Hard Stop - 31 Days of Sabbath : 3

Yesterday, I did something uncharacteristic of me.

I stopped – even though my work wasn’t done – and played all day.
I left my house with beds unmade, laundry strewn, toys scattered. I left bowls of soggy Cheerios on the counter and I left the Little People mixed in with the blocks and I left a clean load of clothes in the dryer and I’m pretty sure I’m still missing a sippy cup of milk.

I let it all go.

So I could go here.

The North Shore of Minnesota, where Lake Superior kisses the rock beaches, and jagged cliffs are lined with birch and evergreen and berries.

And in autumn? God’s glory shines. Golden aspen and crimson sumac, orange maples and white bark.

The air is dry and tinged with an earthy rot and the smoke from scattered campfires. The breeze off the lake is bracing but the sun is warm.

The water, be it one of the many waterfalls that spill toward the lake, or the vast lake itself, sparkles as if scattered with diamonds.

Going Up North, as it’s known in these parts, is a sacred pilgrimage for me. It’s impossible not to worship. I am renewed by this. My soul is filled with a joyful peace. I am satisfied.

And I would have missed it, if I had waited until my work was done.

I have been profoundly shaped by this small paragraph in Wayne Muller's book "Sabbath."
There is astounding wisdom in the traditional Jewish Sabbath, that it begins precisely at sundown, whether that comes at a wintery 4:30 or late on a summer evening. Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop because we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop.
We stop because it is time to stop.

I love that. I do it very rarely. I tell myself I will rest so much easier if the laundry is folded, the dishes done, the Little People farm animals in their rightful barn stalls.

What I’ve slowly come to see is the truth of Wayne Muller’s words, and the deeper truth in God’s command to Sabbath. The work is never done. I will always forsake the important for the urgent.

If I am to Sabbath, I must learn the hard stop.

Tell me: When was the last time you stopped even though your work wasn't done?


  1. Wow, thank you! I am so bad at just "stopping". I feel like I need to go, go, go. Thank you for this reminder!

    I blog at "Only a Breath" and would love for you to stop by if you have time! I'm writing about "31 Days to Love Your Neighbor". It has been a very interesting journey to say the least! :)

    Have a great day!

  2. Well, it has been a long time since an intentional stop. I'm afraid I'm inclined to laziness, to doing only the essentials, and then moving on. But a stop like you are talking about is different, and I know we need it because things are just not peaceful on the homefront lately.

  3. Awesome. I stopped this weekend to make a wreath with my kiddos. It was so restorative!

  4. "We stop because it's time to stop." Wow. It's so crazy-simple but hard to put into practice.

    I suppose I will be stopping on Thursday. I'll be flying to Charlotte to visit my sister, without my family. I've never been, I rarely see her, so when the opportunity came up, I grabbed it.

    By going, I'm stopping.

    I'll have layovers in Minneapolis, BTW. I'll wave!

  5. I am absolutely in love with your topic and every word you've written so far has been like water to my soul. So, so needed in my life. I might just camp here for the whole month. This? Today? YES. You minister life with words and pictures of our lakes.

  6. "We stop because it's time to stop" - I love that too! And, I totally agree - going up north and sitting in the middle of a forest of autumn beauty and a night sky filled with endless amount of stars - I can't help but worship Him. :)