Shabbat Part One…

One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last three months is that I don’t do “rest” very well. This knowledge has really shaken up my fast paced, full of striving world. I want rest. I don’t want to operate from a worn out, limping place in my soul. No, I want to run with endurance like a cross country athlete.

Many things in my life have changed over the last few months. One of those changes has been where I attend church. I’m really thankful to now be a part of a church family that honors Israel and prays for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

I’ve been like a sponge soaking up “all things Israel” and I so desperately want to learn more about what Jewish people do and why they do it.

And Shabbat is one of those things that I want to “get”. The Sabbath is a commandment as well as a gift to us from God.

No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as GOD, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you. Don’t ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and GOD, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength. That’s why GOD, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest. Deut. 5:12-15

I’m blessed in my life to know a couple of people who have been observing Shabbat for quite some time now. I know the difference it’s made in their lives, and I want that same kind of difference to rain peace and rest over me. And I also want the blessings of God…who doesn’t?!?

Pastor Mary Jo Pierce at Gateway Church has been instrumental in teaching me, and so many others, about Shabbat and what it means to honor God by observing the Sabbath. She often references a quote from Joe Lieberman’s book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath. The quote is originally from the Talmud:

“The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Moses in my storehouse is a goodly gift, and Sabbath is its name.”

The Sabbath is a twenty-four hour period of time set apart to honor God and to rest. It should look differently than the normal routine of your week. Whatever is work or labor intensive to you should be replaced with rest and fun. Yes, fun…do you remember what that is?!

Are you thinking you don’t have time for that?? I get it. It definitely takes a mental shift to embrace this new way of life.

I thought, “Oh this will be no big deal. I’ll light some candles, read some prayers, have a fabulous meal….” But let’s just say my first time to observe Shabbat looked anything like what I thought it would. I am a perfectionist. I can be Type A when I am expected to perform well. I had placed a lot of expectations upon myself. I mean, who wants to fail at their first attempt at something deemed “holy”?! I sure didn’t.

But as you’ll read, my story reveals that I did fail by perfectionist standards. The Lord taught me great lessons through it all, and my performance driven self took a back seat to the Holy God who met me on Achievement Avenue. I didn’t win a blue ribbon for the most perfect Shabbat gathering, but I did win a VIP pass into the presence of our God Most High!

**My Shabbat experience is highlighted in my blog entry: Shabbat Part Two**

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