Rhett Smith Podcast 61: Sabbath Rest and Your Identity

RSP61I have been thinking a lot about the topic of Sabbath over the course of the last year. It seems that it comes up in more and more of my conversations, and it’s absence in the lives of many people (especially evident in many of the clients I work with), lead to a lot struggles, conflict, and issues with anxiety and depression. And it’s absence in my own life is the source (I believe) for much of the anxiety that I have struggled with.

For a period of time (I actually blogged about Sabbath about 5 and half years ago, and here almost 6 years ago). So in reality, I guess I have been thinking about this topic for a long time…but maybe I’m just now starting to take it seriously.

This seriousness began last year when I read Walter Brueggemann’s powerful book, Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now. In the book, Brueggemann writes:

“In our own contemporary context of the rat race of anxiety, the celebration of Sabbath is an act of both resistance and alternative. It is resistance because it is a visible insistence that our lives are not defined by the production and consumption of commodity good. Such an act of resistance requires enormous intentionality and communal reinforcement amid the barrage of seductive pressures from the insatiable insistences of the market, with its intrusion into every part of our life from the family to the national budget.” Loc. 196 of 1231 (Kindle)

This is the first of approximately 3-4 podcasts I am going to do on the topic of Sabbath. And in this episode I explore:

  • the context of Sabbath in the Exodus story
  • God’s freeing of Israel’s identity from being one of production and performance, to one of rest and dependence in him.
  • the ways in which we build our sense of identity around our busyness, production, performance, accomplishments, etc.
  • Sabbath is a call to place our identity and sense of self in relationship to God who sustains and cares for us in our being, rather than in one that is dependent upon our control and doing.
  • the lack of Sabbath as a producer of anxiety.

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Link to Episode 61

Resources and People Mentioned in the Podcast

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to a Culture of Now by Walter Brueggemann
How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living by Rob Bell
Henri Nouwen

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