Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg

Book: Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Feinberg
and struggled to accept smaller yields of accomplishment at the end of each day. Limiting my time at work meant reducing the number of projects I took on. For the first few months, I swung like a broken sprinkler head toward extremes.I said no to everything—including some things I should have said yes to—but slowly discovered a more balanced approach. I gauged potential participation in everyday activities with the knowledge that every yes costs me three nos. My daily decisions soon became more thoughtful, intentional, prayerful. I wasn’t just giving myself; I was giving my
best
self to my relationships and work.
    With rest, I noticed God-moments I might have missed before. My prayers grew clearer. Studying the Scripture became more meaningful. When life was rushed, I felt like I was reading a cookbook backward—nothing connected or made sense. Now I felt more attuned to God’s voice in the Bible.
    Sometimes you have to slow to a stop and reset before you can experience divine presence. My hunger to know God increased as I learned to develop a healthy rhythm in life and rediscovered the wonder of rest.

    Like a great comet catapulted across a starry night, God’s holy encore awed me. All the adjustments in daily life prepared me to rediscover one of the most beautiful gifts: Sabbath. This delightful treat of God isn’t one he keeps to himself but shares freely with humanity. God established the Sabbath from the beginning of time for all time. In a world marked by endless demands to work and produce, God issues an invitation torest. Scholars debate which came first, the word
Sabbath
—or
Shabbat
, as it’s known in Hebrew—or the word
ceasing
,” since
Shabbat
is derived from the Hebrew word
sh-b-t
, meaning “to cease.” Regardless, the primary meaning of Sabbath reminds us that if we do not master the art of ceasing, we cannot master the art of rest.
    Making time to pause isn’t just a holy opportunity but a divine command. Despite studying one of the most important ritual observances in Judaism and listening to dozens of teachings on its importance, the Sabbath had remained a negotiable in my life. I treated the Sabbath like a rainy day fund, convincing myself that a single cloud justified a withdrawal. The Sabbath became a time bank to purchase all kinds of things I couldn’t afford the other six days of the week. I thought I could draw on the account as much as I needed, any time I needed, without consequence. Not until I woke up and confessed,
I can’t do this anymore
, did I realize all of my withdrawals had left me bankrupt.
    I restudied the Sabbath in Scripture in the weeks following counseling. After an unforgettable encounter with God on Mount Sinai, Moses delivers the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. Of all the edicts, I chose to be the most deliberate in breaking the longest one. While many of the commandments are short and direct, like “Don’t murder” and “Don’t steal,” Moses spells out what it means to honor the Sabbath, highlights acceptable behavior, and even offers a brief history of the day’simportance, alluding to God’s affections for humanity.
    The only other place where Moses becomes as long-winded is the second commandment, which forbids idolatry, maybe because failure to rest, like idolatry, supplants God with lesser affections. Moses pauses to emphasize the ease with which we can find ourselves ascribing value to anything and everything other than God. At times we’ll be tempted to construct our own idols, but despite their appeal and allure, attributing worth to anything other than God comes at great cost. The forbidding of idols isn’t meant to detain us from something good but to protect us from something destructive, spotlighting the breadth of God’s love.
    Though I had always seen these two commands as separate in the past, I now viewed them as walking hand in hand. Apart from developing a healthy rhythm of rest, we succumb to idols and their constant

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