A Day of Rest
“What did you do this weekend?” a friend asked me on a Monday morning. “Nothing much,” was my knee-jerk response. But “nothing” couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Saturday was spent shuffling the kids from one set of grandparents to the other so that I could race to clean the house and get caught up on laundry, while they were watched. Saturday afternoon was spent teaching a class. Sunday was a blur of last-minute preparations for the coming week: grocery shopping, bulk cooking, ironing work clothes, paying bills, and writing an article.
Nothing restful. Nothing delightful. Nothing relaxing…should have been my answer.
Keep Holy the Sabbath Day
The concept of the Sabbath begins in the story of creation when God himself modeled this by resting on the 7th day. Again, we see this wisdom passed from God to his people when he ordered that the land should be given a Sabbath year of rest every 7th year — nothing planted and harvested on the soil for that year so that it would be ready to plentifully produce for the next 6 years that followed.
Later, we know it as part of the 10 Commandments, right there alongside other fundamental laws like “do not murder” which we are to live by.
When it comes to understanding and wisdom on how to best care for ourselves, I have come to trust in the Creator’s instructions. I believe He knows a thing or two about our health and wellness. Keeping the Sabbath as a true day of rest and renewal just may be the simple, overlooked key to balancing the hectic overwhelming pace of life that we lead.
“But how can I possibly ‘give up’ one whole day to do nothing? Monday morning will come, and the week will be a disaster without all the preparations.”
Wayne Muller, author of Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in Our Busy Lives says, ” The more our life speeds up, the more we feel weary, overwhelmed, and lost…The whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation.”
All or nothing?
How can we reclaim the Sabbath as a Day of Rest? Start by subtracting one thing and adding another.
For example, choose one chore, task, or agenda-driven thing that does not have a place on a day of rest (like email, work, laundry, bills, etc.) and remove it from a 24-hour period.
Then add one element to your Sabbath day that is noteworthy and directly related to delighting, being in the present moment, relaxing, or rejuvenating. Perhaps a morning walk, stretching on the sofa for a mid-day nap, a long slow cup of tea in a favorite chair, a coffee date with your friend or spouse, or a picnic with your kids in the backyard. You get the idea.
Put it to the test.
Watch to see if the quality of energy you have for the upcoming week changes. See if, in making rest a priority, you find new ways to fit all that needs to be done into the 6 other days. Observe whether you know more clearly what things can be removed from your plate, to open up more time.
Keep adding one and subtracting one until you find the Day of Rest that you long for and that prepares you to take on the week ahead in a balanced, energized and productive way.
Then on Monday morning when someone asks about your weekend, you can answer, “A whole lot of intentional, peaceful and relaxing nothing!”