Unplugging

I spent the last week of the year (mostly) unplugged.

Digital Sabbath
For me, unplugging is primarily about disconnecting from my phone (and email). I’m fairly disciplined when it comes to technological limits, but it’s the needs and requests of others that trip me up. I’m conscientious so I think about EVERYTHING, A LOT. Often this translates to me spending time and energy on what another may not even take in.

So unplugging for me is a wonderfully freeing, yet challenging weekly routine that I’ve adopted to help me keep things in perspective. A reminder that I’m free to disengage, disconnect, and in fact, I’m not at all responsible for others. At the same time, a break often refuels my desire and capacity to connect with a renewed clarity on what’s important.

Interestingly, many in the technology industry are paving the way for a weekly digital detox, and as I learned while reading during my break, some are also taking the last week of the year off! I didn’t know about that last part until mid-way through my week, but I found the week to be a refreshing, though not easy detox.

Staycation
Here’s how my week went down. I was all caught up on my correspondence, it was Christmas, and I turned my phone on to put it on airplane mode… only to learn I was not all caught up on communication. For a moment, I hesitated, but then I realized there would always be “one more” and in essence, this was the very reason I had decided to unplug. So I did.

The first three days I felt liberated. Free from thinking about other’s concerns, coordinating anything, able to rest and enjoy. I felt this way despite some necessary communication which brought awareness of more requests. A needed reminder that most things really can wait. The fourth day felt luxurious, like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, but an extra day is a gift so I’ll enjoy it. Yesterday and today have brought anticipation of re-connecting and a desire to give in early. I know I could, but I also know I’m free not to and that is a place I want to stay in all year – plugged in or not 🙂

Do you ever unplug? Comment below about your experience!

Resolutions 2018

I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions. Some people say they are designed to be short-term, as in everyone brainstorms great ideas that they try for a few weeks, or months, but ultimately, everyone plans to eventually fail at them. Who wants to sign up for that?

There are a few changes I want to make that are ultimately up to me. Some choices that I have the power to control. Some choices that have become habits that I don’t necessary want to do, but that it will take self-discipline to change. Some resolutions to begin as this new year begins that I hope will become more and more true in my life. So one thing I’m going to expect is to fail, but not to give up, to be gracious with myself in the slow process of change.

Here are two:

1. consistent sleep – a 3-part goal involving going to bed and waking up at a consistent time that allows for 8 hours of sleep!
2. less tv, more reading – sometimes it’s so much easier after a full day to watch a show, or 2, but Jeremy and I both want to spend more time reading as part of a way to unwind.

How about you? Did you make any New Year Resolutions this year?

Giving

There are so many opportunities to give this time of year.

How do you decide what and to whom to give?

I long to be generous, yet also a good steward.

2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart”

There is beauty in that – we all care about different things.

There is challenge in that – none of us can rely on our hearts to be pure.

How can we help each other dialogue about giving? What are some organizations you’d like to invite others into? Perhaps some ways you can give that require more time or service than money? What are your favorite gifts to give? to receive?

 

 

Life Revisions (Chapter 4)

So far, I’ve spoken a lot about the idea of Sabbath, but the subtitle of the book Rest is “Living in Sabbath Simplicity.” This chapter emphasize that as Sabbath becomes something that you look forward to, you have to prepare for it, which in turn affects the other days of the week. As you begin to make more conscious choices about your time, you will begin to create some rhythms.

Kent emphasizes that a life lived in restful simplicity is a journey and says to begin where you are. She says you can’t force those around you to rest, but you can choose to rest yourself, modeling and inviting others into it. She also says to have grace with the process, that some weeks will be harder than others as will certain seasons. It is ok for Sabbath to be something you “fail” at, that is the beauty of freedom, we are free to mess up. She says Sabbath is about trusting, believing that if you rest for a day the world will keep spinning.

She also encourages creating some rituals, choosing some things that are restful to you and building them into your Sabbath day. So maybe every Sabbath doesn’t look the same, but maybe it has some similar elements and you decide what works for that week. Sharing a meal as a family might be one element you start with and then gradually add others in. She says to be practical and consider what would work in your real life!

So, do you know what things are restful to you? If Sabbath is primarily about loving God and loving others, what would this look like in your weekend? What day would work? Would you take time to prepare your heart to connect with God and others at your church? Would you need to use words like “no” and “not today” more often?

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 4 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 5 !

 

Ancient Roots & Purpose of a Weekly Rest (Chapter 3, part 2)

Roots

In ancient Judaism, Sabbath was a day anticipated, and then reflected on.  Sabbath followers would spend 3 days preparing, 1 day observing and remembering, and 3 days looking back in gratitude for a day in which they were allowed to rest. At this time in history, people worked 7 days a week so some cultures viewed them as lazy for taking a day off. Other cultures, such as the Romans, similarly adopted a day off.

Thus, while the Jewish & Roman calendars aligned, Sabbath has been practiced in many ways by different people groups throughout time. The early Christians emphasized a day of gathering in celebration, as opposed to the Jewish Shabbat rest, and the day of the week shifted from Saturday to Sunday after the time of Christ (hint: think Resurrection Day).

As far back as creation in the Old Testament, we see the idea of Sabbath mentioned. With the giving of the 10 Commandments, there were 3 instructions about relating to God, 1 about the Sabbath and 6 about relating to others.  After the Exodus, the more detailed law was given to the Israelites to show them how to live as free people and included instructions about how to Sabbath. In the New Testament, Jesus seems to model a new approach to the law, again Sabbath is still included.

Purpose

It seems the original purpose of Sabbath was for the people to remember two things. First, that God worked for 6 days and then rested for 1, and so by living as He did we remember Him (and simultaneously remember we are not Him!). Second, the people who were slaves and never allowed a day off were now free. The symbols of the Sabbath meal included reminders of God’s provision and opportunity to thank Him.

In what other ways did people observe the Sabbath? Is there any relevance to today? Does it matter which day it is, what we do, or don’t do? I would agree with Kent that the Sabbath is more about freedom than rules, that it is an opportunity to receive the gift of rest and to remember that we are loved, but I also find it interesting to research. In studying and practicing the Sabbath today, we connect to an ancient past, remembering that the story is bigger and older than we are and that rest, freedom and love are available for all.

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 3 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 4!