Friday, July 3, 2009

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity

All week I’ve been blogging about Keri Wyatt Kent’s new book, Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity. I jumped at the chance to review the book because, a) I love free books, and b) I love Keri Wyatt Kent.

I’ve read numerous books on Sabbath and rest, and they’ve all contributed to my desire to observe the Sabbath. Keri’s book stirred the desire again with the reminder that, truly, God designed us to work hard, and then take a day to rest.

Stay-at-home moms, I can hear you clamoring in my head, “But I’ve got four children under the age of six! How can I possibly rest!”

Relax. Take a deep breath. God is not asking you to neglect your kids. But if you’re exhausted, and I know you are, I want you to read this book. If you’re local, I’ll loan it to you.

The thing I love about this book is the complete absence of guilt. I read it cover to cover and have a renewed desire to take my Sabbath observance a bit further—not because I think I should, but because I desire to experience all that God has for me. And it’s not just about the Sabbath—it’s about creating a life of sanity and balance, where we make room for relationships with God and others. We stop in order to connect with the people we love most.

I’m a fickle observer of the Sabbath. We usually attend church in the morning, and take naps in the afternoon, so the rhythm of the day feels different from the average weekday. Sometimes we invite friends over for dinner on Sunday night, and sometimes I go grocery shopping. Ahem. (Notice I said “fickle observer”?)

I’m wondering what it would be like to take this further. To work together to pick up our house early on Saturday, get the grocery shopping done if I need to, whatever needs to get done. To enjoy a leisurely dinner on Saturday night, turn the television off and play a game or go for a bike ride or a walk. Put the kids to bed and just be with my spouse, with no distractions.

Sunday would be for worship, rest, and fun. After church, we have a simple lunch, take our naps (the big kids can watch TV or read), then we enjoy family time together. Maybe we go swimming or biking. Maybe we have friends over. Maybe we play a game.

This sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

And now I’m asking myself what it requires of me: being willing to work hard on Saturday to make preparations for Sunday, being disciplined to keep the computer off for a full 24-hours, and being fully present to my family. For me, those are the big ones. No doubt the list looks different for you.

One of the things Keri stresses in her book is to simply start somewhere. If you’ve never observed the Sabbath before, maybe just giving yourself permission to leave the laundry and read a book instead is the place to start. Wherever you’re at on your spiritual journey, Keri’s book will encourage and inspire you. It’s like taking a huge breath of crisp, fresh air.

If you’d like to purchase Keri’s book, Rest. A group study guide is included at the back of the book, making this a great “book club” choice!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. Do you observe the Sabbath? What has been the greatest reward to you, personally, from this observance? What are the biggest obstacles you face?


ChosenRebel said...

Taking a Sabbath rest is a statement to your own soul that God is more powerful than you. Pride keeps us from rest more than duty and responsibility.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Thanks for the review! I'm so glad you shared the idea of "progress, not perfection" because that's so important. I've got more ideas on living in Sabbath Simplicity on my blog, so I hope your readers will visit there as well.