how to keep perspective on the ordinary days

by | Jan 7, 2014 | Sabbath


I can’t bring myself to discard the shiny souvenir that represents the joy of resting on our laurels since Christmas. And neither can the other four people in my house.

For more than a week, a tiny pile of glitter lies in a heap on the smudged glass of the coffee table, among sweating glasses on coasters, book tents, reading glasses, and socked feet. The most miniscule pieces of silver garland poke out from the top. It reminds me of a sprite’s shovel left on a pile of fairy dust, at least that’s how it’s playing out in my imagination.

For the past two weeks, every ounce of energy and every task list centered around thinking of others. There is something about the corporate act of giving yourself away that brings the deepest kind of life fulfillment.

A return to self-awareness leaves you sighing in your new pajamas, and dreading the alarm clock.

In the first days of the year I’m asking myself how I can make every day count, the way my days brim with meaning over Christmas and the New Year. Because resolutions and goals, they are rooted in self-focus. And while well-intentioned, the more I look inward, instead of out, the more blurry my focus.

I asked a similar question last year on a routine morning walk and received an answer I didn’t expect.


I started the Sabbath Society and asked people to join me. Perhaps it says something about the depth of my faith because I only expected a handful to say yes, not almost 200.

But more than expectations, I was misguided in my thinking. I assumed an intentional choice to give up twenty-four hours in order to choose rest every week wasn’t going to be desirable to a culture awarded for doing. Not something people will line up for like they will for Starbucks.

Choosing a discipline means sacrifice comes with it. Like diet and exercise, disciplines are easier to accomplish in the embrace of community. Don’t cha think?


As my son pulls his arms through the sleeves of his new coat and fastens the toggles, glitter sparkles on the hem of navy.  No matter how hard he tries to wipe the flecks off, they stick. And God answers my curious question about keeping perspective.

Christ’s presence is personal and sometimes subtle, like granules of glitter sticking to the surface of your life. You may not be aware of it in the midst of the scurry but it will be with you in the car, on the bus, along the train tracks, at the checkout counter, in the seat at your desk.  People will notice the twinkle.  They might be curious and ask you about it.

And on that seventh day, you’ll see the glimmer on your kitchen counter, in the carpet, and on the leg of your yoga pants because your mind is resting and expectant.

How do you keep joy flaming during the ordinary days on the calendar? Like a playful sprite being called to dinner by an aunt on the front stoop. Leave your shovel on a heap of glitter for the call of Sabbath and you’ll remember what really matters the other six days of the week.

Want to make Sabbath a weekly rhythm and not just something to fit into the cracks between busyness? Join the Sabbath Society, it all started here. This year, find the community on our Pinterest board and on Instagramand Twitter with the hashtag #sabbathsociety.


With Laura, Denise, and Holley.

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  1. Andrea Mitchell

    This is beautiful. I need to be more disciplined, better disciplined at Sabbath taking.

    • Shelly Miller

      What you expressed is common Andrea, its why we do it in community. It makes it easier when you are accountable. Thanks for stopping by, lovely to meet you through the link up community.

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, I love how you always listen to God and answer His call…….and last year it was to take a Sabbath rest and to invite the rest of us along with you. I think what I have noticed about Sabbath, is not just the opportunity to rest from the ordinary routine, but to rest in the arms of an exraordinary God….just resting back into His arms of grace. For me, verses that has been very special to me this past year Mt. 11:28-29…..and when I read it, Jesus bade me come to Him to learn from Him alone. And the reward? Rest for my soul.
    Happy New Year Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly how I feel at sundown on Saturday, anxious for time with the one who knows me best, who I love being with the most.

  3. Glenda Childers

    Resting and expectant … what a lovely combo.


    • Shelly Miller

      I think so too Glenda.

  4. Summer

    Sabbath…I hear the call too. It might not look like a 24 hour time period but it feels like conversion and a showing up. At its best…it is God’s voice becoming louder and my beginning to pay attention again. Thanks for the Sabbath Society, Shelly. Tell me where to sign up! IAnd your writing? It flows and surges and takes us with it.

    And Anglican too? I’m intrigued. It’s so good to dive deep into the roots of the church and find we are not alone but surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. My husband is ACNA’s communication director.

    • Shelly Miller

      Lovely to meet a fellow Anglican Summer and thrilled to have in the community with us this year. I pray it blesses you.

  5. Sylvia R @

    What a timely post for me! I focus most on these words:

    “Christ’s presence is personal and sometimes subtle, like granules of glitter sticking to the surface of your life. You may not be aware of it in the midst of the scurry but it will be with you in the car, on the bus, along the train tracks, at the checkout counter, in the seat at your desk.

    …because the word that seems to have chosen me for 2014 is “aware,” and the first thing on which I want my awareness sharpened is His presence in my everyday. Wow, the stuff that’s happened in a couple short days since! And your post here now with these words. Looks like it’s going to be an eye-opening year. Thanks for being a pen in His hand to help make me more aware.

    • Shelly Miller

      What a great word Sylvia, and it seems like you are practicing it here while reading this story. *wink* It blesses me to know that this is a sacred echo for you. Love it when God does that. Hugs to you.

  6. Mary Bonner

    Another post that speaks to me. And just one more reason I smile every time your words pop in my inbox.

  7. Natalie

    Your words and imagery, “Christ’s presence is personal and sometimes subtle, like granules of glitter sticking to the surface of your life,” are true and clear. Between illness and Christmas to-ing and fro-ing Sabbath was sparse in December. Christ, however, was present and robust.

    • Shelly Miller

      So sorry you got sick over Christmas Natalie. Hope you are feeling better and enjoying some peace and rest.

  8. DeanneMoore

    The pasture and naked trees glittered in the sunrise this morning. I was driving and the beauty was gift. So thankful God gave us the Sabbath. I slip into in moments, sometimes a few hours of rest as life’s current as swept me up into a rhythm that is new. But like you wrote so beautifully God is with me and I seek him wherever life takes me. You know I love the Sabbath Society–and you.

    • Shelly Miller

      God is good to give you moments of beauty and reflection during this season. I want to get over to your place and read your post. Trying to catch up today. Thinking about you, always.

  9. cheryl

    The holidays ended for me with sickness. The people who stayed at my house brought it with them and I was the last to catch it and am still recovering. Last night I tossed and turned with dreams of how I am wasting the beginning of a new year that I expect to be my best year yet. I was tormented all night with all my goals and action plans I had created to implement my vision for this year and scolding myself for not sucking it up and getting it done. Yes, people, in my sleep. This morning, I was standing at the coffee machine, with tissues in hand catching sneezes, making coffee and I heard The Still Small Voice with a question: “Why can’t you love yourself and rest when you are sick? What’s wrong with that?” I had no answer. So just for today, I am staying in my PJs, cancelling calls and appointments. I am setting aside my action plan and goals and trusting that this will still be my best year ever, even if it gets a late start. I even took the huge risk of creating a grocery list for my husband and let him go to the store to buy supplies for meals this week. We may have some very interesting dinners. I am going to watch Downton Abbey, take a nap on the couch, drink tea, and love myself. So Christ showed up today in being kind to me. I know, its crazy in a wonderful surprise kind of way.

    • Shelly Miller

      I love your honesty Cheryl and what a great leap you took today by choosing to love yourself and not feel guilty for it. I am so sorry you got sick, but I’m proud of you for listening and then being faithful to respond to what you heard. I’m inspired. Hope you are feeling a bit better.

  10. Angie Ryg

    “People will notice the twinkle. They might be curious and ask you about it.”

    Oh, but that twinkle will not be quite as bright if I do not refresh myself with the beautiful Sabbath! Friend, I want to just sit down and chat all the time! Can we please room together again? XO

    Thanks for linking up! What a blessing to see your smiling face and read your words that bless!

    • Shelly Miller

      So true Angie, rest looks good on all of us. Perhaps we’ll get that chance to sit and chat again in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed on it.

  11. Rebekah

    I’ve read Mark Buchanan’s book, ‘The Rest of God’ and paused to ponder often how important Sabbath rest is. Your community here is encouraging. Thank you Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Mark’s book is one of my favorites, actually all of his titles are my favorites. He wrote a guest post about Sabbath here Rebekah, I was honored to have him. You can find the link to it on the Sabbath Society page.

  12. Mel

    I have known for awhile that I need to take that break, that rest, each week. Honestly, I’m still figuring out what it looks like, but I’m seeing the need for it more and more. Thank you for the sweet encouragement today! Blessings and happy Wednesday! 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      I think God creates us with the desire to rest and abide, its why he made Sabbath a commandment and not a suggestion, right? Thanks for visiting here Mel, lovely to meet you.

  13. Sarah Knepper

    Beautiful words and an amazing perspective on the Sabbath and Christ’s presence. Visiting from Holley’s link up!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks for visiting Sarah!

  14. Jennifer

    Your words and the truth within them are so very beautiful. Thank you for sharing what so many of us need to hear.

    • Shelly Miller

      Sabbath rest has become so important to my weekly routine, I know the way it has transformed my life and I want everyone to experience that. If I’ve conveyed that here in a blog post, then I’m grateful.

  15. Ginger L

    A beautiful reminder to remember the Sabbath. Thank you so much for sharing your heart – my heart needed that reminder! I found your blog through Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart – and I’m so glad that I did! 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Ginger, its great to meet you through Holley’s community. Would love to have you join us weekly if you want to.

  16. HolleyGerth

    Thanks so much for linking up today for Coffee for Your Heart, friend! XOXO

    • Shelly Miller

      What a gift you are Holley, the community you’ve engendered has beautiful fruit. Thank you for welcoming me into it, its lovely.

  17. Kim S

    Shelly, thanks for the encouragement to keep perspective. You have a beautiful blog!

  18. Laura Boggess

    You have new pajamas too? Every year my mother-in-law buys me some for Christmas :). Yes, commitment takes sacrifice and you model this well. Your Sabbath Society newsletters are such a deep breath for me. Have I said thank you for that? Well. Thank you. For your sacrifice and your commitment. You are a gift, Shelly. I’m grateful for the blessing of you.

    • Shelly Miller

      H usually buys me pajamas at Christmas Laura and I always love what he chooses. I’m glad you are enjoying the emails, love hearing that.

  19. Jenn Hand

    thank you for the sweet reminder of sabbath

  20. Lanette Haskins

    Love this!!! Such beautiful words Shelly! Thank you for the encouragement!

  21. Beatriz Magana

    I love the way you described Christ’s presence. It is truly sprinkled everywhere!

  22. floyd

    They’re called “sfarckles” in our house, aptly named after what my youngest daughter dubbed them as a wee one. My wife and I tip one another off when one happens to show up on our face… which is daily until March.

    It really is the little things in life. Great thoughts about sfarckles, I’ll look at them through your eyes and mind and appreciate them a little bit more.

    • Shelly Miller

      Love that word your daughter made up Floyd, how fun is that? Honored to see you here in my comments, hope you’ve had a good start to your new year. Bless you friend.

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