How the discipline of Sabbath rest saved my daughter’s life

Written by Jody Token
Published on June 11, 2021

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8 ESV).

My daughter, Megan, is a senior in college and struggles with perfectionism and anxiety. Can anyone relate? But she has discovered the joy of Sabbath rest.  

“I’m a workaholic,” she confessed. 

“I get in a zone and I can’t stop being productive. If I don’t stop and remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, my body will crash,” she says.   

Refueled through the Church

Now, she sees Sabbath as a gift. Her Sabbath provides motivation to work hard all week, so on Sunday, she can enjoy church with her friends, receive the means of grace through the word, remember her identity in Christ through baptism and receive faith nutrition through communion. 

Her intentional effort to protect the Sabbath day now protects her from burnout and exhaustion. She is refreshed and refueled for a new week. 

She doesn’t allow her “to-do” list to enter into her Sabbath day. Instead she gives it to God, and he gives her rest and joy. Not every week is perfect, but it’s a pattern of living that has brought order to her routine. 

Now on Sunday afternoons she takes time to hang out with friends, lay on the couch, do art projects, play her ukulele, or go for a hike.    

A fresh perspective on spiritual disciplines   

It’s important to have a healthy view of spiritual disciplines like honoring the Sabbath Day, prayer, fasting, and service so these disciplines do not become legalistic activities. 

Starting with the correct mindset will help you and your family enjoy spiritual disciplines and not despise them.    

Even Martin Luther in his explanation of the commandment to honor the Sabbath Day said, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and his word but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”    

Consider spiritual disciplines as gifts from your heavenly father to gladly hear and learn. God promises to meet us where we are through these disciplines. He promises to extend his grace and blessings. He promises to meet us in these quiet places.    

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 ESV).   

Gratitude in our disciplines

We enter into a spiritual discipline not to earn God’s love, but because we already have it. We have his complete love and affection through Jesus. From a position of gratitude, we enter into spiritual disciplines. We don’t serve God in order to get more from him because he has given us everything through Jesus. He is our great reward. 

When our motivation changes from “have to” to “want to” our entire Christian perspective shifts. Suddenly, like my daughter, you will see everything as a “good and perfect gift (James 1:17)” including commandments and spiritual disciplines.    

Rest in your home

My daughter surrounds herself with like-minded friends who desire to honor the Sabbath Day. These faith-family friends (her church buddies) help her build a schedule, keep her accountable, and celebrate with her on those Sabbath rest days.    

Consider sitting down with your family to prioritize Sabbath rest into your schedule. Have a family meeting to talk about Sabbath rest and its benefits.   

How can you structure your week so that the Sabbath day is kept holy? What activities do you need to prioritize to give your family the gift of Sabbath rest?  What would you do if the Sabbath day was free to rest and enjoy?  

Live perfectly imperfect

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Jody Token

Jody Token is the creator and coach of The Great Flip, online self-defense, safety and faith-filled empowerment for girls ages six and up. The Great Flip is used at home, at Christian (home) schools and after-school enrichment clubs. Request a free video and lesson plan at www.thegreatflip.com

Read more about Jody

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