Be Still & NO!


Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Face App has everyone thinking about aging. You’ve likely seen the selfies by now: insta-elderly thirty-something’s freaking out on social media.

And it got me thinking: How do we number our days? By seizing them, and filling them with more stuff and activity? Or by slowing down, prioritizing rest & relationship, which allows us to gain a vision for sustainability over the life span?

I think the best way to age is to age biblically, like Moses, who went down swinging, full of vim and vigor till the end. He learned to say NO, to delegate (shouts out to his father-in-law Jethro for that one), & to spend a lot of time in God’s presence while being present to the next generation.

To age in this way, we need to learn how to stage a Sabbath Revolt, letting go of all that is unnecessary in order to prioritize friendship with God, intimacy with our own inner lives, & grace & space for those we are called to care for.

I call this stage Be Still and NO! Mystical tradition refer to it as Purgation, a great letting go. Marie Kondo refers to it as Tidying Up. Whatever you call it, it requires radical action. A firm NO to whatever hinders love.

For me, it was a NO to anxiety as a way of life. I had to immerse myself in environments of prayer, worship, & silence in order to start orbiting the Sabbath Sun & not my own vision for my life. I was caught up in the endless fear of not fulfilling my potential. Of not being or having enough.

I learned to say no, and let go. I didn’t have to be the best, the most brilliant, the coolest. What a relief! I was made new through experiments in Sabbath-keeping, prayer, & friendship with soulful folks who made room for me. And by dropping everything to be with God. Clearing the schedule as often as I could. Late nights, early mornings, & finally, written into the rhythm of my days—pauses that mark my morning, noon, & night.

I had to say NO to the play button on the next episode, and hit the nearest trails to walk and go quiet. NO to the news cycle as my first look & yes to time with my wife over coffee. NO to conventional career options & yes to generous time with family & rhythms of friendship.

Each NO was a seed sown in a garden that slowly grows with each passing year, making life feel harvest-y and rich even when I’m barely making the bills.

This is the first stage of the Sabbath Revolt that can set you free to live the abundant life from now till those gray, silver, and white hairs cover your head.

Reflection: What are you sensing you must say NO to in the coming season to set the stage for sustainability in your life? What do you get to let go of in order to grow generous of heart with your time, presence, & love? Where can you delegate tasks in order to get some time for silence, solitude, & community?

Jeremy Bryan

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