Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Searching for the Sabbath

     Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to a long time friend's house for a barbecue. I like meeting new people and these kind of functions are great places to do just that. I figure "Hey, this person is my friend; they must have other cool friends...". Okay, all self-admiration aside, it is a good assumption that you'll meet people at a friend's party you'd have something in common with.

     My friend has this huge Bartlett Pear tree in his backyard. It's so big, I mistook it for an Oak. So I'm sitting under this tree, there is a nice breeze, meat is cooking, and I look at the person next to me, whom I didn't know and said, "I could do just this all day.". He laughed and said, "Yeah, it's nice.". "No, I mean I just want to do this all this time...". We then exchanged jokes about how hard it would be to pay our bills, etc, if we just sat around and had beer and barbecue under a tree all day and didn't work...

     ...but I wasn't completely kidding...

     I was going to originally title this post "BBQ and Beer," but I think what's going on here is a little more than just wanting to rock and roll all night and party everyday (okay try, to tell me you aren't know hearing the band KISS in your head...). What I think I'm in need of is some serious rest.  I have finally blown a mental and emotional "gasket" from the enormous amount of simultaneous occupations and hobbies I've been a part of with no break for any longer than the span of a 5-day vacation.  Oh, and trust me, those weren't full breaks either due to the invention of the smart phone.

     So, I get these daily devotionals from Pastor Rick Warren based on his Purpose Driven Life book.  I remembered getting one on resting a few months ago.  Pastor Warren said, "The most common cause of discouragement is physical and emotional exhaustion. Things look worse when you're tired...When you're tired, you lose your confidence. It's that simple...The remedy for physical and emotional exhaustion — and the confidence drain it can be — is rest! Psalm 127:2 says, "God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest" (TLB). Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to sleep. It's amazing how much better things look after you've had a good night's sleep.You'll never be at your best if you're not getting rest."

     Food for thought there.  It's definitely why I don't feel I'm at my best now.  I feel like there is this huge wall between me and my creativity because I'm simply tapped out. While I was thinking about what Pastor Warren had said, my mind started to wander and possible get paranoid due to the exhaustion I was feeling "Wait!" I thought, "Am I missing a Commandment here?  Being a Christian, aren't I supposed to remember the Sabbath and keep in holy because God made the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh or something like that?"


     I started reading everything I could on the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments.  There is quite a lot of differing opinions out there, and all of them claim biblical relevance.  It's hard to know what to believe.  We were actually talking about this in my Sunday School class one Sunday.  We remembered how when we were kids we typically did nothing on Sunday afternoons but nap.  We also remembered how stores weren't open.  If you needed it, you had to get it on Saturday.  Now we could only name a handful or retail establishments that participated in that practice and lamented that we could not get a chicken biscuit from Chik-Fil-A on Sundays.

     What I eventually found was that for Christians, and let me clarify this is a general consensus and not what all believe, that we worship, and potentially rest, on Sunday as that's the day Christ rose from the dead.  Now the "rest" part is where it gets tricky.  While we've tried to go for keeping the Sabbath day holy and resting on Sunday, the actual rest is the rest found in the "Lord of The Sabbath" which is Jesus Christ.  We do not have to have a specified day of rest because now our whole spiritual life rests in Jesus Christ.  There is no more Commandment Sabbath rest.  No work to be done the other six days of the week to give atonement for sin to God.  Only a Commandment to trust in Jesus.  Took me awhile to wrap my head around that quite honestly (and if you're head is reeling, too, you can read about the Sabbath here.  This was just one of the many informational Internet sites upon which I came!). 

     So, here I am trying to make sense of it all, and getting more decidedly wasted tired in the process.  Maybe I'm trying to find some sort of permission to simply do nothing.  I mean, well, as a kid I wasn't allowed to just sit around.  If  chores were done I'd better not claim any "boredom" or" my parents would step in and give me something to do. Keep going; keep doing.  If you don't, you're seen as lazy or worthless. Our society is just so busy, you know?  You snooze you lose" is a saying that comes to much to do, so many people wanting something from you...I'm not even sure where I am trying to go with all this now really...All I know is I'm overwhelmed with fatigue and I know how I got here I just in some twisted way feel I need to know it's okay sometimes to not do anything.  I need to know that I won't suffer from some kind of societal ostracising if I stop for one moment to avoid the burnout I'm either experiencing or to which I have a one-way ticket...

    ...Wait!...Matthew 11:28...".Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Got it.  I give in.  You take everything, Lord...I'm gonna sit here in my recliner and watch a marathon of "Pawn Stars...." 

     Hey, it may not be the completely ideal Sabbath rest, or maybe it is, but He knows I need it and I should listen to Him more often.  After all, I can't swim out into the ocean to grab the starfish if I'm passed out on the beach.

Happy Fishing!

- Red

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