Yesterday marked the second full week that we have lived in Texas. Tomorrow will be the second full week since we moved into our new home outside of Fort Worth. I was so grateful that we arrived several days before Kyle had to begin work. I read a list of situations relating to their stress rankings, and moving (especially long distances) ranks toward the top. By the end of the weekend, we had managed to get most of the boxes emptied. Things still aren’t quite situated, but the moving company came and picked up the giant pile of cardboard and paper that had taken over our garage (I can actually fit my car in now!). Some of our pictures are on the wall and at least one of the girl’s rooms is set (pictures on the wall, other decorations in place, you know, the stuff that makes it feel like your home as opposed to just someplace with a bed to sleep in).
All the while, I thought I was doing well in managing the overwhelming stress that threatened to crush me like a bug. I thought I was helping the girls adjust, serving my husband, getting into a schedule to keep the house clean despite have a Godzilla for a toddler (who has decided since we arrived that walking is so much better than crawling, and running-as much as she is able-is even better!) and a whirlwind tornado for a preschooler (everything needs to be as spread out throughout the house as humanly possible, and mom needs to know where everything is at a moment’s notice). I thought I was doing well by getting my Y membership right away and intentionally making time to go and work out. I’ve tried going to classes to meet people. I’ve tried being overly chatty with the childcare people when picking up the girls to try to get to know them. I even sent an email to the MOPS group at a church we’ve gone to the past couple weeks and enjoy and want to further see if that’s actually where God wants us.
I’ve done all these things and yet, the headache came. The stress level reached it’s pinnacle and while I thought I had things under control, the nausea and aching and light sensitivity that ensued assured me that I certainly did not.
Last week we attended our second service at Hillside Community Church in Keller, TX (mini shout out, though I don’t know anyone there yet 🙂 ). They are working their way through the book of Mark and last week (and will continue this next Sunday as well) focused on the Sabbath.
I have always felt, well, conflicted about the Sabbath. Part of me wants to be stringent about it. When I was working, I always was adamant about not having to work on Sunday for religious reasons. I even talked to Kyle at one point to discuss if we were “doing too much” on our Sundays which are our Sabbath days. But, I love Jesus for so many reasons and one of those is his blatant disregard for “man’s interpretation of the law.”
Here’s what scripture says:
One Sabbath he was going through the grain fields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:23-28)
The Pharisees had created laws upon the law of what was acceptable on the “day of rest.” It was so extreme that they had even limited the number of steps you could take! What was established as a day of rest became a day of stress. No longer was it about taking a break, but it was about making sure you didn’t do too much and “break the law.”
When challenged about the disciples “breaking the law” by “working” (plucking the heads of grain), Jesus turns the Pharisees challenge back on themselves. He challenges their knowledge of scripture (the story of David doing something that was “against the law” by eating bread that was reserved for the high priest). Of course they don’t want to say anything against David. He was the epitome of their past Kings. He was the direct lineage of their prophesied Savior (who was in fact Jesus, but that’s a different discussion). But that’s not even the best part. Jesus continues in verses 27-28,
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
I LOVE THIS! You see if man were made for the Sabbath, then the day would rule over us. Think about it. Because God created the Sabbath for man, he was telling us that he knows that we need to rest. You see God rested on the seventh day, not because he was tired, but because he was finished. We on earth aren’t done yet. Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6,
he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
We’re here to serve and bring honor to God until the day of Jesus Christ (the second coming) or until we are called home. In the meantime, God knew that we needed a break, so he gave us one. In the Old Testament, it was the Sabbath. It was a day to relax from the typical toil of everyday life. It was a time to slow down and rest in God. Jesus changes that (like much of the law). The law still exists, but Jesus has fulfilled it. In verse 28 he said,
So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. (emphasis my own)
If Jesus is lord of the Sabbath, what does that mean for us? That means that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Sabbath. In Matthew 11 he declares to a crowd,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
Jesus is our rest. When we envelop ourselves within him, he carries our burdens and gives us rest. It’s no longer about doing what is “right,” it’s about serving he who has made us righteous.
My stress may be high due to many things, from moving halfway across the country, to having to force myself to make new friends (something that is not easy for me), to being a new town and trying to figure out ways to best care for my girls away from all that I know–including drastically different weather that my Florida girls don’t understand (my kids don’t like shoes…or clothes for that matter, which is not really conducive to temperatures of highs in the 30’s or 40’s). But because I serve the Lord of the Sabbath, I can find rest in him any time, any day. When I take time to rest in him, the stress does lighten. The migraine seems to lift a little. The world doesn’t seem quite as overwhelming.
I love that my High Priest is sitting. Before Jesus, priests never sat because their work was never done. Jesus said it all as he dies on the cross, proclaiming, “It is finished.” We don’t have to worry. We don’t have to stress. Instead, we get to rest in Him. So each day, when I feel like this is more than I can handle on my own, I rest in Him.