Welcome Summer!

Welcome Summer

Even though it feels like summer most of the year in my small corner of the world, tomorrow marks the official start of summer.  I have only the fondest memories of summer as a kid, when my mom would throw us a “School’s Out” Party, endless water fights in the backyard with my siblings, getting water-logged from all of the swimming we did, and of course, spending all day playing at the beach.

By the end of August, our hair had turned lighter and our skin would be golden brown, all thanks to the hours we spent in the sun.

Our family always looks forward to our annual summer vacation to Wildwood, NJ, with its miles of beaches and boardwalk, the roller coasters and water parks that nearly touch the Atlantic, and of course, the food!  It’s a tradition that we’ve had for as long as I can remember, and that I’m most looking forward to this summer.

What are some things you’re looking forward to this summer?

Read about what my friends over at Circles of Faith are looking forward to, as well!

sabbath

i am a planner.  the calendar app on my phone is probably one of my favorites.  i love scheduling my days down to the hour to maximize efficiency and optimize productivity.  i’m constantly double checking to make sure that i’m running on schedule.  now before you say or think anything, i know that i have issues.  however, it is important to me to be productive because i want to get all of my “work” done in six days so that i can rest on the seventh.  now, i’m not really legalistic in which day of the week that i sabbath, but i try to get a full 24 hours of rest.

in a world of “go! go! go!” and “do! do! do!”, taking one day off seems counter-cultural.  also, our work week in america has five days of work and a two-day weekend.  but that’s not biblical!  look at what God did in Genesis – six days of work, one day of rest.  that is how i schedule the days of my week.  it took me a while to get to this place, though.

i first heard about the concept of sabbathing through intervarsity in college, but at the time, i was kind of anti.  i didn’t fully realize its importance.  over the past few years, though, i have fully practiced this spiritual discipline and have seen living proof of the fact that God can do more in my six days than i can do in seven.  it’s one of the ten commandments.  i mean, if the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present Perfect God made the universe and all of creation in six days and chose the seventh to rest, what makes me think that i can, in my finite, mortal and ailing flesh, get away with not resting?  it definitely keeps me humble, and like James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”

if you don’t sabbath, i encourage you to pray about it and start NOW.  it doesn’t have to be a full day at first, but carve out some time specifically in your week to rest.  make it a priority.  write it in your calendar with permanent marker.

some things i think are key to sabbathing:

  • prayer.  use this time to talk to God and make sure you spend time listening!
  • fasting.  i don’t fast every time i sabbath, but most often times, i do.  it helps me remember why i’m sabbathing (rest, communion with Jesus, praying about a situation, etc.)
  • reading.  the Word.  obvi.
  • worship.  reflect on the goodness all around you, the answered prayers, the blessings, and thank God for them.
  • fellowship.  hang out with people you love or catch up with long-distance friends.  here’s where sometimes i break the fast because eating together is often times a part of fellowship (and i’m thankful for that)!
  • serve.  give something to some who needs it.  cook a meal.  clean your house (if you don’t consider it work!). the point is to get your mind off yourself for a bit and think about others.
  • enjoy.  do something you love, someplace you feel closest to God.  for me, it’s taking a walk along the beach.  i need to see the ocean on my sabbath.
  • coffee. need i say more?

these are not concrete, legal requirements of taking a sabbath, but some guidelines that i follow and can help you get started.  also, isaiah 58 is an incredible outline of true fasting.

enjoy your rest!  i’m enjoying mine.