A few years ago, I began the quest for a real Sabbath rest born out of desperation…and exhaustion. I was tired of spending every Sunday in a resentful rush. I wanted a break. I wanted my Sundays to be quiet, calm, beautiful, and restful. Instead, I found myself wrangling kids, struggling to get a decent Sunday dinner on the table, and spending the entire day wondering how anyone could find rest on Sunday.
I resented all of the WORK I had to do to make Sunday restful for everyone around me and yet still could find no rest for myself on that day. I kept thinking I was doing something wrong, and if I could figure out the Sabbath formula, I could finally get it right. And so began my search for a REAL Sabbath rest.
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The first revelation came when I was studying Genesis 1 in Balancing the Sword. (This study is out of print now, but you can often find it on Amazon for a good price.) I had never noticed that in Genesis 1:5 the first day is delineated by evening and morning. This continues through Creation, and throughout the Old Testament as we notice the Jewish feasts (Sabbath included) beginning at sundown.
As I began to mull this over, I recognized how much easier Sundays would be if I had prepared all day and then went to church, rather than trying to prepare the day before. It always felt as if my day fell apart overnight, and all I had tried to do to prepare the day before was nearly undone before I ever got things up and running on Sundays.
In fact, for several years we did go to church on Sunday nights, and it was so relaxing! But, when we moved 3 years ago, we could not find anything similar to what we had enjoyed and were back to Sunday morning church again, and me feeling harried and never prepared enough.
I began scouring the internet for ways to manage Sunday so that it didn’t feel so stressful. And that’s when I ran across this little gem…
Celebrating Biblical Feasts In Your Home or Church by Martha Zimmerman
In this book, Martha Zimmerman makes the distinction between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day.
And that was a game changer for me.
As I read, I realized I had an improper view of Sunday. Rather than seeing it as a time of worship of our Lord and Savior while fellowshipping with other believers, I had made it about me because I wanted it to be my day of rest. It wasn’t the Lord’s Day – it was MY day. And when I didn’t get the rest I thought I deserved on that day, I became resentful. I not only felt I had failed at finding a Sabbath rest, I also felt someone had failed me because here I was working myself into a frenzy keeping the kids quiet, feeding the family, and making everyone else’s day relaxing. Obviously, my expectations were skewed. Separating the Sabbath from the Lord’s Day helped me to shift my expectations.
The Sabbath didn’t change when Jesus rose from the dead. It was still on Saturday, and the Jewish Christians were still celebrating the Sabbath. But, after a day of work on Sunday, they were gathering together to worship, remember, break bread, and fellowship with other believers. They weren’t trying to combine the two days.
Our bodies need a day of rest. We need an end to our work week. We need a time to reflect on our week, give thanks to the Lord for his provisions, and find refreshment in Him. When I take this time on Saturday, it gives me the freedom to see Sunday as my day to come together with other believers and put a Christ-centered forward focus on the upcoming week. Saturday is the end. Sunday is the beginning.
So, what does our weekend currently look like?
Friday night, after the house is clean, the soup has simmered, and the bread is baked, we sit down as a family, reflect on our week, tell stories, thank the Lord for His blessings, and start our weekend. We are celebrating the end of that week. It is almost like a great big sigh.
Personally, I like it to be a day without a ton of commitments, without the usual grind of my daily life, and free from the constant forward momentum a typical day in my life holds. I do not cook on Saturdays. We have snacks for meals or graze all day or sometimes go out to eat. I also try not to do any laundry. We tidy up once or twice, but that is for my own sanity. I just can’t relax in a mess. I try to spend some time outside. I purposefully slow down and savor the Lord’s creation. I try to take notice of things I am often too busy to notice during my week.
Another thing to note is that I am not taking a break from being mom. I’m just not doing my usual mom stuff. Again it’s a break from my every day.
On Sunday, we head to church as a family. Some Sundays I end up staying home with one or two of the kids, and some Sundays I spend a lot of time in the hallway of the church dealing with a crying baby, a noisy 2 year old, or an unruly 4 year old, or all three! Because I’m not focused on Sunday being a day of rest, I can deal with all of this without feeling resentful.
We tend to snack on Sunday as well, and occasionally eat at the college cafeteria where Blake goes to school (many people from the community eat there on Sundays). This coming Sunday we will head to a pumpkin patch with friends from church, and then at night I go to a small group at the pastor’s house where we dig deeper into the sermon (which is really helpful on those Sundays when I have to stay home with the little ones). When I get home, I get the house ready for the week and work on the blog so it is also ready for the week and doesn’t need much more from me the rest of the week.
And that is my weekend.
How ever it is that you decide to use your Saturday, your Sunday, your Sabbath, I pray you too can find a REAL Sabbath rest! Feel free to share in the comments about your weekend and how you have found real rest!