predictable, people.

4)      I’ll rise on Saturday before everyone gets up, to read and pray and journal. I get up early because I don’t want my family to interrupt me. When they do, I’ll feel guilty about observing Sabbath. Sometimes the journaling turns into blog posts and then I’ll stop myself, because that feels more like work and I’ll move to #5.

5)      I’ll pour myself a cup of tea. There is a good chance a pile of crusty dishes laid topsy-turvy in the sink. I won’t feel guilty about it. Really, I won’t.

6)      At 9am I’ll stop #4 to crawl back in bed next to H. I know what you’re thinking. It’s a sacred time but not that. (Did you really think I might share that?) We watch the CBS Morning Show together and I’ll cry . . . at least twice. I’m a pushover for a good, redemptive story.

7)      And then I’ll go back to reading. Right now I’m re-reading Wonderstruck, The Rest of God and enjoying Love Does for the first time (in case you were wondering).

8)      At noon-ish, I’ll take a walk on the beach or in my neighborhood. I’ll invite my family to join me and they will all look at me, pause and collectively say, “No thank you.” Then I’ll take random pictures of turtles and weeds; get wonder-lost while meandering.

9)      I’ll have to restrain myself from checking Facebook and emails. And realize how addicted I am to conversation. I’m the only extrovert in my house.

10)   I’ll crawl into the car next to H just before 4pm, my kids seated in the back. We’ll drive to a borrowed chapel and worship with a community of saints. I’ll check my emails, comments and FB updates on the way home. Because the sun is about to go down, isn’t it?

I’ll stand at the sink, my hands in sudsy water and thank God for twenty four hours of bliss. And look forward to next week, so I can do it all over again.

But I won’t do any of that this week. I’m chaperoning my daughter’s first prom experience at a beach house. Sleep and rest will elude me. And God still lives in the room.

Have you acquired any habits for Sabbath?


Some inspired writing from our Wonderstruck book club this week:

If God Is So Good Then Why by Duane Scott

Living Wonderstruck When Nature Isn’t Pretty by Nancy Franson

When Jesus Wears a Blue Wal-Mart Vest by Alicia Bruxvroot

This Nest, These Birds by Kelly Chripczuk

Happy Sabbath Friends!


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  1. Ahyana

    This past February I took a social sabbatical and it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made minus going back to counseling and a few gorgeous dresses in my closet. No Facebook or Twitter, no gatherings with friends, no gchats, or emails, or texting. I suppose it’s one of the luxuries of being single. When March came around I refused to give up the peace and new sense of closeness to God that came with February. As I let me social life resume it was really hard to maintain what I’d experienced during Sabbatical. So, when I stumbled across this society you have going I felt myself encouraged to resume the break at least one day a week. And so Sundays for me I try new recipes, I read my favorite blogs, I take longer morning walks working up the nerve to jog, I letter write to friends and set them aside to mailed on Monday, I spend more time in prayer intentionally praying for things outside of myself. I stat the week charged and rested.

    • Shelly Miller

      Ahyana, a social networking sabbatical actually sounds enticing, was just talking about that with my husband. I’m so glad you’ve joined us. I pray it is a blessing to you as you intentionally seek rest. I know its been a blessing to me, and like you I think it just might be hard to ever go back to not doing it.The rewards far outweigh anything I think I have to give up.

  2. Diane Bailey

    I am a more silent participant in the Sabbath Society. I love the awareness of it all, the taking charge, getting organized, and then, letting go and free falling into His rest.

    You wrote, “it is a tithe”

    I have never thought of it that way, and that too, is joy in the rest!

    This winter, on the couch fighting the flu for control of my body, I read Wonderstruck. The Sabbath Rest, the quiet walk in the woods. That doubly blessed me as we had already begun our Sabbath Society.

    Thank you for your listening ear, and your obedience to His calling.

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad you are joining us Diane, quiet or otherwise.You’re good company.

  3. Nancy Franson

    I think this is really helpful, Shelly, this offering a glimpse into what your Sabbath practice looks like–especially the areas where you wrestle, like with wanting to checking Facebook an email. Sabbath practice has fallen into such unfamiliar territory, I think each of us need to learn from each other how to “do Sabbath.” I don’t mean we should be copycats; our practices might look very different from one another’s. But, I do think we can help each other figure out how to start. I love what you are doing here in this community.

    And thanks for the mention of my post this week. Grace and peace to you friend.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m glad you think it is helpful Nancy. I agree, I think we can learn from each other as we each seek to know what Sabbath looks like in our own unique circumstances.

  4. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    Thanks for sharing my post, Shelly, I’m honored.
    I think we’re all “so spiritual like that.” Maybe choosing those movies represents your desire for a world with happy endings and enduring love, perfect mediations for sabbath.
    And did you know that the rabbis encouraged making love on the sabbath? There’s a beautiful scene in the book, “The Gift of Ahser Lev” by Chaim Potok where a husband and wife come home after a difficult funeral and make love that I think kinda gets at the way intimacy is so much more than the carnal thing we so often see it made out to be. Though, obviously, it’s not something to blog about:).

    • Shelly Miller

      Wow Kelly, I think your comment is insightful regarding the movie choices. I think you just might be right. I hadn’t thought about it before you mentioned it.

      And yes, I know, my husband reminds me often that Jews got extra “brownie points” if they had sex on the Sabbath. *wink*

  5. Lyli Dunbar

    I love Alicia’s blog. So glad you highlighted her today in your links.

    • Shelly Miller

      Alicia knows how to weave a good story doesn’t she? Thanks for mentioning it.

  6. pastordt

    I LOVE this post, Shelly. It is real, funny and true. Thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks Diana, I’m glad you read it that way. Sometimes I wonder if people will get the humor, especially when they can’t hear the intonation of my voice.

  7. Lynn Morrissey

    Oh Shelly! I love the turtle trot! However did you find them?! Such a cute picture. Just Tur-iffic! 🙂 This post exudes with God’s giftings….such beautiful delights that He has allowed you to unwrap Sabbath by Sabbath by Sabbath–all fourteen–as you have slowed down and basked in His blessings. You are on “turtle time” now, and you have discovered that God works just as powerfully in stillness as in activity. I think I have mentioned to you, perhaps, here before that I am a bit on the other side of Sabbath. After I left an executive position, the Lord gave me turtle time instead of tumult. I left the frenzy of the sixty-hour-a-week workforce and settled in to raise my child. It was NOT easy, but He slowed me down in order to keep a slower pace with Sheridan. Children naturally take time for wonder. But now that she is twenty, I realize that I have no trouble observing Sabbath many times during the week. I have learned to bask in His presence, but in my case, I think He is prompting me to be out and about His business. I’m just asking for a discerning heart. I have big decisions on the horizon. But just know, that I love what you are doing here, because I think Americans in particular need to slow to Sabbath time, and Christians in particular need to be Sabbath-still and know that HE IS GOD! Joyous Sabbath, Shelly! What you do here is life-changing!

    • Shelly Miller

      Lynn, I walk past a pond in the middle of my neighborhood that is separated by a golf course and road. On either side, there a slews of turtles sunbathing on the pipes and floating logs during Spring. Like their crowding to catch the light after winter. They’re so cute. Glad you like the photo.

  8. Megan Willome

    Have you found that having an evening church service–at the close of your sabbath–helps you to sink into the day more? I would imagine your list would be different if you were rushing around at church all morning.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, yes and yes. You are so discerning Megan. We are loving the 4pm time for worship because it allows us to rest and linger long over prayers and scripture. I’m sure that is contributing to the beauty of my Sabbath experience. Not looking forward to going to the shift of a morning service, whenever that happens.

  9. Jean Wise

    I laughed out loud with the line about journaling turning into blog posts. yep, me too.

    I am so glad you are continuing this series. I have NOT been as faithful to Sabbath the last two Sundays and we will be traveling the next two so the schedule will be all out of sync. I have adopted some new habits and feel like I have one foot in the “I am committed to this” pool and the other still dawdling deciding what to do. Please please keep posting about this! I need to read this every week.
    Thank you!

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad you’re committing Jean, pressing through in perseverance. I think we truly have to fight for those things that transform us. Thankful you are with us, a sojourner wanting to know the true gift of rest in Him.

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