Monday, November 29, 2021

Slipping Away

It may have come as a surprise to you to hear that I have been reclaiming my Sabbath. It's been no secret that I instituted a Sabbath practice about ten years ago that has grown quite a bit since those early days. What began as an opportunity to take a break from the constant grind of searching for a job and trying to prove myself became a real habit of rest, something that I came to look forward to even long after I "needed" it.

But as so often happens, I let myself ride down a bit of a slippery slope and it wasn't a falling away all at once, but a gradual slipping until all of a sudden, my Sabbath was no longer something that I recognized...let alone practiced. 

It started last year when I undertook the writing of my newest book, a daily devotional. I wanted to ensure that I had one good thought for each day of the year, so I told myself that I would turn my computer on briefly in the morning, even on the Sabbath, and write that day's devotional. Then, I would turn my computer off and enjoy the rest of my Sabbath. 

A few months in, I decided that maybe I would go ahead and add my morning daily challenges on my solitaire game. This would help to wake my brain up and engage it for the day. Then, I would turn my computer off. 

Then, the pandemic hit, and my work schedule got all crazy. I volunteered to work through the shutdown, so I would check my email on that Sunday morning, as well, to see if my boss had anything to say about Monday's work. A few weeks into that, I realized that my boss was more prone to email on Sunday afternoon or evening, so I started turning my computer on twice on Sundays - once in the morning to write my devotional and play a couple of games and once in the evening to check my email. 

From there, it didn't take long before I figured out that maybe one of my coworkers on Facebook had heard something before I had, so I started logging into Facebook on Sundays to see whether anyone else was posting about work for the upcoming week. That's when I realized that the glitch in Facebook that was making me miss most of my posts was relatively fixed if I didn't skip a day of logging in, so I started logging in just to make sure I would see everything on Monday when I came back. 

And hey, if I'm checking Facebook, I might as well scroll through Twitter real quick, too. 

And then, stores started shutting down and mandates started going into place and my mom was worried about going out, which made me the shopper in the family, so I stopped objecting to shopping on Sundays (a practice I instituted because it would make someone else work on a day that I had set aside not to work) and started running out whenever we needed something, especially something that may have been hard to find (like toilet paper). 

To top it all off, church went virtual and now, I had a real dilemma - log into Facebook in the middle of a Sabbath to livestream my services...or skip them, and the virtual fellowship, and catch a replay sometime later in the week. 

Little by little by little, I let my Sabbath get eaten away. It started innocently enough, with a commitment to make a meaningful devotional and something authentic to offer to my fellow Christians who want to engage with and love the Bible. From there, though, it became easier and easier to chip away a little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more until my longer looked that different from any other day of the week. 

Oh, I kept telling myself it was still my Sabbath, wasn't. It didn't feel like it any more. It was no longer full of rest, but of so many lesser things. "Today is the Sabbath" was no longer a reason to abstain from something - from anything - because hey, I was already doing x, y, and z....what's a little q matter at this point?

And that's how it happens, for far too many of us. It's not that we turn our backs or that we take a hard fall. It's that we just start slipping and then, it takes so little to keep moving just a little further away...a little further away...a little further away.... 

But the good news is that there's a way back. And that's the journey I am on right now. Reclaiming the Sabbath. 

Because my soul craves rest.  

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