Before I had kids, here is what I would do on Sundays. First of all, I would leisurely wake up. (Why, oh why, did I not treasure those days?!?) Then I'd take my time getting dressed in some nice, actually-stylish clothes. I'd sometimes stop at a coffee shop, bringing along my Bible and journal. Then I'd grab a bagel before Sunday school, where I listened to the whole entire lesson without one interruption. After church, I'd go for a relaxing lunch with friends, read a little, take a nap, maybe take a walk...and go to bed well-rested for the week ahead.
The current Jessica (who has three young children and a husband who leads worship and is thus no help on Sunday mornings) LAUGHS at the good old days.
The irony is, this current Jessica ACTUALLY NEEDS a Sabbath. Desperately, on every level. But of course, she is far less likely to receive one. Here are a few reasons why. (They may sound familiar.)
- Cooking breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks for five people
- Getting four of those people dressed
- Normal "parenting" maintenance issues, such as changing diapers, administering discipline, and trying to keep the house from looking like a tornado touched down
- Transporting the family to church and keeping the family well-behaved in church (most of us have at least one child who gives us a run for our money in this department)
- Trying to prepare at least a little for the week ahead so Monday does not come with the force of a MACK truck
So, yeah. I had basically resigned to the fact that Sundays could in no way be restful for me, a busy mom.
The problem is, we were not made to function that way. We need our Sabbath rest whether it comes easily or not and whether that is celebrated on a Sunday or not (Sabbath is originally Saturday....so pick the day that your family can have Sabbath together). Recently (on the verge of a mental breakdown) I decided I absolutely needed a day of rest, and I was going to figure out how to make it happen.
Here is what I did. The gist of it? Plan, plan, plan. For most of us who have small children or many responsibilities, you simply cannot wake up Sunday morning and decide to take the entire day off of everything. Well, I suppose you could, but the chaos and disorganization that would ensue would not be restful for most of us!
So beginning on Friday night, I started brainstorming what I could do ahead so I could truly rest on Sunday. Here's what I did.
- Did all my errands and shopping on Saturday. (I usually do this anyway.)
- Made breakfast, lunch and dinner the night before. It was easier than it sounds! I made blueberry "baked pancakes" (you basically pour all the pancake batter in a pan and bake!) and even made scrambled eggs so I all I had to do was reheat them. I filled water bottles, packed lunches in our reusable containers, and made a double batch of chili on Friday that we'd use for Sunday on baked potatoes.
- I used paper plates and napkins. I typically don't like doing this, but it was so very nice on Sunday.
- I laid out everyone's church clothes, including my own.
- I took a shower the night before.
- I packed our church bags.
- I went through and did a thorough tidying of the house on Saturday night. IMPORTANT NOTE: I only cleaned what would bother me. I walked through the house and thought, Would this mess irritate me tomorrow, and tempt me to start cleaning it? If so, I'd clean it up. Some things just don't bother me, so I just left them as is!
- I made sure the dishwasher was emptied the night before, the baby's bottles all washed. Any normal chore I could do on Saturday, I did.
- I forced myself to do relaxing things on Sunday. This is hard for me, as it may be for many of you moms. Instead of cleaning up new messes, I played games with my kids, or read a book. I chatted with my husband freely.
- Perhaps most importantly, I didn't use any technology. No social media, email, Facebook, Instragram. I typically do this on Sundays, and I cannot imagine having a truly restful Sunday with my iPhone nagging me all day long.
Yes, it took a little pre-planning, but what a different kind of Sunday this makes for! Now, your steps might not look like mine. They may look completely different, actually. But if you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and tightly wound these days, I urge you to look at your Sabbath, and pray that the Lord would give you his wisdom about how you can get some real Sabbath rest on these days.
I believe that He wants to refresh our souls, re-fix our eyes on Him, and rest us for the work we will do in the week ahead.
But just like the patriarchs of old had to trust the Lord to provide their food when they rested, so we trust the Lord and lay down our plans and our striving - and rest. If you're interested in making your Sabbath day different, check out my Sunday Challenge. I have loved doing this!
How have you made sacrifices to celebrate your day of rest? Have you felt the Lord's blessing through these steps?