Resisting [for] the Sabbath
"...inevitably sets this God on a collision course with the gods of insatiable productivity." (Walter Bruggemann, Sabbath as Resistance)
My almost five-year-old looks at the TV and then at me and says, "Is today the Sabbath day?" almost every day. He knows now, even though we've only been doing this a few weeks, that Sabbath day means no TV. At this point in his life, the Sabbath is a list of "do-nots" with the most important one for him "Thou shalt not use screens on the Sabbath."
Most often, I convince myself not do such things because I don't want my son to grow up legalistic. But there came a point where I had to tell myself it's OK if he thinks it's just rules right now. One day he'll understand the heart behind the law. At this point, I need to stop resisting the Sabbath pull, and resist for the Sabbath, and make it a practical part of our home life. I don't think TV is wrong or screens are wrong or anything of the sort, but I do believe in Christian discipline—at least theoretically I do. Practically, I don't prefer it. It means I have to stop doing work on Wednesdays. It means I can't just sit my son down in front of the TV so I can send emails, work on grants, write articles and attempt to market my book by randomly doing everything I can think of or anything Google tells me will help me sell, sell, sell. It means I have to prepare on Tuesdays by doing more laundry, making sure to vacuum, and wash the cloth diaper load. Last night I plopped in bed around 11:30 p.m. and sighed, "Preparing for the Sabbath is exhausting." It means I have to say no to Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram. It means I don't respond to emails immediately. And it means I sit my butt in a chair and force myself to stay there. But the 'gods of insatiable productivity' are all around me, and for some crazy reason, it seems I get more emails beckoning me to respond on Wednesdays, and more temptations to turn on the boob tube than other days.
But discipline—as crazy as it sounds—equals rest.
And if I've ever needed rest in my life, it's right now, as a stay-at-home mom who works from home. I feel like I never just sit down without reminding myself I need to get back up in exactly five minutes and go do __________ (fill in the blank). There's always something more to do. Always something I haven't yet done. Always some other way in which I need to be productive. There's always more bricks that need to be made, and it feels like there always will be (Bruggemann opens his book with this concept of more bricks for Pharoah). So if I don't take a day to resist brick-making then I will never get rest.
Without rest, I make bricks without perspective, without vision, without remembrance of who God is and what He is capable of. Without rest, I feel less human and more like a robot. So on Wednesdays, we're working on turning off everything that seems to give life so we can reconnect with the One who actually gives life. We turn off the outside noises so we can re-calibrate and resist the narrative that says, "We live to produce." On Wednesdays I fight my bones, my flesh, and my culture, and sometimes my son's bones and my son's flesh, so that the depths of our minds get renewed. Sometimes I lose. Sometimes I give in to the temptations. But discipline isn't learned overnight; and becoming disciplined disciples takes a lifetime. Sometimes it starts by following a law that is only a law; a rule that is annoying and confusing. But maybe we will one day recognize that we are not only defined by what we do, but also by what we don't do. And that truth is worth the sacrifice.
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