An Invitation to Sabbath

Nicole explores why she keeps the Sabbath, how sometimes it's easier than others, and shares a video with footage of her creating the painting, "An Invitation to Sabbath"

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Nicole Hanson

9/5/20233 min read

A mouse reads in a bubble bath in a sunbeam
A mouse reads in a bubble bath in a sunbeam

Watch the Behind-The-Scenes painting video on Instagram. Transcript below (the TL:DR), followed by additional thoughts.

TRANSCRIPT

[TL:DR]

"I started practicing Sabbath when I realized I needed time that wasn’t wrapped up in achieving and accomplishing. I’m glad I did.

It can be hard for me to settle into Sabbath, this day where I stop working and try to stop thinking about work. To slow down, and leave the unfinished chores for another day. To spend time on things I enjoy, thanking God for them.

Sabbath trusts that time is not scarce, and that my business will not fall apart because I step away for 24 hours. It trusts that God will provide while I take the day away to spend with Him. I’m not there yet, spending a whole day with God, and I’m on the right track.

Some will cry that practicing Sabbath is not a commandment for Christians under the new law. And I agree. It is an invitation, though, and one I’ll gladly accept."

*This style of video was inspired by the inspiring videos that @pahnl.what creats.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

I owe a lot of my current thoughts about practicing the Sabbath to Practicing the Way (including the idea of Sabbath as an invitation rather than obligation or (ought"). I highly recommend their Sabbath small group sessions, as well as the Sabbath podcast season you can listen to on their “Practicing the Way” podcast. I encountered them in early 2023, and I've been practicing Sabbath on and off since around 2019.

Defining Sabbath

It may help for me to define what I mean when I say keeping a Sabbath. For me, keeping the Sabbath is choosing to step away from work for 24 hours to rest from that work and actively choose to trust God. Sometimes it includes reflection, study, walks, time with friends or family, music, play, naps, and sketching in a private Sabbath sketchbook. I used to swear off all kinds of chores on the Sabbath, but have lately not found that helpful. I'll still load the dishwasher to keep things running, but I usually avoid sweeping or folding the launtry.

Ups and Downs Keeping the Sabbath

Over those four years, I have not practiced every single week. And the weeks that I have practiced, I have not always gone without working, thinking about work, and putting off chores. Yet I keep coming back to it, and most weeks I'm glad I took the time away.

One surprising feeling that has come up is guilt- false guilt. Sometimes I feel bad enjoying sweets, reading fiction, and listening to worship music when I know that, technically, I could be working on my next project. I get to remind myself there will be time later, that I get to work hard on these projects all the other days of the week, and I get to rest from them for one day.

The Mouse and the Sabbath

That is one of the reason I decided to paint the mouse reading in the bathtub, and call it "An Invitation to Sabbath." My bubble bath is one of my favorite parts of Sabbath- maybe because it includes so many of my favorites: instrumental music, being warm, a good book, and sometimes strawberries and homemade whipped cream (which you can see in the painting), so it was the obvious representation of Sabbath for me.

Why I Keep the Sabbath

If you don't already keep the Sabbath, you may find you enjoy it! It can feel weird, at first, finishing up duties early or putting them off until later and actively doing things you enjoy. That's okay.

And if you decide not to practice the Sabbath, that okay, too.

For me, it comes down to something I said in the Instagram reel: "Sabbath trusts that time is not scarce, and that my business will not fall apart because I step away for 24 hours. It trusts that God will provide while I take the day away to spend with Him. I’m not there yet, spending a whole day with God, and I’m on the right track."