Today in week two of our Rest Revolution, it is my pleasure to welcome Lori Harris to the blog, a Sabbath Society peep whose whole being seeps joy and encouragement. As a mom to six of her own and a porch full of neighborhood children, she manages to still make Sabbath a priority. Her authentic nature and brave hospitality inspire me continually.
I never gave Sabbath so much as a sideways glance until my body laid itself down on the kitchen floor and decided it was not going to go through with all the things my mind had planned.
I remember the cool of the floor against my flushed cheek and the quiet whirr of the refrigerator and the way my tears pooled on the linoleum. My chest ached and my head pounded and my heart was splintered into bits. I didn’t want to die but I could not imagine living another day like I’d lived the last twelve years.
Twelve years of babies and seven moves and years of seminary had left me body worn and weary. Twelve years of doing good and right and noble things had left me puffed up and proud. Twelve years spent thinking that I had to do good to earn God’s pleasure had left me angry and bitter and jaded.
Twelve years of striving had left me chasing the lie that what I do matters more than who I am.
I don’t remember how long I spent sprawled out on the kitchen floor but I do remember that in the stillness of the moment, I felt Jesus come near to me.
And when He came near, I surrendered every piece of me.
Jesus, the Come to Me and I will give you rest Jesus, came to me, and the nearness to Him was the very thing my soul was craving.
It has been more than a year since I fell prostrate on the floor of my kitchen and got still enough to feel my chest heave under the weight of the life I had made for myself. This sudden stop to the life I once knew was painfully eye-opening and gloriously transformative.
When Jesus came near to me, I immediately slipped away into a thirty-one day journey to simply be. I set a few of my spinning plates back in the cupboard and let a handful of good things go. I got quiet and ceased writing. I sat on the porch and stared off into nothingness. I snuggled my kids and braided long locks of curls. I cleaned my calendar and my house and my mind.
And I came near to Jesus.
I let Jesus whisper quiet words of healing into the gaping holes in my heart. I began to be compassionate with myself and let go of years of shame. I asked myself questions that invited deep excavations of my soul. And these dry and thirsty bones came to life.
As I consider Sabbath, I am more in tune with my own humanity and my aching need for a sacred rhythm of life. I eat when I’m hungry. I write when I feel a gust of creativity. I wrap my arms around the Man when I’m in need of physical touch. I take long walks because I need to breathe in deep and long and wide. I have coffee with friends because I am made for community and my life is rich when I spend it with others. I feed my neighbors because hungry faces remind me that that face could be my own. And I rest because this frail, dying body calls out for relief.
But Sabbath is more than simply rest.
It is the prelude to a week of good and right and noble doing.
It is the catalyst by which we are propelled into this world to be the hands and feet of the Gospel.
It is the weekly call to come and remember who we are and to whom we belong.
It is an invitation to crawl up in the arms of Jesus and be loved, lavishly.
When I look at my own journey to Sabbath, I see a distinct movement from doing to simply being. Jesus met me in my most desolate place and held me, inviting me to come and rest.
And I wonder, how has Jesus whispered to your soul and called you to come and rest? How has He shown you your great need for Sabbath?
Leave your answer to Lori’s question in the comments and then join us for more discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club, where we are delving into 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth every Wednesday in September. This week, Sabbath Society peep, Becky Keife is helping me lead our conversation.
Lori Harris is a Southern born, Texas-missing girl, who is rearing her six kids in a neighborhood some would call the ‘hood. She and her bi-vocational husband have planted Fellowship Bible Church Rocky Mount on the wrong side of the railroad tracks where poverty runs deep and racism even deeper. She coordinates a city-wide MOPS group, passes out PBJs to the neighborhood kids, and brews coffee just to make the house smell like Jesus. She writes at loriharris.me.