The fourth commandment tells us to practice the Sabbath, dedicating one day a week to rest. Practicing the Sabbath helps us keep things in perspective. It reminds us that our lives are not supposed to just be about work and keeping busy! Rather, our lives are about connecting with God! That’s not to say we shouldn’t work, or do activities, or be productive, but rather we have rhythms of work and rest. This helps us keep our work in perspective and we’re reminded that God is the one that is the center of our lives. We hope that with these practices you'll explore some new, simple, ways of resting.
Challenge: Read a fiction book for fun.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT
You may be wondering what is spiritual about reading a fiction book. Well, there’s nothing particularly spiritual about reading a fiction book, except it’s a tangible reminder that we can do things just for fun and not to be productive or to learn something. It’s also a great way to find new ways to experience rest that doesn’t involve a screen. So today pick up a book and enjoy some rest!
Challenge: Don’t do any chores today.
“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” Genesis 2:2-3 NLT
Even God needs rest. In the story of the creation of the world we see God create all sorts of things and then at the end he rests. God created humans in his image and so by default we too need rest! We can follow the model of God by resting from our work. It reminds us that we are human beings not human doings. We are loved by God not for what we produce, but because we are his creation. Resting one day a week reminds us we are not just what we do. Take a break from doing today to truly rest!
Challenge: Practice a hobby you enjoy.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul." Psalm 23:1-3 NIV
Part of the journey of learning to practice the Sabbath is finding the things that refresh our souls. Sabbath doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sit around doing nothing. (Although sometimes that might be what you need!) Sabbath is about rest and rejuvenation which can often be found through finding ways to play.
What if you don’t have a hobby?
A word of advice for hobbies is this: “If you work with your hands, play with your mind. If you work with your mind, play with your hands.” This just means that if your work is a lot of physical labor, maybe try to rest your body and enjoy doing something with your mind like reading or doing a puzzle. If you work with your mind, try a hobby that uses your body like exercising or gardening or baking.
Just remember, the Sabbath isn’t about producing something, so don’t feel the need to pick a “productive” hobby. Pick a rejuvenating hobby that brings you joy.
Hobbies with kids:
Paint or color
Read a book
Do a dance exercise video
Do a puzzle
Challenge: Take a nap. No seriously, take a nap.
I bet you laughed at this challenge, right? Really, taking a nap is a part of the Fusion Lent Challenge? Yep! A big part of Sabbath is about resting and recharging. Sometimes what you need to rest is some good quality sleep!
In 1 Kings 19:1-9, the prophet Elijah is fleeing from his enemies. He has had a rough couple of days and quite frankly he’s had enough. Elijah has a bit of a meltdown, and then he takes a nap and is woken up by an angel who has provided a snack. This rest and food provided enough strength for Elijah to carry on on his journey.
This small part of Elijah’s story is a reminder to us that even when life is really hard, sometimes what we need to sustain us is a nap and a snack. Maybe use the snack as an incentive to get your kids to participate in this challenge :)
Challenge: Pick a day where you don’t schedule any activities or appointments.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.” Exodus 20-8-10 NLT
We are commanded to rest. This is a very countercultural idea in our world these days. We fill up our week with work and our weekends with activities and chores and projects and suddenly it’s time to go back to work again. This isn’t the life God desired for us to live! Practice the Sabbath by setting aside an entire day where you don’t schedule anything for the day. Use this day to do some of the other practices we’ve talked about in this series. Go for a walk or read a book. Listen to worship music or do a hobby. Truly allow yourself to rest.
Pro-tip: While it might feel a little backwards, it will likely take a little take pre-planning to not plan anything. Use this challenge today to plan a day in the next couple weeks to not plan anything.
Challenge: Turn off all notifications on your phone for the day.
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6:30-32 NIV
Jesus didn’t have a smartphone so there’s not a lot in the Bible about how we should handle the constant buzzing and notifications our phones give us each day. But, I would venture to guess that Jesus would take time to retreat from all of the daily noise just like he often did in his ministry on Earth. Jesus consistently got away from the action to rest. Sometimes we need to get away from all of the action on our phones so we too can rest. Today, turn off all notifications on your phone (except anyone who may need to contact you in emergencies). Allow yourself to be in the moment of whatever you are doing and not be distracted by the dings and buzzes.
Bonus: Put your phone somewhere where you won’t be tempted to check it and go about your day without your phone at all.
Challenge: Spend some time enjoying nature.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.” Psalm 19:1-2 NLT
All of creation was made by God and reflects the glory of God. If it’s warm enough, try to spend some time outside enjoying nature! Praise God for the way the crystals of snow are so intricately created and how each one is unique. Marvel at how the sun creates colors in the sky.
If it’s not warm enough to go outside:
Put this egg back and draw another one. You can come back to this on a warmer day!
Bundle up and go anyway! (**obviously don’t do this if temperatures are dangerously cold) If it’s just a little chillier than you prefer, you might be surprised at how much fun you have anyway!
Give a houseplant a little extra TLC. Marvel at how even the nature inside your house has been created.
Pull up a cozy chair and look out the window for a bit. What do you notice?