Why Is It So Hard to Practice What You Preach?

Remember the famous Biblical proverb from Luke 4:34, “Physician, heal thyself!”?

Well, I’m in need of my own #ForSabbathsSake medicine.

Last weekend, Fred and I sabbathed with the amazing Myers Park Baptist Church for their 75th Jubilee Year Inter-Generational Retreat. Through three sessions, five worship services, seven meals, and one glorious sabbath afternoon, I led 100+ folks through what it means (and feels like) to practice rest, worship, and community. From ages 2 to 82, we laughed, played, and explored real obstacles to sabbath. We named what we needed to leave behind in order to step into sacred space, as well as the ways in which our intentions shape the way we embrace sabbath. The weekend ended with our gratitude for the moments in which we felt God’s presence, and our rededication to reclaiming this ancient practice.

Monday after the retreat, when I re-entered the world and my Wake Tech classroom after having taught Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I felt joyful–but exhausted.

This was a gentle reminder that I, too, am always on the sabbath journey with you. Though I may have written an entire book dedicated to this Biblical practice, I need to learn to take my own medicine. Physician, heal thyself.

There’s not much sabbath relief in sight, as last weekend was the start to a busy spring tour of taking For Sabbath’s Sake on the road to Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan, and D.C. But, I can practice what I call “chunking,” (see page 128 of For Sabbath’s Sake). This means finding bits of sacred time nestled between the ordinary.

Starting a sabbath practice whenever we can, wherever we can, however we can, and with whatever we can is good … If you need to spread bits of sabbath throughout the week—do it. The point is that you start somewhere, and perhaps you will love it so much that you can’t imagine what you ever did without it.” –J. Dana Trent, For Sabbath’s Sake

Myers Park Baptist Church Inter-Generational Retreat at Camp Kanuga; Fred and Dana by the lake; Dana on the labyrinth; Dana and Rev. W. Ben Boswell, Senior Pastor of MPBC.

It’s tough to practice what we preach. But the key ingredient to any practice is to remember that we are all beginners; there is no such thing as perfection, only progress. So if you see me spinning in circles, remind me: Physician, heal thyself. Let’s keep one another accountable to being on the journey … together.


Need some help getting started? Check out a FREE sabbath toolkit here. Need more accountability? Upper Room Books offers a sabbath eCourse here.

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