One of the goals my husband, Alex, and I have for 2018 is to use Sunday as a day of rest and renewal. Previously we had treated Saturday and Sunday as partial resting days and partial work days. We would rest and work, rest and work. Typically Sunday night was a time of work to prepare for the week and accomplish things we had procrastinated on.
Starting the first week of January we planned to get our to do lists done by Saturday night and begin our first sabbath. The first Sunday was incredibly difficult for me! I kept thinking of things that needed to be done. Alex on the other hand had no problem relaxing and enjoying his day. Meanwhile I relaxed physically, but mentally my mind was all over. I was thinking of things I could be doing, should have done, or would like to get done. This first sabbath gave me so much insight into what things I needed and wanted to have done before the sabbath began.
As the weeks have passed I have learned what I need to accomplish in order to be able to relax both physically and mentally. I have also realized that to do lists are never really complete. This thought has improved my ability to let things go unfinished. I remind myself that the tasks will all be there when Monday comes. At first this thought sent me into overdrive. I thought I would have so much to do on Monday and it will only lead to starting the work week off with stress. What I found is that even though I had some additional things to complete on my Monday I was not overwhelmed by them and actually completed them with joy.
Alex and I both agree that having a full day devoted to rest is one of the best things we have ever done. The blessings we have seen from it are increased motivation throughout the work week, the ability to accomplish more during the week with more joy and more peace, and the anticipation and rejuvenation that comes from having a full day to rest. It’s amazing how we have known about this principle for many years and are only now putting it into practice. To be honest, we didn’t think it would really make that much of a difference. We thought it was enough that we incorporated rest into our weekend. It’s not surprising that when we take God’s word and put it into action, He provides the time and ability to not only accomplish tasks but to accomplish them while experiencing peace and joy.
If the thought of a day devoted to rest intrigues you why not give it a try for a month and see how it goes. You will discover things that work and things that don’t. Things you find restful and things you thought would be, but aren’t. You will discover that you and your family members find rest in different ways and that’s okay. There is no need to be legalistic about it. If Sunday doesn’t work for you and your family then pick another day that does. You also have to decide for yourself what constitutes as work for you. I love cooking breakfast (and eating it) so on Sunday morning I enjoy making it for my family. Dinner on the other hand can be stressful because my daughter goes to bed so early right now. So instead of making dinner on Sunday we make it during the week and freeze it, do a crock pot or packaged meal, or eat out. If we are eating dinner at home it requires preparation so I make this a priority during the week. Our guideline is if an activity can typically lead to frustration or feeling overwhelmed, then we don’t do it on our day of rest. This is within reason of course because we still need to apply my daughter’s lotion even though she fights every second of it and cries the whole time. We have noticed we are able to be calmer in these moments because we are not rushing around trying to get other things done.
The most important thing is to remember why you are devoting this day to rest. God, our creator, knew that we would need it to restore and revive us. We are dust. Finite and limited. We run out of energy and strength quickly. God however does not. Yet He showed us an example to live by when He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:3). A sabbath reminds us that our physical bodies have limitations and they need to be acknowledged and respected. A sabbath is also a statement of trust. Trust that six days really is enough time to accomplish what you need to. If it isn’t maybe you are taking on more than what God is asking you to do. A sabbath also requires a shift in perspective that whatever you have left undone is not important when you compare it to glorifying God. This eternal perspective is exactly what will help you navigate the small and large trials you will encounter throughout the week.
If you already devote a day to rest, I’d love to hear what you have learned by incorporating this into your life. If you don’t what obstacles keep you from making this commitment?