A Day Off

Several weeks ago my pastor preached about remembering the Sabbath.  I grew up in a Christian home so I knew this is one of the ten commandments but I never really gave much thought to it.  The bible says, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”  I figure this meant you should go to church but it really means so much more than that.

 The Sabbath is about rest. The Lord created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. We should also take a day of rest.  Even in the four seasons, winter is a season of rest.

I’m not legalistic about it but I do believe we should take a day each week to rest. Especially in this fast pace culture of busyness we live in.  My biggest question was how is that going to look in real life.  I’m a stay-at-home / homeschool mom with four kids.  It’s not like I can clock out or tell the kids it’s our day of rest so I’m not making dinner tonight.  So I carefully considered what I needed a break from.  I realized I do something pertaining to homeschooling every day.  I never gave myself a break.  If I wasn’t teaching, I’d grade papers or make lesson plans.  It’s great to be organized but at that pace I was going to get burnt out quickly.  I decided schooling was one of the things I needed to take a day off from.

Another daily task that drains me is laundry.  With six people in my family there always seems to be laundry to do.  A break from it for one day a week was welcomed by me.  My logic say that taking a day off would make bigger piles of laundry.  In reality, I’ve actually been able to stay caught up on the laundry since I’ve started observing the Sabbath.  That is a miracle around here.  I think it works something like the tithe. Even though it doesn’t make sense on paper, it works our for you in the end.

Another thing I’ve noticed since my husband and I decided to observe this day of rest is that by the end of Sunday (that’s the day we chose as our Sabbath) we are so tired we usually go to bed early.  It’s as if we run ourselves so hard the rest of the week but don’t notice how tired we are til we stop for awhile.  Makes me wonder how I functioned without stopping before.

A few other good tips my Pastor mentioned was to do what refreshes you that day.  If that’s being with friends, gather with friends.  If it’s being alone or in nature or reading a book, then do that.  Stay-at-home moms should try take a few hours break if possible to get away from the kids. Anything that drains you you should try to take a break from as much as possible.  Also it’s a good time for couples to spend some time together.

We are learning by trial and error what is truly refreshing and what is not.  I’m glad we’ve made this conscious effort to rest once a week.  It really does help to keep me from getting burnt-out.  It’s also caused me to be intentional about planning ahead so relaxation is more likely.  I think it’s worth it.  God’s ways are better then our ways.

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Good Gifts

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I started going to a bible study called “1,000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  It challenges you to live fully by finding joy in all that God has given you.  Ann was challenged one day by a friend to write 1,000 gifts God has given her.  Through making this list she has learned how to live joyfully in every situation.

Years ago, I was a negative person.  Though it didn’t always show on the outside I certainly battled it on the inside.  I had newly returned to living for Jesus after realizing living life my own way was not working.  I was having problems in my marriage which only compounded my negativity.  I turned to God’s Word searching for help.  I began putting God’s Word in my heart.  I also started writing down answers to prayers and putting them in a mason jar.  On the darker days I would open the jar and begin reading what the Lord’s been doing for me.  As I read I would remember He is always caring for me, always with me and always loving me.  It took a lot of practice but the negativity began to melt away and God put a new spirit within me.  My situation didn’t change.  My marriage was still rough, I had a miscarriage and bills were piling up.  My attitude, however, did change. 

I now try to live my life with an attitude of thankfulness.  To treasure even the smallest of moments.  To see the positives in a world so full of negatives.  So when I heard of this 1,000 gifts list this week I was excited for the challenge.  I couldn’t hold myself back from making my own list.  With each new gift I wrote, my faith grew because I know “each good and perfect gift is from our Heavenly Father”. Sometimes it feels like God created some of these moments just for me to whisper once again that He loves me.  He sees me. 

That alone is enough to raise my spirits.  However, Jesus came to give us life abundantly.  He is so good and His goodness to us never stops. Making this list reminds me I can trust Him.  He is in control.  His power is limitless.  This is what I was referring to in my last post. When we recall all the miracles of Christ while He walked this Earth, all He’s done in our own lives, as well as those we know, then fears, anxiety and doubt can no longer stand strong against us.  Instead they are replaced with faith and peace.  This calms our hearts, breaks bondages and puts new life within us.  Now with every new gift I write I remember He has even more for me.  He never stops giving good gifts to His children.  I can trust Him with my future.  So glad He is the one in control.