Why Sabbath Doesn’t Have to Stay in Your Suitcase {An Invitation}

by | Sep 1, 2014 | Sabbath


It happens every year on that dreaded last day of our cottage vacation. I become a lovesick woman.

Sweeping cobwebs from beneath concrete steps and scrubbing toilets, my mind is elsewhere, captivated by remembrance. Of pushing my body into the still lake that woos me outside the open bedroom window. It’s as if nothing else matters but one last embrace with those soft, luxurious waters.

But the clock mocks intimacy, ticking it off as infatuation.

Sabbath isn’t a serious relationship, just a two week fling with indulgence. You are foolish to think you can experience this restful restoration as a continual reality. Love is fickle after the folly of summer vacation.

After the dust clothes are folded back in the drawer, sheets unpinned from the clothesline, I dump soft blueberries in the trash bin and squeeze into my sour swimsuit. For one last dip of wet kisses cascading down my neck, weightless from the absence of burdens.




While floating on my back, gazing into gauzy clouds tearing into frameless faces, I whisper a promise to the Creator.

I will unpack Sabbath from my suitcase and return to you like this weekly. I can no longer live without your nearness. I don’t want to.

As I listen, His response rocks still waters, creating ripples that affect others in my circles of influence.

Tell them that Sabbath isn’t only for times away with a suitcase but a weekly unpacking. Of conversation and remembering that I love them. I care more about who they are than what they do. Invite them to join you. When life gets hectic, a weekly Sabbath rhythm will be easier in the embrace of community. Name them the Sabbath Society.

I have kept that promise every week since.


Today, almost four hundred people that make up the Sabbath Society choose rest as a lifestyle instead of a suggestion. We’re quietly forming a Rest Revolution, a behind the scenes transcendent ticking of time that carries ripples of transformation.

Maybe you’re in a season of parenting young children; the desire for whitespace in the forefront but the reality elusive in your schedule. Perhaps you’re a leader, responsible for people and programs that depend on your presence and influence. Or could it be that your previous Sabbath experiences shadow the possibility of vibrancy in the present?

Even in lonely quietness, an internal discordance can make for a place of continual unrest. That fourth commandment seems more like a hurdle to climb over than a loving invitation to peace. Yes?


As we celebrate the value of our work on Labor Day, I’m extending an invitation. Will you join the Rest Revolution, break assumptions about Sabbath and start with a clean slate? Could it be that He tells us to remember the Sabbath and keep the day holy because He knows we will forget?

This month I’m focusing on the why, what and how about rest with members of the Sabbath Society leading the conversation. On Wednesday, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of 24/6: A Prescription for a  Healthier, Happier Life, will kick us off, sharing wisdom about Sabbath from his perspective as a busy physician.  Psst, stay tuned for a special announcement.

And for further insight, join Redemptions Beauty Book Club each Wednesday in September, where we will discuss each of the four parts in 24/6. This is a closed Facebook page for privacy; just ask to be added to the group if you want to join the conversation.

Do you believe that Sabbath is only possible on vacation? Or have you experienced the weekly unpacking from your suitcase?


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  1. Natalie

    Rest eludes me most when we believe that I can get it only by leaving my cares and responsibilities behind. God’s plan of rest in the midst is a great gift. Thanks for inviting us along on your journey of promise keeping. Companionship makes the gift sweeter.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, you have stepped into my business Natalie, with this comment. I do this ALL THE TIME. I think I have to get everything figured out and squared away before I’m allowed to rest. Ack! I’m in a continual learning process. It’s painful but worth it.

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, what a great day (Labor Day observation) t o lauch a rest revolution. And I loved reading about how God spoke to you initially about the Sabbath Society. This is a movement that only begins with Him. I’m in.

    • Shelly Miller

      I agree Lynn. Glad you are joining us. I think you’ll enjoy the book very much.

  3. Joy Lenton

    Shelly, this is a soul soothing post. I especially love the reassurance here, “I care more about who they are than what they do” as it reminds me I am not cast aside or defined by my illness and lack of ability to work in an employed sense. It helps me breathe deep and rest grateful for the gift of grace which sees worth and value in all of us Just As We Are. Thank you for sharing the origins of the Sabbath Society and the ways in which God is inviting us to rest, listen and simply Be in His peaceful Presence. 🙂 x

    • Shelly Miller

      I think we all struggle with defining our worth based on what we do or cannot do, whether we are suffering with illness or not Joy. I haven’t walked in your shoes but I can only imagine that your situation will provide a depth of great insight and empathy for those who can’t seem to grasp the truth that our value resides in the heart. And you have a lovely heart!

  4. DeanneMoore

    There’s a cabin Jeff and I wanted to go to this weekend but it was booked. It sits right next to a cold river (the water comes from the bottom of the lake up the way) so on summer mornings there’s a fog and coolness to the air. A railroad runs on the other side, right next to the cabin; it gives you a little stir in the night if you forget where you are. And the best thing to eat on Labor Day holiday is peach blueberry crumble with homemade vanilla ice cream after eating anything with the last of the fresh summer tomatoes.

    • Shelly Miller

      That cabin sounds like a slice of heaven Dea. And that dessert, oh my. Did you make that? Yum. Hope you had a restful holiday.

  5. Kelly W

    Thanks Shelley – as always your encouragement sinks deep into my brain. We’ve just come through a Season of Ox-in-Well Busy: and I’ve collapsed the last couple days. Time to renew my commitment to Sabbath weekly.

    • Shelly Miller

      Kelly, I’m glad you’re back. Sounds like you need some quiet reflection to fuel back up. Thanks for being here.

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