Thoughts on Sabbath

The discipline of having a Sabbath is something that I have never done well. My personality drives me to always be doing something… even if I’m home, I’m probably doing some type of work. It was only a few days ago that I realized that I had driven myself to a place where I was teetering on the edge of my sanity (…that might be a little dramatic, but that’s how I was feeling) because I not was actively practicing a Sabbath rest.

I was ready to blame my frantic pace on the people around me… but that wouldn’t be fair. As a friend pointed out to me on Thursday, I helped create the world that I am currently living in. So, for me, the past few days have been about recovery and setting boundaries; boundaries that I intend to keep. As a single person in ministry, I have found that it is really easy to take on activities and projects without a second thought… it’s the idea that I’m helping out the people with spouses and kids so that they aren’t overburdened. But I realized that I was beginning to miss out on my life… my family, my friends, my hobbies, etc., etc. And that began to frustrate me. I was angry at God for putting me in the position where I was overworked for His sake.

Then I received some really good words of wisdom from two different people that I absolutely trust. They helped me see that a lot of what I have been feeling has come out of what I have helped create. I don’t need to say yes to everything. I don’t have to carry everyone else’s burdens. I just need to do what God has called me to do. Nothing more, nothing less.

Which brings me to the weekend. I’ve spent the majority of the past 60 or so hours just resting. Reading, chatting with friends, watching TV, scrapbooking… resting. It has also been a good time of self-reflection. I’ve been thinking about where I am and where I want to end up and how to get there. I’ve spent a lot of time praying about my future and contemplating what the next few years might look like for me. I guess the thing I’ve learned most from my Sabbath weekend is (in its very beginning stages) how to submit my life to God. It’s something that I’ve been attempting for the past year – to fully submit – but that, I’m finding, starts with stopping… with not trying to DO everything, but just allowing myself to BE.

I am currently reading Mark Labberton’s “The Dangerous Act of Worship” (which, by the way, I highly recommend for all worship leaders, but also for any person who breathes) and I think he did a great job in summarizing why Sabbath is important:

“Practicing biblical rest in some pattern of sabbath-keeping is not a sign of abdication, nor arrogance, nor bourgeois indulgence. Instead it means we stop at least once a week to remember that we are not God.”

I am not God. What a concept.

Sabbath isn’t about giving up control of my life, it’s about acknowledging that my life shouldn’t be mine to control in the first place when submitted to God’s will. Sabbath is as much apart of what I do and who I am as a worship leader as anything I might say or do when I stand on a platform on any given Sunday.

Sabbath is important. It stinks that I had to go through the week I did in order to realize it.


About jenthigpenn

Worshipper by design, worship leader by calling... ordinary becoming extraordinary by the grace of God.
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