So many of us are tired.
Between meeting the needs of those around us, running our homes, working, or waking up with children throughout the night, we find ourselves depleted mentally, physically and emotionally.
This exhaustion leads us to turn our focus from the things that matter most to survival.
If that’s you, God has prepared a very practical balm for your weariness. It’s called Sabbath, and it made a bit difference in my life (read my story here)!
If we want to experience all the fulness of living and being that God has for us, I believe we need an element of Sabbath rest in our week!
Whether mothers, homemakers or working women –Sabbath was created to meet a deep-seated need in us. We should pay attention to that.
Let me explain…
The Theology of Sabbath
Sabbath rest is an ancient custom. It’s (nearly) as old as creation! Genesis 2:2-3 says,
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (NIV, emphasis added)
God required the nation of Israel to observe a day of Sabbath rest as part of His law. These holy laws set them apart as His people.
As Christians, we know that Christ fulfilled this law (Romans 10:4), and so it has been set aside in favor of a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:13). Since we are not bound by the law, but rather are made right with God by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), many of us no longer observe Sabbath.
However, Sabbath rest was more than a legal requirement for the people of God. It was a gift from God –a practice which met a deep and real need within our humanity. This need for weekly, rhythmic rest was inherent in our design even before sin entered the world.
When explaining why His disciples were not observing the Sabbath in the way the Pharisees expected, Jesus explained,
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27b-28 (NIV, emphasis added)
When God ordained Sabbath in Genesis 2, He did it for us, not the other way around! Our creator knows our needs better even than we do. We should pay attention to that!
How to Have a Sabbath
Hopefully you see why I think Sabbath rest is important, even for a 21st century woman! Now, practically, what does this look like?
Based on my personal experiences, putting feet to these concepts and living them out, I think your Sabbath rest day (or portion of a day) should be characterized by these four things.
4 Characteristics of a Modern Day Sabbath
1. Do the minimum, on purpose
With a little planning, you do not have to do laundry on this one day. You do not have to cook, if you’ve stocked up on freezer meals or done the work in advance. You do not have to pick up toys, or clean anything, or even wash dishes.
Figure out the absolute minimum work you can get by on (changing diapers, pulling prepared food out of the refrigerator, throwing paper plates into the trashcan) and do that only.
The premise of Sabbath is that you’re not working! Stay off your computer and email and smartphone. Your work can wait. Set boundaries and hold firm!
2. Rest for real
Physically and mentally, rest! Naps are great. Sitting is great. Laying on the floor and doing a puzzle with your kids is good. Be still a lot!
3. Choose things that give you life
Sometimes, resting happens through activity. If there is something that fills your cup, do that! If you love to go for a run, but don’t normally have time, then this might be a good activity for your Sabbath. Do what feeds you! I will not be running on my Sabbath. 🙂
If getting together with friends who draw you closer to Christ is what fills you, do that!
4. Make it about God
If your Sabbath rest day is on Sunday, go to church and be with the people of God. It will get you started on the right foot. However, I don’t believe a Sabbath rest day must be on the day you go to church. My husband worked at a church for several years, and as a result Sunday was not a particularly restful day for us.
Beyond that, don’t fill the hours of stillness with TV… please.
You will miss out on so much that God wants to give to you on this day! Instead, resolve to keep it off for part (if not all) of your rest time. Instead, spend the time simply being with God. Resist the temptation to fill the stillness with noise and distraction. If you hang in there, God will meet you.
- Open your Bible and sit in it.
- Have spiritual conversations.
- Read books that propel you towards Christ
- Be still and know that He is God! (Psalm 46:10)
I cannot even begin to say how much God ministers to me when I do this on my Sabbath rest day.
Sabbath rest and refreshment flow from time with God, not time with Facebook.
4. Quality time with your family
When I intentionally set aside the work and distractions of running a home, I suddenly find I have time to read more books, have more conversations and play more games with my husband and children.
It becomes such a joyful day!
How to Get Started
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 completely free 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
- “55 Ideas for How to Rest on Your Sabbath Day as a Mother” printable.