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Monday, January 28, 2013

Surrendering to Sabbath, slowly (a series about growth)

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:3 (NIV)

At Shelly Miller’s invitation (admittedly, I received it as a bit of a challenge), I joined a community of women in the Surrendering to Sabbath Society. Initially, I was clear this call was NOT for me. I have friends who are orthodox, and so appreciate the rigor of observing Sabbath. While I try to honor Sundays and keep them Holy, this was a far larger commitment than I could reasonably make, and why on earth would I commit to failure? Look deeper, something within me said. Take baby steps…

I didn’t say no. I said yes. Quietly. So, for the last three weeks, I’ve been getting my mind right in stages. Change for me in this case another form of surrender, is a gradual process. The first week I thought about what could be changed, and how. Mostly, I thought about the woman of Proverbs 31:26. First, I prayed that all I did might be soft…

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26

Being soft in all things was big thing for me. Often, as I rise first on Sunday morning, I crave peace.  Anybody threatening to get between me and my peace is taking their own life in their hands. Certainly, that is not comportment befitting the Sabbath, so it was that hardness, that defensiveness, that I needed to do away with first. See, I can take baby steps.

Without explaining why, I called my mother that first Sunday morning and prayed with her, as we often do before departing for worship. We pray any time we take a notion, but often, despite time zones and thousands of miles, we manage to share early Sunday morning sunrises; meal planning; birds at the window feeders; coffee or tea. We prayed for softness. Soft words, a soft manner, the softness of Proverbs 25:15, married to forbearance, calmness of spirit, soft speech.  I will Surrender to Sabbath by eating the elephant a bite at a time; taking baby steps. am reminded how to eat the elephant. In taking this journey, in making this commitment to long-term change, I am reminded of the wisdom of coach and mentor Holley Gerth who, in the Do What You Can Plan, recommends that to be successful in making changes, you take the really big things you want to do, and break them down into the smallest component parts. She writes,
God can handle the big. When you start out, it’s okay for your part to simply be the small.

I made a sacrificial offering to Surrendering to Sabbath; I felt the blessing of greater peace and calm in my home than has been in some time. It was a start. It was a tiny bite of the elephant. It was a baby step.  I will get there, and God will be glorified in the transformation He works through me. Slowly.

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