14 minutes, 14 inches

What could you do with 14 minutes in your day?  How could you use 14 extra inches of space?

A group of us have been meeting each week to learn about the Sabbath principle in the study called “Breathe” by Phyllis Shirer.  It has been a learning curve for us women who are used to filling our days, our schedules, our homes, and our lives with so much.  We look around and see no margins, no space, no breathing room because of all the things and events we have gathered into our existence.

“Breathe” has presented a different way of living.  It’s the way God commanded His children as they walked away from Egyptian slavery and into a life of freedom.  These former slaves didn’t know the meaning of pausing to rest or ceasing their labors.  They entered their freedom with a slave mentality, and it would take drastic measures to change their way of thinking.

God wanted to teach them that He was their sustainer and provider.  He would feed them and protect them and meet their needs if they would only follow His instructions.  They were told to gather manna six days and then rest on the seventh day, eating what remained from their sixth day gathering.

Like  us, they tested this theory and tested their God which created quite a stink in the camp because they refused to listen and learn that God really means what He says.  And He always gives commands that turn out for our good.

So this past Tuesday, we were offered a challenge.  We are to take a 14 minute Sabbath rest each day, and we are to clear 14 inches of space during the week.

My mind begins to swirl with thoughts of plastic containers in my lower kitchen cabinet; a pantry overflowing with boxes, cans, and jars; a freezer that is stuffed; a closet that contains more clothes than I ever wear; storage spaces that are filled to the brim.

It truly is a challenge to begin thinking less is OK when we’ve spent much of our lives thinking the more the better.

We purchase out of want not need.  We gather on our six days and also on our seventh because Wal-Mart and Lowes and Kroger and Walgreens are all open.  The washer and dryer run equally well each and every day; and I can shop on-line, search the web, and connect with social media 24/7.

Our schedules are packed with multiple events on too many days. TIme passes and we look at the people in our house and wonder when we’ve had a real conversation.  We collapse into bed at night and are already thinking of all there is to do tomorrow.  Our brains are as tired as our bodies.

And then we wonder why we are exhausted, living life too full but enjoying it less.

But Jesus came to offer an abundant life not an abundance of things and a fully packed day after day after day.

The women of our group take the challenge.  How we do this will be different for each of us.  But we will try with all our hearts.  Because the point is not just to follow someone’s directive or to complete the assignment.  The point is to give place and time to remember our Creator, to pause and give thanks for the bounty of gifts His has given, to cease our work for a little while and know it is enough.

Our God is sovereign over all.  He is our sustainer, our provider, the boss of the universe.  His commands are not to deny us but to give us a full and rich life, one that relies on Him to supply our every need according to His riches in Christ Jesus.  In obedience we work and we rest.  We have time to play with our children and grandchildren; time to enjoy the fruits of our labors; time to worship and find joy in our God.

God is in control of it all.  It would behoove us to sit up straight and pay attention.  He’s not joking.  He really means what He says.  Come sit awhile.  Rest.  Breathe.  It’s good for you.

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