Reflections:…………………………………Sabbath

“………..and on the seventh day He rested.” If you could have a conversation with God would you ask Him what he meant by making this phrase one of the BIG TEN? I certainly can remember when this phrase was literally taken by my parents. Every Sunday was a day of rest. My mother would prepare the Sunday meal on Saturday to avoid cooking on this special day. All commerce stopped as stores closed. Sunday sports events were contained in the pasture next door and only with permission of your parents,–after a time of rest. The silence was golden as we took our Sunday afternoon nap. As an active person, being still can be very difficult. Try doing absolutely nothing at least for 15-20 minutes. We now know resting your body like this can be quite restorative.

Sabbaths are associated with religion, however, we have found this important concept is critical for everyone and especially for people in leadership positions including active moms and persons working in service of others. When we stop to think of all we have been through the past two years everyone’s emotional and relational well-being is at an all-time low.

So, you need to regularly unplug your brain for eight hours or more–this includes your whole self—from whatever you are doing on a regular basis, especially work. A sabbath is an effective way to do so. Here are some suggestions to help you to “be all you can be.”

Block off your calendar and don’t allow any last-minute commitments or interruptions to creep into your sabbath time.

A significant body of research suggests that even thinking about work is a stressful, anxiety-inducing activity, so stay away from your desk and devices which are likely to continually remind you about work.

During your sabbath, do things that nurture your soul. For some, you might read a book, for others, eating a good meal or being active outside might be best. Do whatever works to liven your spirit.

Practice silence. Turn off the television, radio, and podcasts. Go for a walk or a ride, or drive without listening to anything. If you are an active person, like me, this will be very difficult. At first, your mind might race with a million thoughts, but after a while, you’re likely to experience peace, clarity, and those flashes of brilliance that would otherwise be crowded out by all the noise in your life.

These suggestions may seem impossible to some of you who lead such busy lives. The importance can be measured by God making these suggestions when he said “remember the Sabbath” Rest is not a distraction from work. It is a critical part of it. When you are well rested you contribute more passion, energy, and fresh insights into your work and especially into your life.

May you be watchful of over busyness and over-commitment so that you have the capacity to listen and love the place where you are….……………………

Gary

Reflections………………………….”Be Still”

In his book “the no complaining rule:” Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at work: Jon Gordon suggests the But–Positive Technique. It works like this. When you realize you are complaining, you add the word but and then you add a positive thought or positive action.

It was Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown was enjoying a feast with his family. Poor Snoopy wasn’t invited. Snoopy was all alone on his doghouse with dog food and a dog bone. He wasn’t a happy camper. But then he had a thought that changed everything. He thought it could be worse. I could have been born a turkey. A classic example of the But…..Positive technique.

Over the past several weeks I have found myself being somewhat cynical and critical. I have noticed my sleeping habits are noticeably different. Whether resting or awake, I feel drained. I have an unexplainable headache and my lower back is starting to get next to me. As of this writing, I read that the popularity of Putin, Russian President, has risen to 87 percent among the Russian people since his invasion of Ukraine. This completely escapes all reason. Has the world turned upside-down and everybody is right in their own eyes?

What gives? I have begun the “thought of positive action” with every negative I have placed the ‘but’ and put forth a positive action to replace the negative. I hasten to add, in many cases, this is difficult to do, however, negativism is a giant killer.

With waves crashing and thrashing over their boat’s stern, the disciples were understandably in a state of panic. Jesus? He was fast asleep.

Jesus was noted for leaving the chaos and sneaking away, He was able to welcome in the calm that surpasses understanding because of God.

“Be still.”

Two words were all it took to calm the waters. Being apart from the panic allowed Jesus time to reconnect with His Father and to push away the noise–literally and figuratively. I plan to take a similar course of action in my own life and push away for a period of time.

This week I encourage you to slip away, pray, repeat and ‘be still’. Let me know how adding these habits into your routine serves you in your daily life. I would love for you to e-mail me and share your thoughts. I am always a text away. Gary