Coaches' Corner: Micro-Sabbaths

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The trend has been there for a while now. More and more people respond to the question “How are you?” with “I’ve been busy.” Some times that response carries a tone of sadness and a recognition that the person’s pace of life is not ideal. More often though, it’s followed by a litany of all the things that they’ve been doing, particularly those things that didn’t go as planned. It’s as if we’ve somehow become convinced that the primary sign of our health and well-being is how much we can get done. 

Whether we work in the corporate world, hold down a couple part-time jobs to make ends meet, are a stay-at-home parent, or serve in a church, we live in a North American cultural context that constantly teaches us that our value as a person is found in the volume of work we can accomplish. Countering that narrative can be challenging. 

Lately, Chris Schoon, (Director of Faith Formation Ministries), has been talking with a number of university and seminary students, as well as other ministry leaders, about the practice of micro-Sabbaths as a way of remembering whose we are in the midst of our full paced lives. While we often hear about the Sabbath day and the need to have a day of rest every week,  micro-Sabbaths are short moments of stopping in each day to reorient ourselves in relationship to God and God’s work. 

Here are a few examples that Chris has found helpful in his own life:

  • Arriving 10 minutes early to pick kids up from school. In silence (no radio; no social media; no email), slowly reading a Psalm, like Psalm 8, Psalm 23, Psalm 139, or Psalm 145. 
  • Taking five minutes to walk around outside and notice the colors or shapes of a tree, plant, or rock; then, giving God thanks for being such a creative God.
  • Driving on errands (and some longer trips) without music, podcasts, or audio books on, to create space for what the Spirit might be saying to him. 
  • While waiting at red lights, sitting with both hands open, as a way of practicing Psalm 46’s invitational command to “Be still and know that I am God.”

These practices take aspects of a Sabbath day - silence, thanksgiving, prayer, scripture reading - and make room for them to be present in smaller ways in the midst of our normal routines.

What might a micro-Sabbath look like in your life? How might a micro-Sabbath practice help you to remember God in the midst of your day? 

Faith Formation Ministries provides congregational faith formation leaders the opportunity to meet in-person or connect digitally or by phone with members of our team and other ministry leaders for coaching and support. Whether it’s a one-time, one-on-one conversation or a long-term peer group, we are here to help. For more information about our regional catalyzer, visit crcna.org/FaithFormation/coaching

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This is very helpful and uplifting!

Many older people are struggling with health challenges, handicaps of one sort or another and loneliness, even a sense of uselessness as a result. Micro-Sabbaths of prayer for children, grand- and great-grandchildren, other family members, as well as acquaintances who are struggling, of thanksgiving for many past and present blessings, of meditating on God’s Word, we have found can be really freeing and healing!

Thank you!