Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When Sickness Becomes Your Sabbath

I'm blogging from bed today, on doctor's orders to keep my butt in bed for the rest of the week to knock out bronchitis and probably pneumonia. It's no secret that I have trouble keeping the Sabbath. Somehow, I can totally trust God to do more with 90% of my finances than I can with 100%. But I can't trust him to do more in 6 days of my time than I can do in 7. I mean, intellectually I believe that, but I don't live like I believe it. I've written about it, I've preached on it, but I just have trouble living it. During my 50 days of focus at the beginning of the year, one of my goals was to take my day off more consistently- not go into work, not check work emails, not do anything even remotely work related. And it turned out to be the one goal that I just couldn't consistently meet.

I don't know who said it, but I heard or read once that if you don't observe the Sabbath in some form, then sickness will eventually and inevitably become your Sabbath. That really resonated with me when I first heard it. And it seems to be true in my life.

And you know you are really sick (in the head) when a doctor tells you that you must stay at home for a week, and after coming to grips that work will still be there when you return, your immediate thought is "Oh good! That gives me time to get all that stuff done at the house." Ridiculous.

So that's my confession. I'm a Sabbath breaker. Even when sickness has turned into my Sabbath. I've read books on it. I've heard sermons on it. And I've even preached on it. But somehow, I just can't get to a place where I totally trust God with my time.

Anybody out there who has learned these lessons and are living wisely as a result? Any advice?


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Jenny Miller said...

I've had a Sabbath moment in my life. I was a total people pleaser, TOTALLY burning my candle at BOTH ends....work, work, work, work....dragging my family around like crazy. Finally, God halted me in my tracks.

Literally, I went from being EVERYTHING in the church to doing NOTHING in the church....all my ministries were halted. I entered into a DEEP depression. It was in the middle of winter...I felt useless, worthless...just horrible.

Someone I came across the book "The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul By Restoring Sabbath" and it changed my life. I also read the book "While God Waits: Making Sense of Divine Delays."

They both rocked my world. I found that I had made my identity in WHAT I was doing, instead of WHO I really was in Christ. It took me to have everything stripped away to finally find that God's perfect will for me at that time was to do NOTHING.

Definitely not an easy lesson for a mover and shaker!!!

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Pat said...

I'm not finding it right now, but somewhere in the prophets, it talks about how the exile was God's way of collecting on the Sabbaths owed to the land. Scary thought. Stay in bed and get well!

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Martha Christian said...

Hi Heather. I completely relate to your situation. What I have found is that when I am forced into that "sabbath," I finally see that I have put someone else, myself, or something else in the place where God should be. I have also found myself in a whirlwind of mad activity that gets me spun up to the point that I crash into unproductivity and malaise. Sabbath rest is really a daily thing. I think if we stop trying to impress ourselves and others with ourselves, and consider what God might have us do and say each day, we would stay healthier. Amazingly, the Holy Spirit in us does keep us centered quite well, even if we have to weaken physically in the process. God WILL forever be sovereign! I guess if we submit early-on we might be able to skirt the sickness thing.
God bless you. Thanks for speaking out on something that is uniquely indicative of our time and really, not such a good thing at all....we all need to take heed in this area I think. I hope you are feeling better. Martha

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Heather, So sad that you are not feeling well. We missed you terribly in San Antonio this week. There were so many times when in the middle of a great discussion, I wondered, "What would Heather say if she were here?" Rest my friend and may God grant you healing in a speedy fashion.
Alan Pace


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