Contemplating Sabbath

Ever since our first semester of seminary when we heard examples of how to keep sabbath time in our lives I have been considering what this would look like or possibly could look like in my life. As a parent it seems I need to be somewhat flexible on this. I also know that staying up late working on homework Saturday simply to be free from doing homework Sunday would not be a plan that would work for me. There are many other possibilities I considered along the way, but nothing that I really practiced.

I would start each semester or time of transition by planning out when I would take time to take care of myself — such as carving out yoga time, time for groups I like to attend, and so on. Sometimes this works better than other time and maintaining a yoga and exercise schedule certainly is an important part of my self-care plan; however, I no longer thing it’s truly sabbath time.

I’m considering doing a Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown. This would give me Saturday night to relax with family or friends (something that comes naturally to me on both Friday and Saturday night actually), and leaves Sunday night for returning to school or other work. I would still need to be careful about not leaving too much for Sunday night although this semester is the perfect semester to experiment since my class load is lighter on Mondays.

My brain can’t help but wonder how I would work this with an on-call schedule such as if/when I again start working in a hospital in the chaplain role … and then I tell myself that is no reason to not to try it now.

So, starting in just over an hour I will begin my Sabbath time. I will try to be gentle with myself in this transition as I attempt to discern what are appropriate Sabbath activities. I think, at least initially, I will fast from social media during this time, but still allow electronics in various forms (especially my e-reader — just for pleasure rather than work).

The main thing though is that I will free myself from the “should” feeling of what I should be doing — and the long “to-do” list that I always have.

I think that I will also find some additional meditation or spiritual practice books to dig into on Sundays. I could probably just look on my book shelves for books I have not had a chance to start reading yet, but if you have recommendations, please leave a comment. Since starting seminary my personal reflection and inspirational reading has moved to those that can be read in very short spurts of time (like 10 minutes each morning) rather than slowly devoured word by word over an afternoon.

I may even come back and write many Sunday evenings about how the experience was for me. How slowing down, connecting intentionally with God and the community God has given me — as well as intentionally connecting with myself — feels and how it nourishes my soul.

For tomorrow we already have a few plans, and most of them such as attending church and going swimming at the Y as a family I think fit in well with a day of rest. A few things may need to be altered however, and I am already thinking the day will likely seem extremely short and that the benefits of take such intentional sabbath will come after repeatedly keeping such time set aside as sacred.

Please comment with your own personal experience with sabbath time!

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