(Links are at the end of your reading. The Sabbath Rhythms Planner is now available to guide you in the 4-facets.)
"Sabbath Rhythms are the heavenly realities that show up in our earthly living, both individually and within community. The many expressions of rest will address what's happening internally (our being) and externally (our doing)." Our being and our becoming are earnestly attached, the danger is when we distance them.
SABBATH RHYTHMS - THE FOUR ASPECTS OF REST
It bears repeating, as I begin to lay out the foundation, consider what a baby step for you might look like. Don't judge yourself, examine yourself. Don't become overwhelmed by the suggestions, nor should guilt play a part in coming to terms with reordering the way you live out your life.
You have new choices you can make, but beware of the opposition and resistance you're likely to meet on this journey of integrating Sabbath Rhythms. The Sabbath Rhythms are as follows...
Daily Diversion Idea
Interruptions are daily and they are usually divine diversions. And even if they aren't, they are divinely governed. Rest looks like not trying to control or fight interruptions. Striving and struggling only heighten the stress.
When we want something to be different than it is, we're fighting with reality. This opens a door to frustration, anxiety, stress, as well as other mental and emotional strain. There's a more noble way for us to accept life's diversions and gain some insight (by the way, accepting diversions doesn't mean you must like it or prefer it). It just means you accept it for what it is, an invitation or opportunity to discover where Love is present.
Thankfully, we can hold our plans out to a wise and benevolent God who is in complete control. He's far more concerned about what's getting done in us, not merely what's getting done from us.
Normally, diversions will reveal some kind of road block, whether it's emotional, mental or spiritual—and at times, physical.
Road blocks are present in life because construction is going on in a specific area. When you're facing a roadblock, figuratively or literally, you'll want to think about the detour you must take and not obsess over the blockage.
Reverse & readjust your navigation, expectations and your attitude. Here are some ways to divert your attention in small, everyday pockets.
A Few Tips:
Aim to do this in baby steps, gradually. Choose one thing at a time — there's no pass or fail, and there's no rush.
Begin to ruminate on your belovedness, your intrinsic worth. There's enough good to go around in the world for you, too. Then, compile a list of the free things you can do around your town.
Give your body permission to connect deeply with your thoughts and emotions, and to connect with God and His creation.
Name the alarms on your phone (you can automate some needful diversions throughout your day). For example, "Time to take a deep breath" "Who has shown God's face today?" "Let go" "Praise" "Take a break" "Focus & Flow" — you get the idea.
Daily Diversion Rest Suggestions
~ Pray aloud (listen + talk to God). Process the detours with Him. Ask, "What is this interruption showing me about the intersection of Love, my needs and my longings?"
~ Learn to manage daily stress by breathing from your diaphragm, it oxygenates the lower lobes of your lungs and communicates to the brain that you have an adequate amount of oxygen to kick in calm. You'll discover how breathing deeply can benefit you in stressful situations. Deep breathing can happen anytime or anywhere.
~ Have an ongoing gratitude list. Counting and jotting down your daily blessings or gifts, as referred to by Ann Voscamp, can cultivate rest.
~ Taking notifications off your phone for 15-20 minutes or longer.
~ Engage laughter and lament mindfully.
~ Use the Breath Prayer or the Centering Prayer approach. More here on the Contemplative lifestyle.
~ Stretch for 2-3 minutes.
~ Read for 5-minutes.
~ Count backwards from 10.
~ Listen to music and move your body.
~ Designate a physical space you can go to for refuge. Space of Your Own (S.O.Y.O) or a Sanctuary of Surrender (S.O.S.). This is where you will go when you need a moment. This can be a room, a corner or a closet, or even outdoors. The bathroom should be your last option (but I know the struggle is real for many surrounded by children either in the home or in the classroom).
Just determine ahead of time where your S.O.Y.O or S.O.S. will be located—you can designate several places.
~ Admit to yourself and others you need a short (or extended) break to collect your thoughts to readjust, rethink, and reset.
Weekly Withdrawal Idea
Rest looks like taking one recurring day of the week to pause, trust, heal, replenish, and celebrate (any day of the week will work). Of course, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset is the "Sabbath holy day". I'm not overlooking its significance, but there's liberty in Christ to honor the "spirit" of the law, as well, especially when you consider your personal calendar.
A Little About How I Do This
For years, I have secured Thursday as my weekly withdrawal. It's when I also take my digital Sabbath. On this day, I take a rest from emails, texts, and social media. I notify friends and family that if they have "real" emergencies, they can call me — interestingly, no one ever does. Everything and everyone can wait.
Having said that, there are moments within this day where I do invite my community in this healing space: taking a walk together, playing board games with my children or we'll cook the meal together, sometimes, I may met up with a friend at a park or retreat center to walk, pray, lament and laugh. It's about the freedom I have to make it about what I need to be refreshed and refueled.
I am not one to practice enabling notifications on my phone or computer (there's lots of scientific research on why this is a healing practice), but the few notifications I do allow are suspended every Thursday.
Typically, I have a start and end time to make the boundaries clear to all. It takes lots of rehearsal time to honor this personal discipline — patience is key. Beware of romanticizing all of this. It's messy, oftentimes.
The purpose is to open up your humanity even the more to the awareness and acknowledgement of the deep connection you already have with the LORD of the Sabbath.
And lastly, the healing of the Sabbath is about communion, which is an expression of God's generous love. He has even built Sabbath into creation for us to have many witnesses and examples from which we can draw. Begin to look at many ordinary, every day practices you already enjoy and let them expand for a longer period once a week.
Weekly Withdrawal Rest Suggestions
~ Pray aloud (listen + talk to God). I can't emphasize this enough. Ask Him what this weekly sabbatical looks like for you.
~ Worship with a local congregation.
~ Enjoy a social connection with family & friends (take a departure from social media).
~ Take a stroll.
~ Watch a movie/listen to a podcast.
~ Study Scripture.
~ Speak a blessing over yourself.
~ Release all of the names of those you are serving. You are a spiritual conduit, not spiritual storage. Sometimes, we carry the weight of people's burdens from week to week. Practice giving them up and over to Jesus, including yourself. You can vocalize or journal their names individually or group them: neighbors, family members, co-workers, etc. to the
~ Prepare & savor a meal with others.
~ Light candles.
~ Take a nap.
~ Spend time making appointments, or handling personal matters with boundaries in view.
~ If near the beach, go there, if near the mountains, just go in nature — meet God there.
~ Take a weekly bubble bath with your favorite salt and essential oils, in order to detox and heal.
~ Exfoliate your skin once a week (sometimes more depending on skin types). Think of it as a mini spa day. I use the following recipe for my lips, hands, and feet. Be careful, exfoliation can cause irritation if you're too aggressive or have very sensitive skin. For this recipe, you can add more sugar if you like it more on the dry side, or add more oil if you prefer a wetter scrub. You can easily adjust the amounts as you go:
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut oil
6 drops of your favorite flavor extract or essential oil
~ Turn off your phone or device for half a day for a digital sabbatical (even for just an hour). Also, turn off some or all your phone's notifications and place it on silence for a portion of your day (some phones have a do not disturb feature - use it).
~ Have a meeting-free day.
~ Practice silence for 5 minutes with Centering Prayer. Initially, it's daunting, your imagination goes on hyperactivity and negative thoughts can begin to abound, but that's normal.
Think of silence as a weekly detoxing experience, all of the impurities begin to come up and out in the early stage of detoxing. I believe it's worth it to gain the valuable insight that awaits and to trust Jesus to reveal to you things about your character, your longings and your heart.
~ Download GPS For The Soul.
~ Make sure you consider one day of the week that will be a "no errand" day. You need margin to just be and not do.
Monthly Moment Idea
Rest looks like a once a month detox: externally and/or internally.
Monthly Moment Rest Suggestions
~ Each month, get quiet and examine your previous month with our Monthly Review SOULutions Guide and Worksheet.
~ Pray aloud (listen + talk to God). Use the Lectio Divina practice to go through the Psalms or any preferred Scriptural passage.
~ Clean out your body with a detox (mentally and physically)
~ Clean out your car, fridge, purse, a room or closet in your home (you may have to do a room in phases if it's been neglected, or get in a weekly rhythm to organize/clean in phases).
~ Donate excess toys and outgrown clothes to a friend or to an organization.