I’ve been a lazy and uncommitted Christian when it comes to honoring the Sabbath Day. Although I’ve always been a strong believer in prioritizing time for rest and having one “slow day” every week I can’t say I have been honoring the Sabbath Day. My normal way of approaching the Sabbath would be to go to church in the morning and then fill up the rest of the day with a mix of chores and activities with family.
This fall I’ve been doing an 8-week study called Proven by Jennie Allen together with my friends at church. We get homework every week and one week the homework included establishing a Sabbath Day practice. The guidelines were:
“SUGGESTIONS AS YOU PREPARE FOR A DAY OF REST:
· Lay out some books to read and peruse, along with a journal to jot notes in.
· Do not use technology.
· Prepare the food you and/or your family will need ahead of time.
· Tidy your house to be free of distractions.
· Prepare the people in your life to join you or to respect this time.
· Prepare a playlist of music for your home or Sabbath space.
Now, rest and enjoy.”
Jennie Allen, in her wonderful book “Proven”.
The main reason us humans feel like we can’t take a day of rest every week is because we are too busy. We simply don’t have time to rest. The question we all need to ask ourselves is this: Can we afford to not rest? Burn outs are becoming more common among women every year and the same is true for different types of mental health problems. One of my favorite pastors Craig Groeschel once said: “If you are too busy to have sex 2-3 times per week with your spouse you are simply too busy.” I love that quote! We’re acting like we don’t have time to prioritize our marriages, time with family and time for rest but the reality is that these are non-negotiables in a life of flourishing. Having three different hobbies is optional, writing a blog or having an Instagram account is optional, quality time with our loved ones is not optional.
If we are too busy to have sex, spend time with our families and rest then maybe we need to revisit our core values in life. Do we value money and status at work more than family? Do we value time spent on social media more than having sex? Do we value achievements so much that we spend seven days a week achieving stuff rather than allowing ourselves to rest? Everything we do stems from the core values that we have accepted in life and are currently building our lives upon. Rest is important to God, so it is important to me. I’m grateful that God decided to make rest one of the Ten Commandments. God knew how easy it is for us humans to become workaholics and achievement-addicts. It becomes easier to allow myself A Day of Rest when I understand that God commands me to rest.
It requires some planning to establish a Sabbath Day practice. I must plan ahead of time when I can do all the errands that I used to do on Sundays. No more grocery shopping on Sundays. No more housework or cooking on Sundays. There’s no point in beating ourselves up if something doesn’t go according to plan and we end up needing to take a trip to the grocery store on a Sunday after all, but striving for a full day of rest is a good thing.
It’s been a month since we started celebrating a Sabbath Day in our house and we love it! The day usually looks something like this: we wake up and attend church at the 11:15AM service. We come home and make some brunch after church. We go for a hike or a walk along the beach in the afternoon. Another alternative is that we head downtown to hang out with family who lives there. We come home in the evening and warm up dinner that I cooked on either Friday or Saturday. We light candles around the house, put on some relaxing music and just hang out together. Sometimes I read and journal in the late evening before going to bed.