I have so many highlights in my user guide for Week One, but these are the ideas and things that I definitely want to remember. My thoughts and journal entries are in parenthesis:
The Sabbath principal can help keep things from bossing us around, controlling our lives, and becoming masters over us. Sabbath margin is the boundary God intended for us to place around the things we enjoy so that we’ll never be a slave to anyone or anything other than Him.
On the Sabbath day, He provided a portrait of fulfillment, completeness and blessing that would be the framework for Sabbath in generations to come. (The words fulfillment and completeness convict me here. I have rarely, if ever, truly felt fulfilled or complete in or about anything for longer than five minutes. It’s like I’m always searching for “the next big thing” or “someone” like or spouse, mentor, friend, or “something” like a great job, car or vacation that will bring that feeling of “fulfillment” and “completeness” and “purpose” but it doesn’t last.)
Even when we look like we’re resting, our minds are still buzzing. (Guilty!)
We do not trust God to fulfill His promises to us, so we play God, falsely believing we need to provide, finish, do, control, and hoard.
We place our hope and joy in things that ultimately do not fulfill.
The Israelites had lived in slavery so long that their inclination – even once outside of Egypt – was to live like they were still in bondage (so me at times …)
We’ve fallen prey to the myth that if we don’t have as much or don’t do as much as others, then we’re somehow not as valuable (in my notes I wrote “if I don’t do as much as my own potential then I feel like a slacker”. For example – law school. It was within my potential yet I did not do it thus I’m really not reaching my potential thus I’m really a failure. Yes, that’s false but that’s how the thought process works. In reality, I would want the completion of law school to provide some form of satisfaction and fulfillment for goal achievement but that feeling would wear off within a year and then I would need to throw myself into some other project, job or hobby to keep the excitement momentum going. Boredom can be very dangerous and spur me on to do things that I really should not do. Mental note – identify boredom as an issue that needs boundaries set around it. It leads to impulse decisions which are rarely good for me long term.)
My flesh was becoming enslaved to things it was meant to enjoy as blessings, not as bondage (Again, I need to learn to identify these things quickly and set healthy boundaries).
We don’t know how to be content and satisfied. (I’m listening to Dave Ramsey right now and he also talks about contentment. I’m realizing that lack of contentment is a strong driving force behind my actions at times. What will it take for me to be content and satisfied? When is enough, enough?)
God instituted principals, themes, and laws that would transform the Israelites’ mind-set… He wanted them to be able to walk in their freedom and enjoy it. So God gave them many gifts, but He also gave them boundaries in which to enjoy those gifts. Those boundaries were gifts as well.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery”. Gal 5:1 ESV. God gave us freedom as a gift but living free requires a firm resolve to continue walking in it… We must be deliberate and intentional about setting guardrails around our endeavors so that we can travel freely to the places God is taking us, staying on the main road the whole way. (I’m so regretful of the times in my life where I failed to set proper guardrails and boundaries. As annoying as they feel sometimes in the moment – all restrictive and suffocating – they are so worth it in the long run. I’ve got to be intentional about doing this in the future.)
Let’s start today, setting some strategic boundaries around the things, people, habits, or activities that we are most prone to become enslaved to and controlled by. (YES!)
Freedom lies on the other side of our obedience.