Over the past two weeks, we’ve practiced the penitential discipline of resting different parts of the body for the purpose of creating intimacy with God on A Sabbath Journey for Lent. Your responses (following) have been rich and vulnerable. I can’t tell you how honored I am to be the recipient of your stories about how these weekly reflections are leading to conviction, repentance, and worship.
How Sabbath is Translating for You
Resting Your Eyes: I love reading and it’s my number one go to leisure activity … but realized it started to show up as a sort of idol in my life- proving my productivity and therefore my worth somehow. So, I was trying to do less and trying to notice with my eyes more… signs of changing seasons, things about my 3 boys, and just life around me. I made a “noticing list” several days and it was really life giving!!
Resting Your Eyes: I am challenged again to choose quietness with God to fully experience my emptiness rather than numbing with coffee, white noise, social media…….
Resting Your Eyes: I am not good at resting my eyes. I found todays letter really helped get me to understand what your lent book meant. I am a true Aussie farmers wife, no make-up, not many flashy clothes either. So, I don’t relate well to the American glamour and glintze. Even my house is practical, not decorated to a style or even much of a colour. But my eyes still cause issues…. I do waste time on my iPad, I find it hard to sit still doing nothing. I will email, text, sketch or read in preference to just sitting there and just being.
Resting Your Words: I was grieved on multiple levels and laid awake a good part of the night rehearsing things I wanted to say to this person, their neighbor, their friends, etc. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind several other ideas, one of them being “rest my words.” In the end, (that person) discovered that they’re fragile and in need of good self-care on their own. Not because I came up with the right string of clever and convicting words. Thanks be to God.
Resting Your Words: I had already been seeking his heart on a matter, but (your) words led to a deeper time of listening, and I heard God’s answer to what I had been pondering in my heart concerning my son.
Resting Your Words: Through (your writing) Abba showed me my disrespect for (someone) . . . and that I was playing Holy Spirit in her life. How my heart grieves over that. I never wanted to do that . . . I must wait to be asked and not just jump into someone’s walk with God. . .. I wrote out the questions on an index card and will carry it with me to remind me of resting my words this week.
This Sunday, as we embark upon the third week of Lent, we’re challenged with the sacrifice of resting our feet. Sit down, grab a cuppa, and read on.
Imagine how this might look as a global community. What might we accomplish for the Kingdom through our shared sacrificial worship? How might resting your feet lead to finding more of God in your midst? What might God release in you while waiting on Him?
Busyness can be avoidance instead of preparation. We’ve been busy with lots of things—running errands, decorating rooms, cleaning up messes, and cooking special food, all in preparation for receiving guests, celebrating, and making moments festive. Everything might be ready, but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, we are not. Ironically, busyness in the wrong things ultimately leaves us completely unprepared for what is most important. Choosing to leave practical things undone is a brave act of trust and relinquishment.” Page 30, Rhythms of Rest
The Life-Giving Practice of Sitting Down
When I have the privilege of visiting my daughter, Murielle, in Phoenix, we become busy with lots of good things—running errands, decorating rooms of her apartment, hanging pictures, cleaning labels off new dishes, organizing the pantry, and preparing her favorite meals to stock in the freezer.
We make the most of every minute we have together because normally, we are present on apps, talking on screens in different times zones while an ocean physically separates us. Being present is precious time not to be squandered.
While all those activities are fun and needful, resting our feet makes space for deeper intimacy in relationship. Whether seated side-by-side on a commute or across from each other in a booth eating Mexican; floating in a bubbling jacuzzi or lounging under blankets on her couch, conversations mutate from mundane to meaningful. And I experience the same intimacy in relationship with God during Sabbath pauses.
Rest ushers in attentiveness, making space for the Fatherhood of God—intimate, present, loving, and sometimes, miraculous.
For example, as the disciples rested their feet in a boat, they witnessed Jesus walking on water.
After Jesus directed the crowds to sit on the grass the hunger of thousands was satisfied by bread and fish.
On the Emmaus Road, Jesus was a stranger until the disciples were resting their feet at the table.
Last Sunday, resting my feet looked like staying home from church due to feeling poorly, but I was dancing by noon after time set apart in worship and adoration.
Still Hesitant? Consider these Questions.
If you are prone to be the first to volunteer, help and serve, how might resting your feet be an opportunity for someone else? Or an opportunity to discern the heart of God before you act?
How might modelling rest extend permission to rest for someone you love?
How can ceasing the movement of your feet pave the way for the miraculous to manifest in your body, circumstances, and uncertainties?
Are you prone to worry about how you will get everything accomplished on your list?
Are you anxious about lack of time should you choose Sabbath?
Do you get bored fast? Or does rest feel luxuriously layered with possibilities?
If you answered yes to one or several of those questions, take my Sabbath Journey for Lent challenge this week. Assume the receptive posture of Mary at Jesus feet. Rest from busyness and choose the one thing that is necessary; the one thing that won’t be taken away from you. And then tell me what happens in the comments.
Find out more about A Sabbath Journey for Lent and how to claim my FREE eBook in this post. Subscribe to the Sabbath Society for weekly letters of encouragement, breath prayers, poems, and resources that help make rest realistic in your world. Follow me on Instagram @shellymillerwriter to read how Sabbath for Lent is playing out for me in London. Join me on Patreon for podcasts, prayers, interviews, and vlogs that help make rest realistic in our uncertain world.
Astute observation, Shelly: “rest ushers in attentiveness.” I had never considered before the effect of sitting with Jesus, among those examples you gave from the gospels. And attentive is what I want to be! To that end, your third question will become a prayer: “Oh Lord, let the ceasing of movement pave the way for the miraculous to manifest in my body, circumstances, and uncertainties. As I rest in You, may I be attentive to the way you’ve ordained for me.” Thank you, Shelly!
I’m praying that same prayer Nancy! Especially now that we are immersed in the coronavirus scare around the world. God be near.
This one is challenging. I am the volunteer and helped who probably doesn’t leave room for someone else to step in. I also have trouble just sitting. I don’t like the feeling of being unproductive. Thank you for your guidance in this.
How did it go Mandi? Those who are gifted at serving have an especially hard time with this one. I hope that it was a meaningful time set apart for you. Thanks for leaving a comment.