Eat your vegetables, and then you can have dessert.
It is mantra of moms everywhere. The plate is colorful with broccoli, carrots, corn, and a side of cornbread. Oh, and don’t forget the meatloaf. Definitely eat the meatloaf! And if you eat all of everything that is on your plate, then you can have dessert.
It is bribery of the highest order. That delicious coconut cake is sitting in the corner, calling my name, tantalizing me so much that my mouth waters just looking at it. But, in order to get to that little slice of heaven, I must wade through the green, orange, and yellow on my plate. Every bite of those vegetables is a little bit of torture for a girl with an incurable sweet tooth. Yet, because I am a Type A who has to do everything well and right, I rip my gaze from the coconut cake and focus on the vegetables and meat loaf. Let’s get ‘er done!
Meatloaf. Check! Check! (I do love me some good meatloaf.)
Now, the pièce de résistance. Coconut cake!
For a girl who is very much a productivity addict the idea of ‘finish your vegetables before you eat dessert’ can be crippling?
Oh, I see you frowning and wondering how I turned vegetables into a handicap. Let me explain.
As you know, if you have been around these parts for more than a few days, I am on a journey toward rest (it was my OneWord 2016) and observing Sabbath regularly. Part of that journey is navigating the tension of completing my checklist of things to do each week before my Sabbath begins on Saturday evening. I’m doing really well at it now, but that has not always been the case. You see, as a productivity junkie I reasoned that there were things that needed to be accomplished (i.e., all the veggies eaten) EVERY. SINGLE. DAY or the world might implode! So, while I desperately needed a day to rest (coconut cake), the veggies that needed eating (tasks on my to-do list) never ended. Which meant that I never set aside a day to rest (enjoy my piece of coconut cake).
Is that clear as mud? What I am trying to say is that the eat-your-veggies-before-you-eat-cake principle works well with a child, but for an adult with a need to always be productive, it doesn’t work so well. There has to be a point at which I say, ‘enough veggies!’ and settle down to enjoy my coconut cake.
May I share with you the part of all of this that makes me clap my hands in praise to my Jesus?
When I am obedient to carve out that Sabbath rest, the world does not implode, nor does my to-do list become an unmanageable Goliath. In fact, quite the opposite takes place. I am much more able to do what needs to be done in six days, and I do it with a greater measure of peace than I had when I was frantically striving seven days a week.
No one on the planet has ever had a greater agenda and to-do list than God:
Monday – Create light
Tuesday – Create the heavens
Wednesday – Create the earth and the seas, plants and trees
Thursday – Create the sun, moon, and stars, and set the seasons in order
Friday – Create sea animals and birds
Saturday – Create livestock, beasts of the earth, creeping things (eekk!), and Man
Then, on Sunday, the seventh day, God blessed His work and rested. If God decided to rest on the seventh day, who in the world am I to decide that I do not need rest? The Sabbath is for me, not for God, because He knew that I would need that rest. And oh, how desperately I need it! I need that time to slow down so that I can hear His voice in the stillness and silence of rest. I need that time for my physical body to decompress and relax. I simply need that time…..and so do you!
I want to encourage you to make Sabbath rest part of your week. I promise you will be glad you did.
Tell me about your Sabbath observance. How do you prepare? What does it look like?
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I am linking to two books that have been great influences on my life this year in regard to making good choice and to observing a Sabbath rest. I hope you will check them out!
How is it going in your corner of the world? Here in my space we are all worked into a lather over Monday’s eclipse. Not so much because we are astronomy fans, but because our little town is in the path of totality and we are expecting the population of our county to swell from a normal of 25,000 to about 80,000 people. Crazy!! Every motel and campground is packed to overflowing. People have rented out rooms in their home for ridiculous amounts of money. The grocery store shelves are empty by the end of the day, and the lines at the gas stations are several cars deep. It is wild and will get wooly before it is all over!!
In the midst of all that madness I am preparing for Sabbath. In a post a week ago I told you of the way the Lord has drawn my heart into Sabbath as a result of reading Shelly Miller’s book, Rhythms of Rest. Each Friday I receive an email from Shelly prompting those of us in the Sabbath Society to prepare our hearts and homes for a Sabbath rest. This morning’s email offered some questions designed to set my mind to pondering. I thought I might ‘think outloud’ here with you about the answers to these questions posed by Shelly.
How did my Sabbath look last week?
Last weekend (I observe my Sabbath on Sunday) I spent Saturday preparing…finishing laundry and cooking a few things to eat on Sunday. Sunday morning dawned and I grabbed my iPhone and earbuds and headed out to exercise. While I walked I listened to Christian music in order to prepare my heart for worship. I also allowed the music to prompt my prayers.
We worshipped with our church family at Vertical Church, then came home. After a light lunch, I spent a couple of hours reading and resting.
Sometimes Sabbath doesn’t go exactly the way I plan, and I have learned to give myself grace when that happens. We needed a new faucet in our downstairs kitchen and my husband decided that late Sunday afternoon was the time to put it in. I helped him a bit with that, then made a Blueberry Cobbler as a reward for his hard work. While I usually do not cook on Sabbath, there are times that I do and Sunday was one of them. It just felt right to bless my husband in that way. The Cobbler was Mmmm-Mmmmm good!
How is the time set apart for rest informing my day-to-day life?
I look forward eagerly to Sabbath, knowing that my mind and my body will enjoy rest. To that end, I work extra hard on Friday and Saturday to get chores done so that I can cease my work at 7pm on Saturday and just be. Knowing that Sabbath is coming gives me something to which I can look forward. It is like the anticipation one feels about an upcoming vacation.
Honestly, I feel like I am a better wife to Greg because I am making time for Sabbath rest. I cannot explain it fully, but Sabbath encourages me to listen better and to (hopefully) serve my husband better.
How have Sabbath pauses made a difference?
Oh my what a question! I never, ever, in a million years would have anticipated the way Sabbath would make such a difference in my life.
As I spend time resting on Sabbath there is a quietness in my heart; a peace in my soul; a nearness to Jesus that calms me and draws me into His presence. Even when 7pm on Sunday comes, that quietness and peace remains for several days. On those days when life is hectic, I remember how I feel on Sabbath and my heart stretches forward toward it because it is so restorative and healing.
What do I need to do to prepare for Sabbath this week?
As I write this post on Friday afternoon, I have finished my 4th load of laundry for the day (How do 2 people generate so much laundry???). I changed the sheets on the beds, and am marinating chicken for a new dish that I am eager to try on Saturday. I did my grocery shopping earlier in the week because…ECLIPSE CROWDS! Tomorrow I will finish up my chores and errands and begin to quiet my heart and lean into Sabbath.
What about you? I’d love to hear your answers to these questions
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