Insights on Sabbath

By Jim LaDoux
In today's society, finding moments of rest and rejuvenation has become a luxury rather than a necessity. In his enlightening book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, Wayne Muller invites us to experience the transformative power of embracing one sacred day of rest each week, and to embed Sabbath moments into our daily lives. Muller describes how the act of Sabbath can rejuvenate our body, mind, and soul in addition to cultivating a deep sense of connection with ourselves and the world around us.

Muller understood that humanity's need for rest and rejuvenation was not new; referring to Old Testament traditions and natural rhythms and life cycles we experience on earth. The author invites readers to align their actions and intentions around embedding Sabbath moments, providing each of us with dedicated times to pause, reflect, and connect with what truly matters.

Muller begins with highlighting the origin and importance of setting aside a dedicated time each week to disengage from the demands of the world, that allow space for introspection, and connection with God, ourselves and others. He offers insights into why it's so hard to embrace Sabbath due to our assumptions and attitudes toward it. He also suggests practical ways people can savor Sabbath such as:
  • Switching off our phones and electronic devices.
  • Sleeping in and taking naps.
  • Taking long, leisurely walks in nature.
  • Savoring sights, sounds and smells such as freshly brewed coffee.
  • Reading books that fed our soul and bring joy to our lives, and
  • Engaging in meaningful conversations with loved ones.

Muller challenges readers to take practical, easy to implement steps that help us embark on our own Sabbath journeys with the hope that can we live in a way that's more live-giving, more balanced, and more meaningful. To do so, he describes 1) what Sabbath is and is designed for, 2) what attitudes and assumptions prevent us from practicing it, and 3) how we can begin to reclaim the practice of Sabbath

1  |  Insights on Sabbath

  • Sabbath is not just a day of rest, but a vital practice that restores our balance, renews our spirit, and reconnects us with what truly matters in life.
  • Sabbath is a gift - a "get to" rather than a "got to."  Embrace the gift!
  • People will experience Sabbath in different ways. Focus on renews you and what helps restores your body, mind, and Spirit.
  • Savoring Sabbath requires letting go of the need to alway produce and prove our worth. Savoring Sabbath requires letting go of the need for more - and embracing the idea of sufficiency and "enough."
  • Savoring Sabbath helps us resist a consumerist mindset seeks to breed dissatisfaction with our lives - that our lives are incomplete without having more, producing more, and achieving more..
  •  Observing Sabbath provides people the space to observe, reflect, and rethink their way of life - space that's essential for continually reinventing our lives.
  • All life requires a rhythm of rest. There is a rhythm in our waking activity and the body’s need for sleep. There is a rhythm in the way day dissolves into night and night into morning. There is a rhythm as the active growth of spring and summer is quieted by the necessary dormancy of fall and winter. There is a tidal rhythm between the land and the great sea. Even our hearts rest after beat just as our lungs rest between our exhales and the inhales. Embrace these rhythms!

2  | Assumptions that prevent Sabbath-keeping

Our lack of margins prevent us from slowing down to reflect and rethink our lives. Our yearning for more sabotages our Sabbath-keeping intentions. We make assumptions about what success in life actually looks like base on what we see others do rather discern what we want and what's God's intentions for our life. The frenzy of our activism destroys our own inner capacity for peace. We are so tired, overwhelmed, and overworked that we have neither the time nor the capacity to listen to the deeper voices that speak to the essence of our problems. We consume things, people, and information. We do not have time to savor this life and to care deeply for ourselves, our loved ones, or our world. Without rest, we respond from a survival mode rather that a more anticipatory and proactive mindset. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We fail to ask basic questions such as:
  • "How much work, money, and things are enough?"
  • "What do I really, really want?"
  • "What does a life filled with rest, renewal, and delight look like for me"
  • "What makes me feel alive?"
  • "What helps me be connected with God and others?" 

3  | Creating Sabbath Moments

Sabbath moments will be different for each person. Start with asking the questions mentioned about and how they would shape your next steps. It's important to know what you really, really want before addressing the following questions. We need clarity about what we want to infuse in our life and what we wish to eliminate or let go of.

  • List the hobbies you wish to reclaim or do more often (gardening, golf, painting, etc.)
  • List the self-care activities that you want to reclaim (naps, walking, meditation, etc.)
  • List the activities that make you feel alive to God's presence in your life.

  • What's life-giving in my life right now?
  • What's life-draining in my life right now?
  • What do I wish to stop doing?  Start doing?  Keep doing?
  • What boundaries do I need to set, and with whom,  to make Sabbath a priority?
  • What are 2-3 Sabbath moments I wish to embed in my daily life?
  • With whom might I practice these Sabbath moments?

  • Take one step that helps you resist unhelpful assumptions about Sabbath.
  • Take one step that helps you create space for a new Sabbath activity.
  • Take one step, this week, to practice a Sabbath moment that's important to you.

Sabbath moments don't have to be long or elaborate. Even a few minutes of peace and quiet can make a big difference in your overall well-being. Experiment with different activities and find what works best for you. The most important thing is to create some time each day for yourself to rest, relax, and recharge.

Here are some additional tips for creating Sabbath moments in your daily life:
  • Plan ahead. If you know that you're going to have a busy day, plan some Sabbath moments in advance. This could mean setting aside a specific time to meditate, taking a walk during your lunch break, or reading a book before bed.
  • Make it a habit. The more you make Sabbath moments a part of your daily routine, the easier they will become. Try to do something relaxing or enjoyable every day, even if it's just for a few minutes.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're struggling to create Sabbath moments in your life, don't be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or a therapist. They can offer support and encouragement as you make changes to your lifestyle.

Sabbath moments are an important part of a healthy and balanced life. By taking some time each day to rest, relax, and recharge, you can improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.


  1. Where does Sabbath show up in your life right now?
  2. What are the things or activities in your life that make you feel alive?
  3. When and where do you experience God's presence?
  4. What assumptions do you need to let go of, or resist, to experience more Sabbath?
  5. What would be a faithful next step for you related to Sabbath-keeping?

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