How did you get started on this Sabbath journey?
I began to explore Sabbath because I was tired: Tired of being lonely. We were living in a beautiful coastal community and experiencing low hanging fruit in our work, parenting and community. No one would’ve known I was carrying around a deep sense of loneliness. I was trying to fit into a culture that wasn’t me at all and God used Sabbath to teach me that I already belong.
In what ways has it changed you?
I’m less anxious and more peaceful. Less prone to plan, project and promote without spending time in solitude and quiet first. I have learned to enjoy waiting instead of dreading it. All of my days are set with a focus toward Sabbath instead of away from it. I can’t imagine life without Sabbath. Sabbath is oxygen for my soul; it sustains my very life.
What does a typical Sabbath look like for you?
Hmm. Typical? Sabbath is unique to each individual and Matthew 11:30 is my compass for how I navigate time for rest – “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What is easy and light to me? Mostly, that means leaving dishes in the sink, heating up leftovers for meals and chilling out under a blanket with a good book or movie. In the summer, Sabbath might include some time weeding in the garden or taking a walk with my camera. Occasionally, we’ll go out to a pub lunch with friends after church and catnap in the afternoon. The way we restore and abide with Jesus is different for each of us. My husband would find weeding the garden a lot of back-breaking work!On rest: 'Sabbath isn’t a spiritual hoop; it’s a gift from God’s generous heart.' @ShellyMiller Click To Tweet
In context of Sabbath, what does it mean for you to celebrate beauty amidst the brokenness?
You can’t walk around London without recognizing how brokenness and beauty coexist. On dirty pavement next to grand historic architecture, homeless people lie on flattened pieces of cardboard, begging from pedestrians scurrying past. We can’t truly understand one without the other. I spend a lot of time stopping to take photos of the details normally passed by in busyness — an old man wearing a plaid ball cap, a little girl dressed in a tutu pushing a scooter behind her mother, a window box of buxom flowers dressing up a cracked façade – all these images bear the beauty of God’s creation and teach me of his attributes. Often, I take photos without my camera and the mental images change my perspective.
What one word of encouragement would give to Sabbath skeptics?
Sabbath isn’t a spiritual hoop; it’s a gift from God’s generous heart. When you approach Sabbath not as something you do, but a celebration of who you are, weekly rest becomes a time filled with expectancy. More than how we rest, Sabbath is about who we worship. If God wants nothing more than to be with us, how can we say no to that invitation?
And finally, what books are on your nightstand right now?
I just finished Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson and Weak and Strong by Andy Crouch and loved them both. Currently, I’m reading The Soul Tells a Story by Vinita Hampton, Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, and re-reading a favorite, Fortnight in September by R.A. Sheriff.
Thank you, Shelly! A joy having you here today.
About the book (from the publisher): Sabbath-keeping not only brings physical refreshment, it restores the soul. God commands us to “remember the Sabbath,” but is it realistic in today’s fast-paced culture? In this warm and helpful book, Shelly Miller dispels legalistic ideas about Sabbath and shows how even busy people can implement a rhythm of rest into their lives–whether for an hour, a morning, or a whole day. With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for having peaceful, close times with God. You will learn simple ways to be intentional about rest, ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in God, and even how meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences.
Ultimately, this book is an invitation to those who long for rest but don’t know how to make it a reality. Sabbath is a gift from God to be embraced, not a spiritual hoop to jump through.
Read my review here.