I love Fridays. They are my variation on Sabbath. They are an ocean of peace in an otherwise fraught week full of tasks and people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love people and I am more of a task person than quite possibly anyone else I know. People and task are good! But Fridays are precious because they are mine. Mine for praying and thinking and not-thinking and blogging and reading and drinking coffee and staring into space and swimming and just enjoying being by myself with God. My Fridays are, in fact, an introvert heaven!
I have been reflecting on this over the last month because, as the pace of my life has picked up again from fast to disorientatingly-fast, my Fridays have kept me sane. Some weeks lately, I have limped past Wednesday and Thursday before collapsing into the safety of Friday. Friday is a gift.
Last year I was reading a lot of Lauren Winner (Mudhouse Sabbath) and she really made me reflect on the value of Sabbath practices in my life. In fact, I was thinking only last week about a post I wrote last year in the light of those reflections.
When I searched for that post, I discovered that I wrote it this Friday last year! At the time, I was really struggling with establishing a rhythm of Sabbath in my life. I was being sucked into working seven days a week, partly because of the size of the workload and partly, if I am honest, because of the slightly addictive joy of working. My passion for life and desire to be fruitful – something which I saw, and still see, as part of my greatest beauty – had become my greatest shadow. What had been intended for good in my life had been twisted to become sin. Passion and commitment had become drivenness and overwork.
I reread that post today. I know that what I wrote then could still have the potential to be true of me today. I am not naive. But, even so, I think I can say that things have changed in me.
For six days a week, I am still this crazily-driven woman who hasn’t yet learned to walk in the Matthew 11:28-30 invitation which might lead to a deep quietness of spirit. In the six days, I have such a long way to go in learning how to see fruitfulness flowing from a state of resting in Christ rather than human busyness.
But in the one day, the precious Friday, things have begun to change. I have learned to treasure my Fridays as a gift from the one who rested from his own work on the seventh day. I have learned to see them as a safe and holy space week after week after week, a reminder that even as the gift of Fridays remains consistent, so also is the Giver of them consistent in his care for me.
Last year, I identified this predisposition of my soul to work when God says ‘rest’ for what it is. I called it sin. And I recognised that my work in the shadow of the Creator had become work in the shadow of the self. I am still not free from this predisposition. Not by a long way. But today I am celebrating a new reality into which God is steering my life, through the discipline of the gift of Fridays.
What do your Sabbath practices look like? Is work in its proper place? And how might your greatest beauty risk getting twisted to become your greatest shadow?