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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Waiting on Sabbath


My third grader still struggles to know what day of the week it is. If he asks and I respond with, "well yesterday was Tuesday, so today is..." He'll scrunch his face, give me a questioning glance and guess, "Thursday?!" 

I can't really even blame the kid. One day looks a lot like all the others around here. Besides attending church on Sunday, there aren't any major events that divide the week for the kids and me. We sleep in on Mondays and take our field trips on Saturdays. There's not a whole lot of reason to get particularly excited about Fridays, except that pizza is on the menu for dinner. For the most part I like our rhythm. The idea of rushing around in the moorings is an anathema to me...but it has been nagging at me lately that all of my days seem to run together too. There's absolutely a Groundhog Day effect going on:

Wake up, make coffee, feed kids. Discipline kids. Re-heat coffee. Teach kids. Make lunch. Discipline kids. Clean kitchen. Teach kids. NAP TIME! Discipline kids. Karate. DAD'S HOME! Dinner. Discipline kids. NETFLIX! Sleep. 

There's nothing wrong with that rhythm, but it starts to feel mind-numbing after a few years. My "work week" looks nearly identical to my weekend and it can be BORING. There's no down beat- the rhythm of the week never changes. I'm guessing whether you work or stay at home or homeschool or put your kids on the bus, a lot of moms can relate to the Groundhog Day thing. 

All of creation was designed to fit into the rhythm of work and rest. You see it in nature's seasons and as humans our circadian rhythm requires an activity-rest cycle. God chose rest after six days of work creating the universe- and then He commanded the Jews to follow his lead - "Work 6 days and do everything you need to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work..." (Exodus 20:8 MSG)

Modern Christians mostly ignore the Sabbath commandment of rhythm and rest. I myself have never been good about observing the Sabbath, considering it something legalistic and no longer required under our new covenant. But I've been ignoring the obvious fact that many things which aren't a requirement are still really good ideas. Like getting vaccinated or exercising frequently or brushing your teeth. We do things we don't have to do all the time for the sake of wisdom - maybe Sabbath is the same? 

This past week I determined to Sabbath. I took inspiration from an Instastory post by @anniefdowns who made a checklist of things she planned to do and things she planned to not-do on her Sabbath. What a concept! The idea that I could determine myself what Sabbath should look like for me in this season?  That I can define "work"? That "rest" might even mean going for a run? All of a sudden Sabbath sounds amazing! 

So on Saturday I was intentional and did ALL of the laundry. Like ALL of it y'all. Four loads. Washed, dried, folded, put away (mostly). I made a pot of chili for Sunday's dinner. I hand-washed dishes I would usually have left in the sink for the next day. I ran the dishwasher. Come Sunday morning we told the kids they were in charge of breakfast. Anything they could prepare themselves was fair game but I was not making waffles, flipping pancakes or schmearing their bagels with cream cheese. 

We left the TV off and played cards with the kids.

We ran out to Home Depot to buy flowers for the front porch because we wanted to.

We ate lunch off paper towels.

We went to church and came home to a dinner that was already prepared.

We left the dinner dishes in the sink for Monday. 

I stayed off social media all day long. Which was really refreshing. Turns out I didn't miss anything. 

It was delightfully simple. Not easy by any means, but simple. And probably, that was God's intent all along. Sabbath should rest our souls. Should provide breathing room to reflect on the lovely in life. Should remind us that it is God who makes the world turn and provides for us. Should allow space for the sacred to enter in and touch us.

One of my intentions this year is to Sabbath more regularly. To leave some space in my life for days that are "unproductive", to give my mama-hands a break from the monotony of the quotidian tasks that fill my non-Sabbath hours. To remind myself and my children that I am not God and I do not make the world turn.

What do y'all think? Anyone out there a committed Sabbath-er? If so give me all the encouragement!  What does your rhythm of work and rest look like? What does a day full of "rest" look like for you?

Anyone up for joining me?!


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