Holly and Glenn Packiam practice life-giving rhythms to experience freedom and abundance as they abide in Christ. In this excerpt from their book, The Intentional Year, Holly gives us a glimpse into her Sabbath experience and how it impacts her life.
Sabbath rest can look quite different for each of us. When we consider what we would want to put into a Sabbath day, we also consider what things we need to cease from. For me, a perfect Sabbath would include elements of solitude, reading and reflection, nature, and play with our family.
It would mean me ceasing from my regular work during the week such as housework, most cooking, teaching the kids, and pastoral ministry. I frequently see or think of things that need to be done and want to work on them. Instead, I’ve learned to enter them in my to-do list app to get them out of my brain so I can fully settle into a Sabbath rest.
That being said, many weeks I feel like I can’t possibly get everything done that needs to be accomplished in six days. I’m tempted to believe that things will go better for the family if I work nonstop. If I just keep working, keep pushing, we’ll get more done and eventually feel more peaceful.
But research has shown that this isn’t true. When we work less hours/days in a week, we get more accomplished. I’ve found that I feel more rested when I Sabbath well and I have more energy to start the week.
In seasons where I work day after day with no breaks, I begin to wear down emotionally and physically and eventually crash. My body begins to fatigue, and I am short with everyone around me. The goal of life shouldn’t be to be like a machine that produces nonstop. Living a fully human life means stopping and recognizing that the world will go on even when we stop contributing.
It’s easy to hear messages from our culture that say we need to focus on getting more and doing more. I’m constantly asking the Lord to remind me of His words to be grateful in plenty and in little. But still, I’m tempted to look for how I can work more to find a sense of worthiness in my doing. The irony is we can even try to get “more” (rest, reading, renewal) out of a Sabbath—and undermine the spirit of the Sabbath in doing so!
Sabbath is not something to achieve. Sabbath is when I remind myself of who God is, and who I am as His beloved child.
There’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more. He won’t love me more if I multitask or if I fill my schedule to the brim. When people ask, “How are you?” why do we say, “I’m so busy”? Is it because we feel good about ourselves or win approval from God when we can say we’re busy and productive? I’ve tried to change my language and say, “Life is full, but I’m trying to be present and enjoy each moment.”
I’ve been trying to internalize Ken Shigamatsu’s wise words:
We need to ask ourselves why we are so busy. Sabbath helps us to question our assumptions. The truth is that we may be busy because we feel a need to validate our worth. Sabbath gives us a chance to step off the hamster wheel and listen to the voice that tells us we are beloved by God. The sabbath heals us from our compulsion to measure ourselves by what we accomplish, who we know, and the influence we have. Sabbath enables us to define ourselves less by our achievements and more as beloved daughters and sons of God. As we become more aware of how much we are cherished as children of God, we grow in our trust of God.[i]
Sabbath is a chance to stop and hear the wind blowing through the trees, and to listen to my sweet child narrating a story. On one memorable Sabbath day, Jane and I spent quite some time playing various games like Memory and Old Maid. It was a delight to hear her giggles as she tried to get me stuck with the Old Maid.
Taken from The Intentional Year: Simple Rhythms for Finding Freedom, Peace, and Purpose by Holly & Glenn Packiam © 2022. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
[i] Ken Shigamatsu
Glenn and Holly Packiam
Holly Packiam holds a Master’s Degree in counseling from the University of Colorado. She is Pastor of Parenting Ministry at New Life Downtown, in Colorado Springs. She educates their children at home.
Glenn Packiam is an author, speaker, and associate senior pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the lead pastor of New Life Downtown, a congregation of New Life Church. Glenn earned a Doctorate in Theology and Ministry from Durham University in the UK and is a senior fellow at Barna Group as well as an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary.