As a mother, I work seven days a week. I have twelve to fourteen loads of laundry to do, same amount of dishes. There are bathrooms to clean, floors to clean, counters to clean. Then there are 3 meals to prepare each day, baths to be given (both to kids and pets), and vacuuming. And that’s just my cleaning load :).
For years (if not all my life) I have worked every day. Sure, I would take the occasional afternoon off or vacation time, but it was not consistent and certainly not every week. When I would read the Ten Commandments, I would skim over the one that talked about keeping the Sabbath. Confession time: I didn’t believe it really applied to my life. It was an Old Testament thing, not as applicable as the other commandments like do not lie or do not murder.
Then two things happened this year to make me rethink that. I read a book that talked about the Sabbath. Not in an overtly religious way. Just the need in our fast paced gogogo world to slow down, be quiet, and hear God. I began to rethink the Sabbath after reading that book.
Then a few weeks later, it was the topic preached at church: our need to slow down and rest, to keep the Sabbath.
Another confession: I had some preconceived notions of what it meant to keep the Sabbath. Such as all you do is sit around and be quiet all day. Or… you can’t do any kind of work or you’ll be “breaking the Sabbath.” Or… be at church all day and listen to 3 hour-long sermons. The idea of keeping the Sabbath seemed too religious to me, too “works” oriented, archaic. Not applicable to a modern day Christian.
However, the book I read, the sermon from a couple months ago, and my dawning realization that with working 40 hours a week on top of being a mother and wife was going to radically change my life made me pause and rethink the Sabbath.
Could I do it? Did I really have time to take off every week? Would I fall behind in my housework? And what did keeping the Sabbath really mean?
It means a day of rest. Something I needed already in my life and would need even more once I started working.
So I decided to give it a try. A couple weeks ago, I took Sunday off. No, I didn’t just sit around and be quiet. I certainly did not spend the entire day at church and listen to three-hour sermons. I just chose to do nothing but spend time with my family, spend time with God, and write a little. That’s all. Well, I put one load of dishes in the dishwasher :). But I didn’t even cook. We had cereal and sandwiches, meals that didn’t require much from me.
And I loved it.
I felt energized and ready to face Monday. I enjoyed my family. I was able to finally quiet myself enough to share my deepest fears and worries with God about my future. And found peace.
And you know what? I didn’t fall behind in my housework (like I thought I would). I ceased to worry about keeping the Sabbath “the right way” (whatever that way is) and just rested. I found the world could still revolve without Morgan.
So I decided to do it again. I took the next Sunday off. Then the next one. And now I’m wondering why I didn’t start doing this earlier in my life.
I will admit I have to work a bit harder on Saturday, like making sure I have sandwich makings or a frozen meal so I don’t have to cook (I love that part! the no cooking part on Sunday). But it is worth it. And I will need this day of rest even more as I start my 40-hour job next week.
Are you afraid to take a day of rest? Afraid everything will crumble like a house of cards if you’re not on it everyday? Or are you afraid of turning the Sabbath into a religious obligation? Those were my fears. But I’ve come to realize God knew what He was doing when He gave us the Sabbath and rested Himself as an example.
A day of rest. Permission to enjoy life, take a nap, play Uno with the kids. And leave the laundry for the next day :).