About three months ago, as I finished up my senior year of college and neared graduation, I was feeling the crazy stress, excitement, uncertainty, and busyness that accompany the end of the school year. I was also feeling them to a higher degree, I think, because it would be my final end-of-the-school-year experience (as far as I knew…but that’s another story!)
Anyway, in part because of the stress and busyness that accompanied that time, but also for many other reasons, I decided that I wanted to cultivate the habit of Sabbath rest. Beginning with the first week of the summer, I committed to taking one day a week as a true Sabbath. For me that meant taking a break from chores, shopping, exercising and anything else that I considered work, and most importantly, taking a complete Sabbath from technology for the day.
I shared my intentions with my family and close friends, which led to some great discussions about what it means to observe the Sabbath, what spending time with God looks like for us, and what things in our lives we felt were life-taking versus life-giving. I took up the practice with wonderful support from them, and great excitement on my part.
It went really well! For a while. I truly thought that I was beginning a no-turning-back lifestyle change. I figured once I starting working Sabbath rest into the rhythm of my life, and experiencing the wonderful benefits of rest, reordering my priorities, and letting my life be shaped by intentional time with God, I wouldn’t be able to give it up. But the summer has a busyness all its own. It’s one of a different character than the school year, but a busyness all the same. It became easier and easier for me to water down my Sabbath commitment (oh, I’ll only check my email once, or, I’ll just have to skip Sabbath this Sunday) as the summer progressed.
One of the things that excites and inspires me about being here at ELCA World Hunger is that there is so much good work going on, and so much good work to do. It’s energizing and fills me with hope. Learning more about the root causes of hunger and poverty and starting to engage in work to fight hunger and poverty makes me want to learn more, do more, and work harder. It’s awesome.
Naturally my full-time internship has contributed to the busyness of my summer. But I’m not placing blame or pointing to one source for the watering down of my Sabbath commitment, or saying that my goal of observing the Sabbath this summer has been a complete failure — I have absolutely felt sustained and nourished and see small, cool shifts in my thinking and my habits. The point of this blog is to create some public accountability as I reaffirm my commitment and begin again to intentionally and truly cultivate that restful rhythm one day of every week.
It’s also to explore the idea of resting in God, trusting and placing faith in God’s action, and surrendering fear, anxiety and control in the midst of our work against hunger and poverty. So I see this as a jumping off point. I’m going to keep thinking about this, and welcome your thoughts and experiences, too! I’ll check in with you all about how my Sabbath-keeping is going in a few weeks, and how it’s affecting my continued commitment to fight hunger and poverty.