Sabbath, rest, pause, stop, re-set. These are words and practices that have captured my attention for the past 32 years of my life here in Southern California. We live fast, sometimes frenetic, full lives in a big, busy city, don’t we?
While I do love my life here and feel thankful for the incredible opportunities we have in this world- class city, I find that practicing Sabbath and taking a longer time out is often necessary for me to fully serve, and live out my calling. Sometimes these breaks are called vacation. Amen to vacation. But sometimes my soul requires something entirely different.
In April I had the opportunity to serve at “Malibu”. Not the famous and gorgeous beach just up the coast from us, but a remarkable place far away in beautiful British Columbia. Malibu is actually a Young Life camp where for more than 50 years, young people have had the opportunity to have the best week of their lives and hear about the limitless and saving love of Jesus.
In order for camp to be ready for its summer season of hundreds of campers, they invite folks to join them for a few days or a week – to do whatever they are able to prepare the camp facility both inside and out. I said yes to this wonderful chance to serve, along with friends and my younger daughter, Heather. After one flight, a longish car trip to a ferry, then a ferry to car and then to a water taxi, I was transported to one of the most spectacular places I have ever visited.
The beauty was breathtaking: mountains, water, trees. This is a majestic, untouched wilderness. I even had the joy of watching a pod of Orca whales swim playfully through the narrow waters in front of the camp!
We all worked hard that week. Landscaping, hauling debris, 7 hours of pressure washing a moldy arbor back to life, mopping, cleaning, dish washing. We worked 8 hour days. This might not sound like a restful week, but the funny thing was that each and every day I woke ready and rested to do whatever needed to be done. No one used a cell phone; there is no cell signal. No ringers, no one looking at their devices. No one was asking Siri or Google to find an answer. No one stepped out out to take a call or check their email. Meals at the table were simple and plentiful and we enjoyed face to face conversation with new friends. Early morning coffee was enjoyed amidst quiet beauty. We laughed hard, played some, and the, worked harder. At night folks read, did a puzzle, chatted by a fire and went to bed early. Work gloves, hiking shoes, and jeans were my daily uniform. No rush hour (or any hour!) traffic. It was glorious week fasting from technology, commuting, city noise and the daily multi tasking.
I left feeling energized, refreshed, and interestingly, more deeply connected to my Lord. This was a big “pause” for sure; a delightful re-set for hand and heart. Head clearing. Mind settling. Even the long journey home was an unrushed re-entry back to my life here in LA.
Most of us may not be able to take a week to a far away place, but we can make a conscious choice to pause. To stop. Set down the phone for a meal. Sit quietly with the ringer off. Make a conscious decision not to drive for a few hours. Take a walk . Take a nap!
Be intentional to rest your mind and body. Attend worship and enjoy authentic Christian community. Find a space to be alone and re-connect with the God who longs for our undivided attention.
Rest, pause, stop, re-set. You will be thankful you did.
Bless you friends!