Taking Back the Sabbath

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The day starts in a rush…packing lunches, picking up the kitchen, and trying to get out the door for work or an appointment. Hopefully a workout can get fit in somewhere, a quick scrub-down of the house in a spare moment, while paying bills and checking off the to-do list get pushed to tomorrow. And this is just your day-to-day schedule, add in a husband’s, children’s, and anyone else that depends on you and your agenda is overflowing.

The week has been survived and while looking forward to the weekend reprieve the realization hits that there is no such thing when it comes to your schedule. The weekend is full of activities, events, projects, and an overdue to-do list. You’ll be lucky if you get everything you “need” to get accomplished done in a matter of two days.

This is your reality. And it’s the reality for many others who fall into this typical schedule. It used to be my reality. I would fill up every open minute of my schedule with tasks, commitments and more. Maybe it was because I struggled to say no. Regardless, I certainly lost my ability to slow down during that season of my life. And my boundaries between work and home were incredibly blurred. My busy week turned into a busy weekend, with Sunday becoming just another day with the same crazy agenda.

For many years, I struggled to find time for myself. I’m embarrassed to admit that my health and happiness were put on the backburner of my life. My faith grew stagnant and in all the busyness my life felt mundane and unfulfilled. The irony is that my full schedule left me feeling empty, while I came to learn that an empty schedule could lead to contentment.

Game Changer: Taking a Stand for the Sabbath

So how does one find time to slow down when their schedule is so extremely full? Well, for me personally, choosing to take a stand for my Sundays was a starting point. It was one little effort that I could control that eventually led to a total mindset shift and slowing down overhaul of my life. It was a game-changer.

If you need more convincing, just open your Bible.

Exodus 20:8-11

Remembering the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. Our Father deems this act as important as having no other gods before Him, honoring thy father and mother, not committing murder, adultery, stealing, etc. I’d say He holds it in pretty high regard; and as His children, we are called to do the same.

Romans 12:2

The world tells us more, more, more when what we really need is less, less, less. Take a step back from what the world is saying and you will find renewal, I promise you, I’ve experienced it. When I made the concerted effort to slow down, starting with taking back the Sabbath, I felt a deeper faith connection, refreshed and rejuvenated spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Now, if I am completely honest with you—this overwhelming sense of contentment and joy probably won’t happen after observing your first Sabbath. Nor will it happen after a few attempts at slowing down. But it does happen, with time, patience, and a determination to make the change to your lifestyle.

After several years of choosing less over more, I can confidently say that I am in a different mindset than I once was, that my default is now a much slower pace. But I won’t lie; there are times I still struggle with shutting off and removing stress. There are so many things I thoroughly love about being able to work from home, but it has been an adjustment to create boundaries that keep my work/home balance in check.

Taking back the Sabbath is one of those boundaries.

What does taking back the Sabbath look like?

Let me just start by saying that how you take back your Sabbath is a very personal experience. Much like how each individual chooses to spend time alone with God, various approaches work here.

Colossians 2:16-17

Jesus made it clear that we are not to let legalism and restrictions define the Sabbath. It’s not about rules, it’s about committing a day to rest and reflect and grow closer to Him.

Mark 2:27-28

With that being said, if you aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to taking back the Sabbath, here are some ideas to try out:

  1. Go to Church: I love to start out my Sabbath with church. There is just something about beginning the week with a good sermon and fellowship with other Christians. However, if you are in the habit of attending church it can be easy to slip into the routine of things and begin to get complacent about getting much out of the sermon lesson every Sunday. Try changing things up and take notes during the sermon or write down Bible references to look up later. Be present in the moment by taking time to prepare your heart and mind beforehand and get the most out of worship.
  1. Plan a Nice Meal: I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog that Wildland Man is the chef of the household. However, I am the planner, and I like to plan something special for our Sundays. Maybe it’s a new recipe we can cook together for lunch, a picnic to share while fishing in the afternoon, or a special dessert to follow dinner. I don’t stress out about the meal, but instead look forward to the change-up and enjoy spending time in the kitchen with the hubs. If your week is usually a mix of grab-n-go meals and take-out, make Sunday an eat-in day with a nice meal around the table. It may take a little more preparing, but you can always create some shortcuts if needed to make your life easier. Light some candles, leave the cell phones in another room, and just spend a long lunch or dinner in conversation with your loved ones.
  1. Keep the Calendar Clear: I do my best to not schedule things for Sundays whenever possible. I truly try to reserve this day for church and family and nothing more. It’s easy to push back to-do items throughout the week that land on Sunday, but I don’t tackle items that aren’t enjoyable on the Sabbath. There will always be something to do, things that need to get done, but I promise they can almost always wait. If needed, I’ll make the effort to get more of these tasks done earlier in the week and choose weekend projects that can be done in one day—on Saturday, leaving Sunday open only for what we love.
  1. Rest & Relax: I find it easier to give myself permission to rest on the Sabbath, I suppose because I feel like that is what God intended it for. Society has placed little value in rest and renewal while all the worth is placed on getting more done in a day. Relaxation restores health and wellness and, I believe, will actually increase productivity throughout the week. So, take some R&R time for you…take a nap, soak in a long bath, veg out to a favorite movie or cozy up with a good read. No guilt, just pure joy and contentment.
  1. Family Time: In our hectic schedules we may find ourselves with no alone time, always with our families in some context, yet not ever really connecting. So, just as some down time alone is important, so is devoted family time. If you and your spouse are ships passing in the night throughout the week, then make the Sabbath about reconnecting as a couple. Plan an afternoon date together, talk about the future, make the effort to focus on your marriage at least one day a week. Part of taking back the Sabbath is praising Him for our blessings, so spending some time to enjoy the presence of our loved ones is a perfect way to do just that.

I hope that this post has led you to reassess your often overwhelming day-to-day schedule and consider taking back the Sabbath in order to restore some sense of calm in the chaos and grow closer to God in the process. If you are interested in even more ideas for how you can establish the Sabbath in your home, check out “5 More Tips for Taking Back the Sabbath.”

If this idea of taking back the Sabbath is completely new to you, remember to just take it slow…one Sunday at a time. We all have to start somewhere. If you are already actively practicing the remembrance of the Sabbath, perhaps you’ve been able to glean a couple ideas of how to enhance your experience. Either way, I am confident you will find blessings in the slowing down and savoring of the Sabbath.

Get in on the conversation by commenting below:

  • What struggles have you experienced in overbooking your schedule?
  • What difficulties have you overcome in setting boundaries for your work and home life?
  • What does taking back the Sabbath look like for you?

Be Still & Know…

the Country Wife signature for the Country Wife Chronicles blog

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