By Brenda Jo Wong

Sabbath Fits: Separating from Work

Over this next year, InterVarsity staff are intentionally practicing Sabbath together in ways that fit our unique roles, passions, ages, and stages. We’ll offer testimonies from current and former staff that help us all reenvision how we can engage in this important practice with joy and intention. Today’s post is by Brenda Jo Wong, a former Area Director in Hawai‘i who has served on InterVarsity staff for over 40 years and is part of a non-denominational charismatic church. 

 

A realistic Sabbath for me is taking a break from InterVarsity work. The day of my Sabbath varies sometimes, and sometimes I take two parts of two days if my schedule doesn’t allow for a full day.

Things I include in my Sabbath are unrushed time with God in his word, worship music, prayer, reflection, and journaling. Sometimes I go out to the beach, which is great, as being in creation helps me to engage with God. I may go for a walk. Sometimes reading part of a book helps replenish me with new thoughts. Physical rest is part of my day, a slow morning and a nap if needed. I also take time to read the paper.

I may spend time with people who are like family to me or peers who are not expecting to receive from me. This may also include phone calls. If I have a party or social event for someone I can include it as part of my Sabbath if it doesn’t feel like work. Sometimes I watch a movie or do errands I have neglected that I need to do for myself. Mostly I don’t have a schedule or list of things but am open to the Spirit’s leading. Eating some food I enjoy can also be part of the day.

Sometimes Sabbath is on Sunday and worship is part of my Sabbath. If I spend time with church friends, it’s usually people I am not responsible for.

I try not to answer emails and only receive calls that are not work-related.

There are always obstacles to overcome, the biggest being creating space, planning to not work, and choosing to do things that help me engage more deeply with God and replenish my spirit and soul.

I often feel the conflict of trying to engage in work-related things. Because of Isaiah 58, I am open to ministry to the poor during my Sabbath, but hopefully as a choice to experience God and not an obligation.

I love Sabbath and value the disengagement from work to focus on God and loved ones.

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Brenda has spent over 41 years leading, discipling, and developing InterVarsity students and staff in San Francisco and Hawai`i. She has a passion for multiethnicity, justice, God’s presence, and supernatural ministry, and enjoys the beach, good food, and time with friends of all ages. Brenda is also an ordained pastor at Bluewater Mission. 

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