The Sabbath – Stop and Heal

Resting on HammockAs I mentioned, I’m in the middle of reading the book “Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell. If you’re not familiar with this book, I encourage you to check it out.

The last few days, I’ve been reading about Rob’s journey to healing of his soul. He points out how so many people go about their day with rage boiling just below the surface because we’ve never dealt with certain things in our past – never been healed in our soul.

I resonate with this because I’ve been there. I went through life not even knowing that I needed healing. The good news is that God loves us too much to let us just exist without growing. Things happened in my life to cause me to seek counsel and dredge up some ugliness in my past and stare it right in the face – and I was healed.

Anyway, the thing Rob mentions as one of the reasons we never are able to be healed in our souls is that we don’t just stop and listen. We’re too busy. We keep moving from one adrenaline rush to the next, never stopping long enough to learn or grow.

My long time readers will recognize this theme because God has been telling me for some time that I need to do just that. One word that keeps coming up over and over (as if someone is still trying to tell me something) is: Sabbath.

Arggghhh! Not again….

Okay, God. I’m listening.

Let me give you a short excerpt from Rob Bell’s Book (pages 117 & 118 from “Velvet Elvis”):

There are so many layers to the healing of the soul. One practice that has brought incredible healing is the taking of a Sabbath. Now when we read the word Sabbath, most of us think that the real issue behind the Sabbath isn’t which day of the week it is but how we live all the time.

I decided to start taking one day a week to cease from work. And what I discovered is that I couldn’t even do it at first.

I would go into depression.

By the afternoon I would be so . . . low.

I realized that my life was all about keeping the adrenaline buzz going and that I was only really happy when I was going all the time. When I stopped to spend a day to remember that I am loved just because I exist, I found out how much of my efforts were about earning something I already have.

Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.

Sabbath is a day when my work is done, even if it isn’t.

Sabbath is a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.

Sabbath is a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.

Sabbath is a day when I remember that when God made the world, he saw that it was good.

Sabbath is a day when I produce nothing.

Sabbath is a day when I remind myself that I am not a machine.

Sabbath is a day when at the end I say, “I didn’t do anything today,” and I don’t add, “And I feel so guilty.”

Sabbath is a day when my phone is turned off, I don’t check my email, and you can’t get ahold of me.

Jesus wants to heal our souls, wants to give us the shalom of God. And so we have to stop. We have to slow down. We have to sit still and stare out the window and let the engine come to an idle. We have to listen to what our inner voice is saying.

I firmly believe that excess “busy-ness” is how satan keeps many of us apart from God and other Christians. If we do not stop once a week to regroup, meditate, pray, rest, connect, idle, ponder, examine (or whatever word you need to put here) how can we heal?

Our physical bodies heal best when we’re sleeping. Doesn’t it make sense that our souls need healing, too?

As you consider your New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to factor in more stopping and listening – more healing and resting. How will you fit in one of the ten commandments about honoring the Sabbath into your schedule this year?


  1. #1 by tina on January 3, 2007 - 1:10 pm

    this velvet elvis stuff is very interesting. i am really enjoying the book.

  2. #2 by Jayden on December 20, 2009 - 1:52 am

    As an Adventist, it’s great to hear Rob’s take of the need for the Sabbath. My church doesn’t have everything right, but one thing I’m very proud of is our recognition and keeping of the Sabbath. No wonder Jesus defended the 4th Commandment more than any other…

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