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I recently heard someone speaking on the subject of the Sabbath. If you're not familiar with the term, it's a period of time, usually a day and often considered Sunday, when you rest (for you Type-A's out there, that is translated as "do - nothing - productive").
I know that's a hard concept for moms, at least it is for me. How do I do nothing? Just the question elevates my heartbeat and makes my chest feel squeezed...
My Sabbaths have usually come in spits and spurts. You know: it's a Thursday afternoon and I find myself with a free hour or 2, or (contented sigh) I squeeze in a sweet Sunday afternoon nap (or it's forced upon me by my exhausted bod...).
Truth-be-told, I have a hard time resting. And even when my body manages to sit still, my brain is constantly going; mostly creating to-do lists...
Here are some more
reasons I have a hard time excuses I use for not celebrating a Sabbath:
- who else is gonna__________? (insert "cook," "clean," "take care of" or simply "do it" here)
- who has the time?
- next week... or "as soon as__________ is over" (insert here any number of things: my daughter's dance recital, the kids' play, our family vacation - Ha!)
But the biggest one, the one that is never spoken aloud, or perhaps given a conscious thought, is
- I'm not valuable enough to take care of myself...
Because, really, when you get down to it, isn't that what we're saying when we don't enjoy a Sabbath rest?
And even though it may feel almost un-American, or at least uber-lazy, we DO benefit from this time set apart. In his book "24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life", Matthew Sleeth describes a specific group of people in California who live, on average, about 12 years longer than the US average...and analyzing their lives indicate that this can be attributed to intentionally and regularly celebrating a Sabbath. (Read the details yourself on pages 100-101.) Isn't that amazing?! (Seriously, this is a great book - easy read, very encouraging and enlightening, and got ME motivated to take some much-needed R&R...)
What Does a Sabbath look like?
It's a day to focus on 2 things:
- rest, and
- relationships (this includes both family/friends and your relationship with the Lord!)
I know that sounds like a lot 😉 and especially if you have little ones, it may be! If that's the case, you may have to get creative! If you have school-aged children, you could choose a school day, when they're not around offering you an "excuse" to keep busy! Here are some ideas to use the time wisely:
- meet a friend for coffee
- enjoy extended quiet time with Bible reading/study
- meet your spouse for lunch
- see a movie you've been wanting to see
- take a walk
- lie on a blanket and daydream
- swing on a hammock or on a swing outside
- take a nap (oh, delish!!)
- do a craft you enjoy
- spend some non-productive time with your kids/family (NO chores or errands or tech nearby)
- call a friend or family member that you especially miss <3
Here's my challenge to you (and it's not what you think!)
I know you've heard in sermons and workshops to set a day aside, but ladies (mostly) we're talking REAL WORLD here! Over the course of the next 3 months, pick ONE (1) DAY a month, mark it on your calendars (or day planners), tell your family & friends, heck, even post it on Facebook, and ENJOY a Sabbath! Don't plan too much of your day in advance because then you'll be tempted to feel productive as you check off your activities... JUST use it to focus on, c'mon, say it with me: "Rest and Relationships"!
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And Why Should You Not Celebrate a Sabbath?
Ummm... (insert birds chirping here...) Sorry, I got nuthin'... BUT, just to round out "the other side of the coin," Kathy over at Cornerstone Confessions, HAS provided us with 10 reasons not to celebrate a Sabbath... (Tongue-in-cheek, of course, but nevertheless a good read which may touch some of us a bit too close to home...)