As a young mom, I spent many years longing for a relaxing and restful Sunday. After all, wasn’t that what “Sabbath” was all about?
I read blogs about preparing food, clothing, and other provisions the day before so that I wouldn’t have to work so hard (or at all!) on Sunday itself, only to find myself worn out by all the extra work I was trying to fit in to my already busy days as a mom of little ones.
What little “preparing” I was able to do didn’t even seem to make a dent in Sunday’s stress. In fact, there were many, many Sundays I found myself longing to just stay at home and forgo all the extra work the very act of going to church and trying to rest created for me. I spent what I am sure would be cumulative YEARS sitting in church foyers soothing babies and toddlers. Sunday was anything but restful.
After listening to a preacher suggest our day of rest could be ANY DAY because of the verses found in Romans…
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.Romans 14:5
I decided to try resting on Saturday instead.
And while that kept me from feeling bad about all the work I had to do on Sunday just to keep my little people alive during church, it didn’t change the fact that I still had to keep them alive on Saturday too.
No matter how hard I worked not to work, I still had work to do.
But wasn’t I supposed to rest? It’s one of the 10 Commandments, right?
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.Exodus 20:8-11
But, all this trying to rest was incredibly EXHAUSTING!
(hmmm…are you starting to see where the Lord was taking me???)
I also found an article that suggested “rest” meant doing whatever FEELS restful to me.
Well, let me tell you, I know EXACTLY what feels restful to me! Reading a book in a quiet room with soft music playing in the background as I grab a short nap, followed by a bubble bath with no interruptions – that, my friends is restful to me.
And totally impossible in my house!
But, I kept hearing that Sabbath is about humans needing rest and self care so we can meet the coming week revitalized and ready – strong in the Lord, if you will.
Christians are to be replenished by a good sermon and a nap, they said. If you aren’t getting the first, change churches. If you aren’t getting the second, change husbands.
To tell you the truth, the very word “self care” (or “me time”) long ago became a bit of a thorn in my side simply because it is a nearly impossible concept if you have children, and tends to lead to bitterness and resentment toward anyone who doesn’t accommodate this “need.” (i.e. children and husbands)
READ >> The Me Time Myth
So, I could spend all day Sunday chasing after self care so I can meet the coming week feeling rested, but what happens if I don’t get enough self care on Sunday?
What happens if I don’t get any?
(sick kids, anyone?)
Will I be unable to reach my full potential the next week? Will I be a crummy wife and mother? Might I even be a crummy Christian and possibly lead people astray because I am not resting properly?
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.Hebrews 4:11
Your real Sabbath rest starts here.
Come to find out, I was totally overthinking this entire thing and completely missing what was right in front of me…my true Sabbath rest…
While I was working at resting for one day a week, He already did all the work so I can rest every day of the week.
It is finished!
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.Hebrews 4:9-11
I needed to simply ENTER THAT REST.
I needed to stop trying to WORK at RESTING, let go of the RULES for RESTING, and stop seeing the Sabbath as all about ME.
Sabbath is NOT about self care. Sabbath is about God’s care.
I can stop overanalyzing all the ways I’m failing and not measuring up on Sundays (and every other day for that matter!). I can stop feeling burdened by the work I have to do. And I can stop trusting in myself to get it all done. I can rest knowing God’s got this and He will care for me every single day with exactly the portion I need.
Yes, I still have lots to do on Sundays, but I’m no longer chasing bubble baths and naps. I’m no longer trying to figure out how to do everything right Monday through Saturday so I can do nothing on Sunday. I am no longer burdened by a bunch of man-made Sabbath rules because the Lord of the Sabbath redeemed me from that slavery!