Lessons from Psalm 23

Written by Julie Hayden

January 10, 2019

WHEW!!!  What a busy last month!!!  In addition to Christmas and New Years, I had two sons graduate college.   One son moved cross country.  My other son started a new job.  Had a family vacation with twelve family members.   Not to mention the normal day to day activities like work and church life.

Coming into 2019 I’ve been really challenged.  I ended 2018 way past spent – I was exhausted.  I’d been burning my candle at both ends for so long that I didn’t even know how to stop doing it.

I was so excited at the prospect of a family vacation.  The whole Foster clan was going to have about a week together.  My parents.  My sisters and their families.  My sons and I. We’d have sometime at my sister’s lake home in South Carolina and then take a cruise together to Nassau, Bahamas.  For over a year, we’d been planning one last, great family vacation before all the kiddos start adulting and heading out on their own paths.

I knew the vacation was coming.  I kept saying, “I just have to get to December 24th and I’m off till the new year!” The last two months had been cram-packed, day after day after day.  I had attempted some mornings off, but for the most part I would work about 12-15 hours a day and collapse into bed each night to wake up and do it all over again.

While I was excited for the time away, I was also a little bit afraid.  As you can see, I don’t do rest well.  If I’m honest, I really suck at it!  I like working.  I like being busy.  I like having people to see and places to go.

In my planning I decided this trip was the perfect time to read the book 24/6 by Dr. Matthew Sleeth.  It was recommended to me a few months before and I had been waiting for the right moment.  It is all about rest and Sabbath.

Did you know that on average people expect their emails to be answered within 90 minutes and their texts within 90 seconds?  The time pressures even of normal daily life can be intense!

I had been living my life very much by these unwritten rules and expectations.  I had bought into the lie that everything is urgent and must be responded to immediately.  24/7 access to my life was my norm.  I lived my life attached to my phone.  I would go through withdrawal if I left it at home or didn’t have it on me at all times.

And then the boat! For four days I was going to be without cell service.  While that might not mean anything to the rest of you, that thought brought panic within me.  Just a few years before I had resisted entering into the smart phone world and now I was addicted to an expensive piece of plastic.

49123132_1723588791075533_8014677246583242752_nI feverishly checked for new items on facebook and email while sitting on the deck of the ship waiting to set sail.  Soon the anchors were lifted.  The ropes released.  And my phone would be on airplane mode.  For over four days, I didn’t have emails to check.  I didn’t have Facebook to scan.  I didn’t get any text messages from the outside world.

I was amazed at the time I had.  Time I could spend with those that I was with. Time I could just be.  Drinking coffee while reading a book on the deck.  Going to a tea party with my sister and niece.  Sitting in a hot tub talking with my sons.  Having long dinners with my family.

Resting.

Praying.

Being still and silent.

Psalm 23: 2,3a “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul……”

Sometimes the Lord has to MAKE me to lie down.  It isn’t easy for me to press the pause button, let alone stop.

The Sabbath was instituted for man, not man for the Sabbath.  The Sabbath is a time God set aside for us to STOP from our labors.  To reflect.  To be still.  To know Him.  To celebrate Him and those around us.

In the Ten Commandmens Number 4 has the most written about it.  It starts off in Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. ”

Remember.   In case you forget, remember the Sabbath.

Don’t forget……Remember.

Remember.

It’s been easy for me to forget the Sabbath.  It was meant to be a holy time.  God didn’t need to rest after creation.  He doesn’t get tired.  But He did pause to give us a pattern – a weekly return to the holy.  A time to reflect on His goodness.  To cease from our striving and just know Him and His goodness.  To reflect on all of who He is.

I’m seeking to take more time to remember the Sabbath this year. It probably won’t be on Sundays for me.  But I want to press pause in my life and unplug with God and with those I love.  To remember.  To see the holy in the ordinary.  To worship the Creator of all.  To rest and reflect on how far the Lord has brought us all.

 

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