“COME TO ME. GET AWAY WITH ME AND YOU'LL RECOVER YOUR LIFE. I'LL SHOW YOU HOW TO TAKE A REAL REST." – Matthew 11:28 MSG
Jesus’ words are profound, countercultural, and seem almost insensitive in the busyness of everyday student life. How can we pause when we’ve got deadlines and exams to prep for? How can we come away and rest when we need to tidy, deal with all of our life admin, and we’ve got three social events to cram into one evening? Jesus, how can you ask that I slow down when I already feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day?
Iona and Hope from Loughborough have both been keeping the Sabbath, setting aside a day a week to be with God through their time at uni, and have some thoughts, insights and wisdom to share.
Hope: “When I don’t take Sabbath seriously it’s a case of me putting my agenda above God’s agenda. At uni there’s an unhealthy sense that you always have to be doing stuff, but making time to intentionally take a day away to rest and spend time with God puts His priorities on the forefront.
It sometimes feels like a sacrifice, but the impact on the rest of my time is huge. I’m not burnt out! I have more energy for the week, I’m able to enjoy life more and be more productive and purposeful. I have an increased sense of intimacy with God.”
Iona: “I Sabbath because Jesus did it, and God modelled it in creation , resting on the seventh day. Sabbath reveals a lot of my weaknesses, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and what truly brings me joy, and what really breaks my heart. It’s also helped me to connect with God more deeply, and keep him number one in my life more easily.”
Hope: “On the Sabbath I have a lie in! I wake up not having to go anywhere. I’m aware of what I’m consuming, and I do things that replenish and refresh me.”
Iona: “I go outside, I switch my phone off. I enjoy being present with people and God. I spend time reading the Bible, journaling and listening to worship music. If I’m with my family or friends, I have really chilled, long meals. Good food is the best on a Sabbath!”
Iona: "Doing Sabbath well at uni is a hard balance to find, but during term time it means I feel so much more rested and excited to start work on Monday. When I miss it, I notice. Uni is an amazing time to start practising Sabbath (whatever you might think initially!). It’s where we finally have independence over how we spend our time, so you can plan the rest of your week around an intentional rest.
Hope: "It’s a bit of a myth to think you don’t have enough time to Sabbath. When you make it a priority you find the time for it. It is a sacrifice but there’s more to be gained than there is to be lost."
Sabbath looks different for everybody. Why not give it a go this summer so when term starts up you've already worked out what replenishes you, and have a regular rhythm of rest and renewal booked into your week?