I see you, weary friend. I see that the world has gotten you down. Actually, I AM you. Or, just like you. Does this sound familiar?
Dinner was a mess. You have agreed to too many activities. There’s still a pile of laundry looming by the washer and dirty dishes in the sink. Your e-mail inbox is screaming to be checked. There’s a stack of bills, and as soon as those are paid, a whole new stack arrives.
I see you as you hurriedly shuffle through the grocery store, grabbing bread because you ran out. I see you, but we’re too busy to notice each other.
When I read a suggestion about taking a regular weekly rest, I loved the idea. I would lay in a hammock and read books on a Sunday afternoon. I would pray. I would catch up on that Bible reading plan I abandoned back on Monday.
But when I read further and discovered that this day of rest had a name, Sabbath, I felt a heavy weight being added to my shoulders.
On top of everything else, a holy day?
Is it not enough that I taught Sunday school and volunteered on Wednesdays? Is it not enough that I schlupp my grouchy kid to church on Sunday and attend a Bible study?
I’m doing everything. How am I ever going to find time for a holy day in my week?
So, I resisted. I ignored the suggestion, burning in spirit-form in the back of my brain. But a few weeks later, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Despite myself, I went back and studied this Sabbath thing a little more.
Spend Monday through Wednesday doing the laundry. I can do that.
Meal plan and go to the grocery store on Thursday. On Friday, vacuum. I can handle those.
Do those last second chores like mowing and errands on Saturday morning and afternoon, sometimes rushing because you know that the rest is coming and that it is worth it. Set out clothes for church on Sunday. Make sure that there is easy food options for the next day.
And then, the final prep. (Eek! My favorite part!) Go into your kitchen on a Saturday evening, before it gets dark. Pick out a favorite meal–it can be special, but it doesn’t have to be–and make it for your family.
Mm. Yes. Be the blessing.
Enjoy a meal together. Savor it, because you know that THIS is the greatest part of the week. Pray together. Discuss a section of scripture, maybe, or just talk about how God was great this last week. Be open and vulnerable and real. Amen.
Since you have already prepared for Sunday morning, there’s less of a rush. It’s not going to be perfect, but there’s a whisper peace in the midst of it.
Languish in the rest of the day. Sunday. Easy meals are ready in the fridge for whoever wants something, and chores are ignored. Togetherness is celebrated.
And suddenly, Monday isn’t something to be dreaded, because you’re prepared for anything that comes your way. And if your week turns out uglier than you anticipated, you think of the rest waiting for you on Saturday, and it’s suddenly bearable again.
Sabbath takes practice. It is a practice.
Sometimes everyone has fevers that week, and nobody does laundry so some essentials get thrown in. Sometimes you don’t get the main ingredient from the store, and your family enjoys a sabbath dinner of canned refried beans with spoons.
Or, sometimes you try really hard to this meal perfect just to burn yourself on a 400 degree pan and spend the entire dinner with your hand in a bowl of water.
Or, if you’re like me, a parent of littles, you pray a quick sing-songey prayer at dinner and spend the meal avoiding someone smearing mushed carrots into your hair, and save the majority of serious talk for after bedtime. (If you’re still awake…)
It’s not about being perfect. IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING PERFECT. There is grace in the practice.
It’s about the rest. And the recognition of good in your life. And the time together. And the honoring of God.
It’s about the savoring. There is grace in the practice.
Sometimes there’s a soccer tournament on Sunday or a birthday party Saturday night, and you get to decide if these things are restful. There is grace in the practice.
Be intentional with your time. Dare to rest. Sabbath.
Please, let me know how it goes.