Hi guys! My name is Arvid Asmussen and I’m a worship pastor from Denmark. I graduated from 10,000 Fathers in 2015 and my family and I have continued to circle back to the community around the worship school ever since. This spring we have once again returned to Atlanta for a six-month sabbatical.
Sabbatical. Two months in and I’m only starting to discover what that ancient word actually means. Of course there’s the natural bodily rest, but then there’s also a deeper spiritual rest that I am just starting to explore. I could never fully cover what sabbath means in one blog post, but I did want to share a few things I am being reminded of during these days.
The reality is, the world doesn’t spin around me, applauding my daily showcase. I have discovered how much I use work and success to gain approval and a sense of value. I prove my own worth through achieving (and yes, I am an Enneagram 3). But when all that is out of the picture, I rely solely on the approval and worth I get out of relationships – first and foremost from the relationship to my Maker. He loves me before I do anything right (or even wrong!).
Sabbath helps release us from the need to constantly contribute to the world, and instead allows us to enjoy it as it is. I can pay attention and actually enjoy things! I can appreciate the taste of good food in my mouth. I can wonder at the depth of blue in my baby daughter’s eyes. I can give thanks as nature freshly unfolds in early spring. I don’t need to add anything to creation.
God made it. He sustains it. And it is good.
It is all a gift to me and I am allowed to enjoy the fruit of His work.
All of this is impossible with the pace I usually keep, so I needed to “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life,” as John Ortberg says. The word the Holy Spirit has given to me in this season is to “go slow.” He has also reminded me of the image of a tree with its deep roots, high branches, and slow growth.
I want go deep. I want to recognize His presence and meditate on His Word. I will shut my mouth and begin to listen to His voice reminding me of who I am and how He loves me. In times of sabbath rest, I think one’s prayer life should be more about worship and listening than bringing petitions before Him.
I want to stretch high. Like the branches, I want to keep my arms high and wide in an eternal posture of openly receiving His goodness and turning it into praise. No matter the season, regardless of whether my branches are fruitful or barren, I will still lift them to heaven and praise my Maker.
And I want go slow. A tree appears to not be moving at all, still it slowly grows. Because of the deep roots, its growth is strong and sustainable. I would love to just get a quick fix and experience intense growth overnight, but that’s not what growth looks like – not in the natural or the spiritual. Growth takes time. And patience. And a surrendered heart, trusting the direction more than the pace of it.
May you experience minutes or days or seasons of sabbath-rest. May you find places where you can drink from streams of living water and quench your thirst. May you rest in His love with a deep sense of His approval.
Maybe for the next 3 minutes as you listen to this little song, you can allow yourself to just unplug, be present, and enjoy the presence of your Maker. He is never in a hurry and He invites you to go slow – with Him.