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Photo credit:  Elizabeth Shows Caffey; reuse with permission only

“So what do you actually do on your Sabbath?”  It’s a question I have received many times.  Usually, I think people want to make sure I am resting and reenergizing.  Or maybe they are imagining what they would do with a Sabbath day.  Or, maybe just the word “Sabbath” is a little too churchy and weird, and so they are trying to figure it out – does it just mean “day off”?

The truth is, usually my Sabbath day is just that – a day off where I do the same stuff everyone else does on their day off.  I run errands, clean the house, try to go to an exercise class, go to a doctor’s appointment, get my hair cut, or, if I’m lucky, get a nap.  I do not think a single Sabbath has consisted of me “sitting around all day and eating bonbons,” as many have asked.  Luxuriating may happen for an hour, but that is rare, and it never extends to a whole day.  And although I do try to take care of my physical well-being, I can rarely be found praying, meditating, or studying all day.

But this past Monday and Tuesday, I converted my Sabbath to a true Sabbath.  I got away with four other clergy friends, and we took a true Sabbath – not answering work emails (for the most part), not tending to the laundry, not running errands, but just relaxing, sharing stories about our ministries, talking about our dreams, reflecting on our relationships, and even exchanging ideas about leadership.  Of course, there was also yummy food, lots of laughter, sleeping in, and balancing a nice long hike with some comfy time on the couch.  But because we stepped away from the everyday stuff of life and work, we all actually reconnected with the intention of Sabbath – of taking time apart to reconnect with God, with others, and with ourselves.

Now, I know how hard finding true Sabbath time can be.  Lord knows, I am not sure when the last time my “Sabbath day” felt like this much of a Sabbath.  But I suspect that there might be ways that we can create little moments of Sabbath in our lives.  Maybe it’s putting down technology for a few hours.  Maybe it’s mixing up the family’s routine to spend unstructured time together.  Maybe it is neglecting that “to do” list for a few hours to read, pray, or connect with God, others, and/or ourselves.  You will have to be creative to find it – you may even have to just claim it by turning off all stimulation in the car so that the ten minutes of alone time you get is dedicated to Sabbath.  Regardless of the restrictions on your time, Sabbath is actually about intentionality – intentionally creating little blocks of time set apart.  It takes work, but when you intentionally make that space, not only are you restored, and your relationships enriched, but also, you may be able to finally hear the Holy Spirit’s whisper.  I cannot wait to hear about your creative creations of Sabbath, and the new ways your spirit is renewed!