I know Christians aren’t supposed to say this, but I have to confess: I used to hate Sundays.
During my first seven years as a mom, my husband served as a pastor of our church. At the time, we had two services on Sundays and often hosted people at our home in between. After the guests left and before we had to go back to church, my husband understandably needed a nap.
My job on Sundays was to get the kids ready for church, prepare and serve the food at lunch time, clean up the mess in the kitchen, keep the kids quiet while Daddy took his nap, and figure out a plan for dinner.
It didn’t take long at all before I grew to dread Sundays. They exhausted me. Even on weeks when we didn’t have people over for a meal, I still had to occupy the kids while my husband slept. It either involved shushing them incessantly while my anger rose with their noise levels, or it involved leaving the house with them altogether and schlepping to a park or some other outing. No matter which option I chose, I was spent.
And just for good measure, I added guilt to my misery—guilt over being a pastor’s wife and secretly hating Sundays.
This went on for several years while I homeschooled my kids during the week.
Recently, I started working full-time from home. My husband and I swapped roles for a season to meet family needs, and I’m finding myself with a whole new routine and workload. I work for several clients, wearing many hats and juggling numerous balls for six days of the week—but I’ve chosen to preserve my Sundays as "no work" days.
I’ve decided to view Sunday as a day of Sabbath rest—just as God intended.
Like the flip of a switch, my perception of Sundays has gone from dread to bliss—from dreading the task of keeping the kids quiet, to cherishing my only "non-work" day of the week.
My new schedule and routine has allowed me to appreciate the Sabbath for what it really is—a gift from God. What I used to view as a burden is now seen in a new light as one of the Lord’s good and perfect gifts from above (James 1:17).
After laboring hard for six days of the week, I can now understand God’s emphasis on the sacred importance of rest for the refreshment of our souls. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, and He knows exactly what we need—including our desperate need to rest.
I realize that if you’re a mom or you have younger kids in the home, you may scoff at the idea of actually getting a break in this lifetime. But even if you’re still on “mom duty” 24/7, I think there are still some creative ways in which we can plan ahead in order to make Sundays more restful than the other days of the week.
What if you double your dinner recipe on Saturday so you can eat leftovers on Sunday? How about allocating two hours for family quiet time in the afternoon, when your kids can be alone in their rooms to read books, do puzzles, or have a little snooze? What would happen if you asked your spouse to take the kids somewhere for a while so you could have some time off?
In addition to setting aside the day as an opportunity to focus on God and gather for corporate worship, think about some things that really refresh you and restore your soul. Do you find reading restful? Being in nature? Taking a nap? Whatever it is, I’d encourage you to carve out time on Sundays to do those things.
During a recent sermon that my husband preached, he told the congregation that we should designate Sunday afternoons as leisure reading time. Even if we don’t manage to read for pleasure during the rest of the week, we could chip away at the pages of a book each Sunday afternoon.
I can’t tell you how much freedom those words gave to me. Hearing his suggestion was like a gulp of much-needed fresh air.
It sounds silly, but it was almost as if I needed permission to read something just for my own enjoyment. Now I can hardly wait until Sunday lunch is cleared from the table so I can sneak away to a quiet corner (or, let’s be honest—a semi-noisy living room with boys playing car racing games on the Wii) with a pile of books just for me.
Instead of cooking a full lunch and dinner on Sundays, I give myself a break in the kitchen and have the kids make sandwiches or toast and tea, or warm up an assortment of leftovers.
The goal is to minimize work and stress, and maximize reveling in the enjoyment of God and His good gifts (not that work is not a gift, too, but you know what I mean).
So let me ask you—how are you intentionally celebrating the gift of Sabbath rest? What are you doing differently to set Sundays apart from every other day? How are you making sure your tank is full for the week that lies ahead?
God has given us a wonderful gift in the Sabbath—how are you thanking Him for it?
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.