Finding Sabbath Rest When It’s Just Plain Hard
Sometimes finding time to have a personal, weekly Sabbath rest is so difficult, we throw up our hands and give up. However, God is challenging me to get creative and find a way, despite the busyness of life.
A few weeks ago I sat in church and listened to a compelling teaching on the problem of hurry.
The pastor spoke of our need for rhythm in our lives. He talked about how God, in His wisdom, established this into the very fibers of our world.
Day and night. Winter and summer. Work and rest.
He talked about the importance of Sabbath as part of this rhythm –that God didn’t need to rest after creating the world, but rather, His very act of rest created rest on our behalf.
It’s in these times of rest that we not only rejuvenate, but also slow down long enough to acutally be with God.
I began to understand that through this process of rhythmic resting, we are filled with God’s presence and goodness. As we draw near to Him, our faith is strengthened and our resolved, deepened. When we stop long enough, we begin to truly see.
The sermon struck a chord with me.
In fact, by its end, tears were streaming down my face. The friend I’d sat with gave me a compassionate smile and a pat as we walked out of the sanctuary. No words were exchanged. I think she understood.
The excuses we make for ourselves
Sabbath rest, in the sense of following a religious law, is no longer required (see Romans 14:5-6), but the truth of Sabbath runs deeply to the core of who we are as human beings.
And it had not been an intentional part of my life for several years.
Unfavorable circumstances had lead me to pretty much give up on this weekly, dedicated, disciplined rest.
…You know, like that little thing called having kids, who also happen to come with ceaseless needs…
Or that other thing where my husband’s job requires him to work weekends and only gives him one day off each week, that being Friday. Since I’m a full-time, stay-at-home mom, my only semblance of a break is when he’s home. Ergo, my “weekend” is pretty short too.
Our logic had lead us to assume Fridays must be spent mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, doing home projects and running all errands I wasn’t willing to do by myself with three little kids. Plus all appointments. Plus a chance for me to work on my blogging projects. Plus a time for him to take odd-jobs to help pay the bills.
You get the idea.
I hadn’t realized how weary I’d become. And now that I finally had, I felt trapped in the hamster wheel by our current life circumstances.
Laying our excuses aside
As I wallowed in frustration and tears over my plight the next few days, I felt God convicting me. He humbled my letting me see that in my rush of emotion and self-pity, I wasn’t realistically assessing the possibilities. Like, not at all.
While we only have one day off a week, we have one day off a week. That’s enough for Sabbath rest. I began considering what it would mean to use our one day as such.
We’d have to move all our other work to the evenings of other days, but we could do that for the most part. We’d still care for our children of course, but if we allow them to watch their favorite TV shows in pajamas in the morning, if we sleep in, if we have pre-made meals and ban our to-do lists, that could still be a very significant break.
And Friday night is pretty great night for a date, which is a life-giving and edifying rest and re-connection opportunity for my husband and me. Yes, please!
So, that’s where we are.
We’re devoting Fridays, not to work, but to play and rest and spend time with God and our children. We’re devoting them to slowing way down. To Sabbath.
And not doing so legalistically, but to honor and glorify God and move within the rhythms for which He created us.
While we can push and persevere through seasons of life without proper Sabbath rest, we won’t be living in the fulness God intended for us.
When we feel we’re too busy for sabbath, that’s a good sign we need it the most.
How Plan Your Sabbath Rest for Success
This all might sound well and good to you, but believe me when I say, our natural tendencies and impulses become an adversary. This makes it challenging to be successful with a Sabbath rest day.
You must have a plan and make advance preparations. You must be committed.
If you would like some help in that process, I’ve created a Sabbath Planning Guide resource bundle.
This bundle contains:
- a printable Sabbath Planning Guide
- an audio teaching segment
- beautiful scripture memory cards on the topic of rest
And it comes with a free bonus download!
- “55 Ideas for How to Rest on Your Sabbath Day as a Mother” printable.
Do you practice Sabbath? If so, please share your wisdom! If not, will you try it?
New to this community? Start here, friend.
“Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…” People seem to think that the Commandments are still relevant today, except for this one. Something to think about.
Thankyou for this post, I love it! Our family also has a very busy life, and no regular weekends, It was refreshing to read how you fit ‘rest’ into your life! Timely too, as I am currently doing Rachel Wojo’s Bible study, and one of the verses that sprang off the page for me this week was Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. What a great reminder! And then today I find myself drawn to this post, after reading a comment you made on a post at Young Wife’s Guide!
That’s awesome Eliza! Thank you so much for stopping by! I pray that God will show you how to find His rest, in His presence. Thanks for sharing that verse. It speaks.
It’s been hard for us to do this. Hubby is off on Wednesdays, but I work part time during the week. Therefore, Hubby takes his Sabbath on Wednesdays and I take mine on Saturdays (even though we have swim lesson Saturday morning). It’s a balancing act, but it’s what’s working for us at the moment.
I think it’s important wed all take time to rest and reset ourselves.
This is so good! We all find times in our lives that we get caught in the busyness of life, be it young children, a job, overwhelming circumstances, or whatever keeps us hopping. Mine is my job. I feel like I work all the time. Annually we take a vacation (never called a Sabbatical) to our church family camp. Time to rest, relax with family and friends, but most of all time to focus on hearing God. This comes in 14 days for us. So looking forward to it However. the blog made me contemplate ways to a Sabbatical monthly or weekly. This is something that I will really need to pray about. Thanks for the encouraging words.
You are so welcome! This is something I’m continuing to process myself. It’s striking to see how much emphasis God puts on Sabbath in the Old Testament. Of course, we’re not bound by the law now, but what God values is still significant and shouldn’t be missed. I love how His love for us shines through Sabbath.
I know exactly how you feel! Since my husband goes to school and works full time during the semester, and I essentially had to live life as a single Mom during that time; we only got to be together as a family for a few hours on Saturday and everything else was filled. I had a super pity-party for a while. Once I got over it, it was freeing to quit thinking of “rest” day in the terms of everyone else’s day. We had to dig, but we did it and it felt so good! I’m glad you guys were able to do that for yourselves. It’s so important!
Yes! We are so alike with how we process some things Rachel! I am so glad I got over my pity-party and starting actually solving the problem. 🙂 Freeing is a good word!