When life becomes a whirling merry-go-round spinning out of control, do you want to cry out, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”?
This was my mother’s favorite saying. As a child, I could never understand why she said that. After all, life was fun! It was full of adventure – even if I did have to go to school or do chores. That was all part of the wonderful Game of Life. Why would anyone want to stop playing?
Then I grew up, raised kids of my own, started a career in merchandising, blogging, ministry, pets, house, hurricanes… and suddenly I found myself feeling the same way, crying out for everything to just stop!
Is this something you cry out? Or maybe think about? Oh, not that you want to die, or permanently leave the planet, but just take some time to catch your breath?
God knows this. That’s why He gave us the Sabbath. Not just for times when life gets too hard and we can’t take it anymore; not just for those times life has spun way too fast and nausea has set in, but it is a regular meeting time with Him to find rest and rejuvenation so we don’t get to that point.
I forgot that.
Yesterday was the Sabbath. I’ve had an extremely busy month – more so than usual – and am facing an even busier couple of weeks before our Israel trip, then a return home to the heaviest retail month, followed by a retreat I am leading at the beginning of January.
Normally, I can take all this in stride. People ask me how I do it. I used to answer that I didn’t know, but have come to realize it is faith that gets me through. And in the last few years, as life has gotten busier than it ever was when the kids were little, I know it is because I take advantage of the precious gift my Abba gave me. I truly shut down and disconnect from work and worry on His Sabbath. My brain and emotions take a rest. I step off the careening merry-go-round of life and simply enjoy being in His presence. Not that it came easily, but one step at a time and I’ve learned from Him how to do it.
But last week I faced hurricane Matthew and a fear I thought was long gone, so I bugged out and left the state of Florida. Between the cat that cried/screamed the whole 9 hour trip north, and some of the trip home again, and the job that demanded I work all weekend to ensure magazines were on the store shelves, and the lack of cell phone and internet signal making it more challenging than it should be, and the myriad of other things going on in family and ministry, I was in a constant state of stress.
Yesterday I was in my rabbi’s Torah class having a hard time focusing. Rabbi Matthew Salathe is a gifted and engaging teacher, but I just couldn’t focus. Though I was looking forward to worshipping with my temple family, I suddenly realized it was really time to shut down – to get off the ride completely.
I went home, slept for several hours, ate a couple of pre-prepared meals, spent time with my granddaughter, read the Word and some articles by FFOZ, and slept some more. When it was time to close the Sabbath, I felt rejuvenated, ready to face the coming week’s challenges. In fact, my granddaughter and I made a grocery list and headed to the grocery store to get a leg up on the list of chores for today – which includes building a sukkah.
It is amazing how neglecting the Sabbath just one week made life unbearable, which is sad because life, too, is a gift. Abundant life is a blessing.
Yeshua told us, “The Sabbath was made for man.” When we disconnect, unplug, and step out of the Game of Life, we truly experience the joy of the precious gift of the Sabbath. And as we return to the merry-go-round, we find it is once more the pleasant ride that we never want to stop riding.