“Sorry guys, I can’t make it. I have to respect my religion”.
These were the words I found myself repeating every Friday night sunset to Saturday night sunset throughout my youth. I said the words with a drag and resented each one because I had no value for the religion in which I was brought up. To simply put it, it prevented me from doing the things that I wanted to do.
In a nutshell, Seventh Day Adventist is a denomination of the Christian religion that believes the seventh day of the week, Saturday, is the Sabbath. Being that Saturday is the Sabbath, it’s treated as a holy day used only to promote Christianity, and spread the word of God from sunrise to sunset. This meant shopping, sporting events, movies and things in the realm of fun were off limits.
Growing up as a Seventh Day Adventist was difficult. It seemed to me that the rest of the world had their fun on Saturdays. I can’t even begin to recall the number of birthday parties, class trips, barbecues, and fun Friday nights out I missed because of it. I literally couldn’t even buy something as simple as coffee unless it was made by Jesus himself. On these days, I felt like an outcast.
While everyone was out carrying on about their business, I was in church with my head tucked between my knees in the prayer position, otherwise known as sleeping. The mornings before church, I would lay in bed dreading what was to come because I knew I would have to decline all of my friend’s offers of fun activities.
It wasn't until I got to college and landed a job that I realized Saturdays weren't all that bad. I had felt like I was missing out on everything until working a 9 to 5 made me miss my peace of mind a little bit more. As it turns out, keeping the Sabbath holy has a number of benefits.
The number one benefit is rest. I never knew how much I enjoyed rest until I got to college. By the time I was finished with this chemistry paper and that English assignment, I was beat. Mondays, I hit the ground running to get everything done and by the end of each week, I’d run out of steam falling face flat into Saturday. I was looking forward to encouraging words from my pastor as well as a little me time to reflect on my week.
Second, all the plans I had to cancel when I was younger because of my religion were now being cancelled because I wanted to respect my religion and keep it holy. As I read the Bible and talked more with my friends at church, I started to have a new found appreciation of Christ’s love and will for us to recuperate on Saturdays. I started to think maybe people aren't meant to be on the go all the time.
With each passing Sabbath, I stopped feeling like I was missing out on the things my friends were doing and started feeling like I was learning to give myself a break in Christ. Keeping the Sabbath allows me to take time to give God praise for bringing me through another week. I have the chance to catch up on some reading, enjoy nature and rest.
For me, Sabbath is my day of rest. For others, it’s a hike or a day shopping. Whatever way you find your rest, be sure to give yourself a break each week. We work hard. Relax.