by Jacqui Crumrine, Associate Pastor – Worship and Arts
The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need… (Psalm 23, NLT)
I am just a few weeks away from taking a sabbatical, and I’m trying to prepare for my time of rest. What? Prepare for rest? Yes! Rest requires intentionality and some preparation. There are several ways that God leads us to rest and we have to prioritize them. It’s too easy to fill our days with work and activities.
First, God invites us to have healthy rhythms in our days. We need to have margin, both with our time and even our emotions. This means working hard, but with limits. This means prioritizing the right things in our day, being available for God’s work, and even making sure that we are taking care of bodies by resting! Before your day even gets started, can you plan in a stroll around the block to breathe in some fresh air? Or do devotions at a time in your day that can help you reset your mind and heart?
The second way that we rest is through Sabbath. Sabbath rest was first demonstrated by God, the creator of the universe. God commands (yep, one of the Ten Commandments) that we take a day to rest. It’s a holy day! In the Old Testament, that meant that people had to prepare meals ahead of time, do a little extra work in advance so that they could have a day to worship the Lord and be restored. Sabbath seems like a big word. Sadly, though, it’s a command that gets overlooked too often. I admit, sometimes I look back and realize that I have not had a true Sabbath day in weeks. And it’s no wonder I’m tired. I haven’t been obedient to God’s invitation to be healthy and refueled by taking a Sabbath day.
An even deeper level of rest is a Sabbatical. This is introduced in Leviticus 25:1-7. ‘…but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord.’ (But Jacqui, that’s talking about land?) Yes! If the land is not to be worked, that means a rest for us. The land would still provide for them, but only what they needed. God’s plan for them, and for us, is that He will provide what is needed throughout the time of rest.
Which leads me to Psalm 23. I find myself preparing for my own time of rest. Yes, I have some extra planning and preparations to get done before I leave, but the main preparation is more spiritual and emotional. I am a task driven person, by nature. When I get things done, there is a sense of accomplishment. How do I prepare for rest, though? I have to first know who God is, and who I am.
‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need…’ Psalm 23, NLT
Psalm 23 reveals who God is. He is the Shepherd. He leads and He guides. He provides. He protects. He is faithful. He is my hope. He blesses me. Psalm 23 teaches me how to prepare for a Sabbath rest. I have to choose to be the sheep. Ready to ‘lie down in green pastures.’ Ready to be restored ‘beside the quiet waters.’ Ready to rely on Him for all of my needs. How do I prepare for sabbatical? Joyful surrender.