Winter seems unwilling to yield to spring here in the Midwest, and I know we all feel weary. A month ago, my crocuses bloomed.
This week, we’re getting snow. Check out this picture of my run. If you zoom in, you can see the deer standing by the road. If this scene looks like winter, it’s because–it is still winter here.
But May is coming. And with it, one of the most insidiously busy times of year. It’s a dozen extra small things that fill your schedule in springtime, and you know—they’re right around the corner.
So between now and Memorial Day, remember to breathe. I want to offer a gift: soul care. Take just a moment now and then to slow down, to create some space. To help, today launches a series of Wednesday blog posts: bite-sized chunks from my book GodSpace. A two-minute read to tend to your soul and remind you that you can do this, that God is there in the midst of the chaos.
Today, let’s talk about the gift of Sabbath:
Hurry taints even our spirituality. A franticness keeps us at the surface and doesn’t let us rest in God’s presence. We rush through prayer. We add another church activity to our crammed schedules. We faithfully read our Bible but forget what we’ve read a moment later. Our faith can feel disconnected, hollow.
To our weary souls, God offers the Sabbath. Wrapped in the words of commandment and law, we may not recognize it for what it is: a gift. The only way to unwrap it is to practice it. When we do so—not perfectly, not legalistically, but expectantly and humbly—we receive the gift, the grace, of time. We all are given seven days in a week. What we do with those days can allow us to see God, and experience the divine, or not.
What if the ancient practice of Sabbath—a day to set aside work and focus on God—could be the gateway to other practices that impact our pace of life, our experience of God’s grace, our awareness of God’s presence? What if taking a day off actually made us more patient, gentle, more aware of the needs of others?
What if other spiritual disciplines, flowing out of Sabbath, could also open up space for God? What if slowing our pace allowed us to enjoy God in new ways, through practices we may never have considered? What if loving our neighbor begins with slowing down enough to actually notice our neighbor? What if our daily lives could be interwoven with practices we didn’t have to go to the monastery to engage in?
If we slow down a bit, we might have time to consider the questions: What does the pace of my life have to do with the health of my soul? How does the health of my soul impact the people around me, the people I’m trying to love: spouse, neighbors, kids?
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