This has been the summer of mountain biking for me. I’ve been riding as much as possible given all the incredible Pacific Northwest weather. One of the skills I’ve been working on this summer is how to efficiently ride through the corners on a mountain bike trail. If you watch the pro mountain bikers ride or you ride with someone who is really skilled, it’s amazing to watch how they corner. If you want to be able to maintain speed on a mountain bike trail, you have to know how to corner well. This is a lot like life. We fly through the week like it’s a fast-paced straight-away…work, school, sports, music or dance lessons, laundry, shuttling kids around. This happens week after week after week. And then there’s this little thing in between those fast-paced weeks called a “weekend.” A little corner between the two straight-aways of those busy weeks. God actually has something to say about how we “corner” between those weeks. It’s called Sabbath. Here are some ways for you to be intentional about the rhythms of Sabbath in your own life.
Deceleration. Just like a mountain biker has to anticipate the corner in order to decelerate properly, you also have anticipate finding Sabbath rest. In the Old Testament, the Jews would complete all of their work, even their Sabbath meal preparations, before sundown on Friday night. They had to plan. They had to prepare. If you’re going to experience the rhythm and rest of Sabbath, you’re going to have to do some planning and preparation. You’re going to have to be intentional about not being so busy. As parents, you might have to make some choices when it comes to your schedule and your kids’ schedule. You can’t go relentlessly through the week and then burn into the weekend with sports game after sports game year round. You’re going to have to be intentional about deceleration from the pace of life. If not, you’ll fly into the corner with too much speed, you overshoot it, go over the edge, and hurl headlong into a tree (and trust me… that doesn’t feel very good).
Exhilaration. You’ve chosen to decelerate. You’re into the corner. Now comes some of the exhilaration of cruising through the corner. On a mountain bike, cornering is not a passive experience. You focus on your body position. When you get it right, it’s exhilarating to let gravity swing you through. When we Sabbath, it’s exhilarating to let the gravity of God overwhelm you as you take time during Sabbath rest to remember the fullness and wholeness of God and His grace, love, and mercy as He’s given you this new life. In your Sabbath rest, maybe you spend time in God’s word, meditating on the sweetness of Scripture. Maybe you spend time marveling in God’s creation on a hike or in your garden. Maybe you spend time inviting some friends over to share a meal. Whatever you do, experience the exhilarating joy of who God is and what He’s done and continues to do for you.
Acceleration. On a mountain bike, when you’ve cornered well, you actually come out of the corner faster than when you went into the corner. The momentum and exhilaration of the corner accelerates you into the next straight-away. When we’re intentional about Sabbath, we can actually accelerate into the new week with Jesus. Here’s why this is important: your work matters to God. As you work, you’re partnering with God in caring for human beings and renewing this creation. Whether you’re a teacher, a stay-at-home parent, a banker, a nurse, or a garbage truck driver, your work matters to God. As you head into your work week (whatever days of the week those are), accelerate into it with Jesus, walking with Him and being reminded of what He’s done and how much He loves you.
How do you find Sabbath rest in the midst of a fast-paced life and busy week?