a sabbath year


I drafted this post on December 12, but with the busyness of the holidays I didn’t quite get to posting it. Life has a funny way of presenting me with the unexpected, God always seeming to be molding me to learn to let go a little bit of my tight grasp on my plans…

. . . . . . .

December 12, 2016:

I just cozied up in front of the fireplace with the Christmas tree aglow, snuggled up with “wolfie” – what my husband calls my favorite faux fur throw – to give my body a rest. I’ve been awake for almost nine hours now and I’ve barely stopped all day. And yes, I am sick. Somehow, even when I am fighting an illness, I still find it so difficult to rest.

We live in a fast-paced society. And if you live in LA, it’s even more fast-paced. We are such a “go go go”, “do do do” (if you’re my husband, you’re snickering now) people who hardly give any respect whatsoever to the command to rest.


empty space and unhurried time.

The Bible speaks of Sabbath in different ways. You’re likely the most familiar with that of resting on the seventh day. Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and earth in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. He later commands us to do the same.

I’ve heard many sermons and talks and read many articles and blog posts on the sabbath, and the gist I get is this: it doesn’t have to be resting on Sunday every week, all day long, doing nothing but just sitting there, but rather it’s more about finding some “empty space and unhurried time” – as a good friend once put it – somewhere in your week to rest in and connect with and recenter your life on Christ.

Unhurried. I think of that adjective and how it is likely the antithesis of the majority of the way I spend my time, days, and life. And I’m not proud of it. Though I do make excuses for it – it’s inherent in my personality! It makes me productive! It’s who I am!

And yet, God says otherwise: You are always able to change, to mold yourself more to my likeness with the help of My Spirit. You are called to rest in your identity in Me. You are my child, and that is enough. Oh, how I struggle to accept those truths of Psalm 51:10, Jeremiah 1:5, and Galatians 3:26.


overachieving control-freak people-pleaser.

I am a recovering people pleaser. {And when I say recovering, I mean I am a major work in progress.} Like the kind of work in progress who needs a constant reminder – like every second of every hour of every day. How quickly I forget the truth that I know. It’s always there deep within the caverns of my soul, and yet the constant noise of this world somehow seems to drown out that still, small voice of truth.

Even when I separate myself from the noise, it seems to ring in my ears long after I have attempted an escape from it – much like a ringing in one’s ears after leaving a concert with speakers set at a much-higher-than-healthy decibel level.

Healthy. I think of that adjective and don’t feel that’s something I am the most of right now. I know God has the power and ability to heal me. But I have an illness or sorts – or ailment, rather – both physical and spiritual.

I experience chronic physical pain, and over the years I have come to realize that it is largely stress-induced. “Mind over matter” has a new connotation for me. But even in that knowledge, it’s not easy to change. As they say, old habits die hard.

But even though “they” may say it, even though “they” may believe it’s true, we know as believers that with God, all things are possible. If we seek Him with all of our hearts. If we trust wholeheartedly in His power and His grace and His goodness. If we offer up our lives to Him. If we… rest… in Him.


the reason.

We are so tempted to do when things get tough, when life seems out of control, when this world seems like it’s spinning faster than we can keep up. But our God tells us that all we need to do is be, that He will fight for us; we need only be still (Psalm 46:10).

We live in a world of social media likes and validation we seek from our own achievements and productivity and all the things we do by the work of our own hands, and I am the most guilty of them all. In an industry where there is little control I clench my fists so tightly to anything I can. But again this God whispers amongst the spinning, racing, and all-too-loud thoughts in my mind: Stop. Breathe. I am the breath that fills your lungs. I am the source of hope. I am both the source of and reason for life (Job 33:4, Romans 15:13, John 5:21-27).

I think of Christmas as it’s just around the corner and that saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I saw this phrase lit up in white letters on top of a large hill on a recent road trip to northern California. We really do need a reminder of this truth amidst the presents and shopping and chaos and traffic. Honestly, the anxiety I feel coming at me from people on the roads and in grocery stores and shops would make you feel it’s the least wonderful time of the year. But I think we not only need a reminder around Christmastime that Jesus is the reason for it all, but we need a reminder in all seasons of our lives that Jesus is the reason for it all.


an unpredictable path.

I’ve recently made a bit of a career change. It’s the reason for my writing of this post, in fact. For eight years I have thrown myself into this crazy world of acting. I have been on tv, in films, and in commercials, feeling when on set so alive, fulfilled, and full of confidence that I’m doing exactly what I was created to do. And yet I have experienced many long stretches of time wondering when the next audition would come, the next job would come, the next moment of creative fulfillment would come. I have doubted this path I have chosen – this path I have always felt God pointed me toward.

And yet through all the uncertainties, insecurities, and unpredictabilities, one thing has remained constant in my life: God has continued to seek me, to pursue me, to draw me into Him, to allow me to get to know Him better and fall far deeper in love with Him than ever before. And for that, I am so grateful. For that, I wouldn’t change a thing – not one crazy plot twist in this journey of my life.

And now? Well, now I veer to a deliberate fork in the road. This past summer in intentional prayer for God to give me a specific and singular focus in my life, in my work, in my creative efforts, He answered in a bold way and revealed to me this:

I want  you to write this book.

He’d given me the idea for a book a few years before and then slowly and steadily revealed to me what it could become. And now, He was revealing to me that it is time that I jump in. Dive in. Head first. All in. No turning back.


a singular focus.

In order to do that – to give this book my all – I need to make this my singular focus. I have spent so much as my time as an actress and writer feeling spread thin. And because I can hear God’s voice so clearly – it’s still a whisper, but by His grace I’ve been able to quiet the other voices – I feel so confident in my decision to throw myself into this project, this story – His story.

And so, I won’t be blogging much until I am officially an author. I have so many thoughts and ideas and recipes and lessons from Scripture and just so much more God has placed on my heart to share, and yet there is a time for everything. This is my season to write this book, and I’ll return to blogging more again in the next season of my life.

I’m not sure what opportunities and experiences lie ahead that the Lord will present to me, but I know that wherever I am going is toward Him and that wherever He takes me will be good. So good.


a sabbath year.

So what is a sabbath year? I’m so glad you asked. You see, in the Bible God commanded His people to give the land a rest on the seventh year. “But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the Lord”  (Leviticus 25:4).

I love this little preposition: to. It’s a small word but it has big meaning here. This sabbath is not just a rest for rest’s sake. Similarly, I will not be resting just to rest from blogging and from actively pursuing my acting career (in fact, I’ll be doing lots of work!) But rather, this “sabbath” is a sabbath to the Lord. I put a passion of mine on hold so that I can pursue and bring to life a passion of God’s.

My husband Clay was preaching a sermon this year in which he said:

“God always saves us from something to something else.”

Sometimes we just need to be saved from whatever we have been pursuing (even though it may be good! crops are good! harvest is good! food is good!) so that we may be delivered to Someone else (hint: it’s God. like the land, we, too, need a break sometimes.)


a fast to feast on.

In the Presbyterian church, pastors are allowed to take a six-month sabbatical, or leave of absence, after working at the church for a certain number of years. In Switzerland they take month-long vacations and everything shuts down in the month of August (or so I’ve heard). And in America? Well, we never stop! We never pause, we never rest. We never allow our “land” to be restored, the “nutrients” of our lives to be replenished.

I recently discovered I am sensitive to a lot of different foods. I mean a lot. The doctors have told me that I will need to eliminate these foods for 3-to-6-months in order to allow my digestive system to heal. In order to heal, it needs to rest from certain things. In order to do what it’s supposed to do, it needs a break from things that are bogging it down.

I’ve been experiencing pretty bad stomach pain for the greater part of the last four years, and now after what has seemed like aimless wandering I finally have some sort of direction and hope for healing. I think of Moses and how he led the Israelites to freedom but first had to “wander” in the desert for forty years. He doubted God, his patience was tested, and he fell short of God’s instruction on multiple occasions. And yet, God was working in his heart, in the hearts of the Israelites, and was working all things together to make possible the road to freedom, safety, and abundance.

Moses had to experience a period of humbling in the desert. I obediently enter into a sort of desert season of my own where I will spend countless hours pouring through the pages of the Bible, outlining and writing my book. It will be a season of humility as I write for hours and hours and days and weeks and months on end with no instant gratification from publishing blog posts or accomplishing anything that the world will see… for now at least. And yet all the while knowing that God is faithful and that as it were with Moses, this humble season will end with something pretty great being accomplished for the Lord’s Kingdom.


direction in the wandering.

Sometimes a sabbath can feel like wandering. I’m sure I’ll have my days. I’ll be honest, in the time I’ve spent on my book thus far it has seemed daunting and disorganized. And yet, I have a Savior who continues to call to me from the abyss with that gentle and soft whisper that never fails to remind me that He is the one leading me, guiding me, preparing the way one step at a time. And that anything I do will be only by His great grace, His incredible truth, His grand call, and His sovereign power. That same power that tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Jeremiah 29:11).

So my encouragement to you, as it is to myself, as I enter into this sabbath year to the Lord (it actually is my seventh year living in LA. Coincidence? I think God has a funny way of working this out like that.) is that when you feel busy this Christmas season, bogged down by burdens and expectations in the new year, and like this life is all too much to handle, that you would slow, stop, and seek the Lord to fill you with His hope, His vision for your life, His calling on your character, His power to work miracles and open doors and alleviate burdens and fill you with the most incredible joy and peace that is so great, so magnificent, and so wonderous that it surpasses all understanding.

Lord, to you be the glory in everything we put our hands to, our minds to, and our hearts to. Would our lives be an offering to You as we run this race You have marked out for us that leads us straight – in all the twists and turns and disorganized book outlines and chaos if life – to You.

“You may ask, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest crops? I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.” – Leviticus 25:21

This is the God we love and serve. A God of such goodness and abundance. A God who is faithful in all times and in all circumstances. To what door is He calling you to walk in faith, to open in obedience, and to enter in wisdom?

“See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.” – Revelation 3:8

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