Fall often feels like it brings with it a return a full schedule. All the usual programs and lessons begin in our communities. Ministries start up again at church. A return to school for some.
It can seem like a calendar that had space in it over the summer is quickly filled up completely again. This feels good for a while, but often feels overwhelming in not too long, as we look at a calendar with barely enough time to run from one thing to the next. We begin to miss the days when we didn't have to hurry out the door, the time spent camping, the blank spaces on our calendars.
And, I think we miss it because that's what we were created for. We weren't created to always be running with overflowing calendars, and to always be connected to everyone through our phones. We miss the blank spaces in our calendars, the quiet times, because we were created to need them.
As my summer drew to a close, it seemed I was hearing a lot about the importance of Sabbath in our lives, about our need for it. A sermon at church and a couple books I picked up for other reasons were all about it.
It's not something I've heard a lot about over the years. Even though it's one of the Ten Commandments we seem to like to ignore this one. And, it's never been one I was much inclined to really look at.
My association with what Sabbath was about for a long time came from another family in our neighbourhood growing up. They had kids the same age as my sisters and I, and many similar family values, so we spent a lot of time playing with them - except on their Sabbath. It's not that they weren't allowed to play with us that day, but more that their list of things they weren't allowed to do on their Sabbath was so long there was very little of our usual activities and games we could play. For a long time that heavily influenced my thoughts and attitudes about Sabbath.
But, my those have changed and been challenged recently as I've heard more about it. In the past, I could give you the theological arguement about why Sabbath was important, but I had no interest in it and didn't see the need for it in my own life. I didn't want a day full of rules about what I could and couldn't do.
But, I've realized lately that's not what it's about at all. It's not about rules. That's not why God put the Sabbath in His Ten Commandments. It's about the space we need in our lives- for rest, for fun, for listening to God, for taking the break from the usual demands of our lives.
So, maybe it's time for me to look at Sabbath differently. Time for me to reconsider it for my own life. And maybe it's that time for you as well.
I don't know yet what this looks like in my life, but I'm quickly realizing I have to plan for it. Creating the space won't just happen. I'm much better at filling up all the spaces on my calendar, rather than leaving the blank spaces alone.
What about you? Do you need to create a Sabbath in your life?
Whether it's a day a week, a half a day, or even a few hours, we all have to start somewhere with it, and see where it goes from there.
What does it need to look like for you?
We're all different, so what a Sabbath looks like isn't something we can dictate for another person.
What would bring rest and fun for you? What would it look like for you to disconnect for that time from the usual demands of life?
How can you create space to really hear from God in that time?
We're all going to answer these questions differently. That's why we can't make Sabbath all about rules - about things you can or cannot do. What answers these questions for one of us, might not be the answer for another person. The important part is that we make the time.
In our busy, hyper-connected world maybe we need to take the fourth commandment a little more seriously than we have been.