Observing the Sabbath: Thoughts on Church and Rest

 
Good Monday morning, friends.
 
I’ve been away so long I have so much to share with you; fun school news, book reviews, (apparently rhymes), changes around here, thoughts on “home”, things we’re enjoying, and so much more.  If I sat here all day, I probably wouldn’t get all the posts out I’d like to write.  Let’s take things as they come though, as I stick to my words.  Starting with the most recent, let’s talk about the weekend.
 
Not calling myself old, but I do think I might be starting to learn from my mistakes. (perk of being in my 30’s? I think maybe it is.) I have a busy life, I mean, don’t we all?  My days mostly start by getting a baby out of a crib to snuggle and feed a bottle and she, soon-there-after, is joined by three other rugrats fully energized from a 12-hour snooze, ready to fill my house full of clamor for the next 12 hours. (we have an early bedtime for a reason, folks.)  Needless to say, every day is a challenge to balance enjoying those kids and accomplishing what I need to everyday so I don’t end up on the next episode of “Hoarders,” showing off my housekeeping skills with four illiterate children underfoot. This is my daily grind, and no, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
 
Back to the lessons learned…I have a lot to do.  This month is extra chaotic too, so last Sunday I was crunching in what I could to get a “jump start” on my week.  Not smart, you guys.  I ended the day practically in a sweat trying to check off every last thing while I had Jarrod there to help with the kids.  Nearly in tears that night I felt sorry for myself for not having even 10 minutes of rest that day–Sunday–the day designed for rest.   
 
This weekend was no different than last, there was still a list.  But like I said, I am striving to accomplish the title of older and wiser and things were different this weekend.  Saturday I juggled the titles of laundress, floor mopper, taxi-driver, cheerer-onner at baseball practice, cuddler-to-sleep, book reader, party prepper, errand runner, and grocery getter–so that Sunday would be reserved, blocked out, different than the day before, restful.
 
The Sabbath can be any day, most of us in ‘Merica observe it on Sunday, but some folks observe it from Friday night to Sunday night, or Saturday.  We are like the majority, Sunday has always been traditionally for church…a day set aside for worship.  But if you look up the word “Sabbath,” it says that it’s a day reserved for rest and/or worship. 

 
 
My opinions on what worship is, what church is, what religion is has changed a lot over the last several years, over the course of my life.  Wait, scratch that.  I’m finally getting brave enough to peel back the layers of what I truly believe about Christianity, and church is one of those layers.  The pendulum has swung from being a little girl in the Catholic church, believing that the act of going to church was your ticket to eternal freedom.  No one ever told me that, it was just something I thought, or maybe even dramatized in my own mind.  I changed from that girl to the young woman that believed that you must be part of a church to be a good Christian, even if that church was a bad fit or made you feel like a sucky Christian, you go because that’s what Christians do…they go to church, damnit.
 
The pendulum has kept sweeping upward and I’m finally brave enough to say what I believe: that you can be a Christian and not have your butt in a pew every week.  I know, sounds “lukewarm,” right? (another word that’s taken me a long time to define without feeling like, or being shamed into, a piece of crap.)  But I don’t think it’s lukewarm or ultra unholy or any of that.  Staying home, enjoying the little things, drinking in the little moments that you sometimes miss from being too busy, staying in your pajamas, leaving the TV off…until afternoon but only then for Downton reruns, playing some chill tunes, eating a simple brunch together, laying in bed and journaling a list of things that make you feel grateful, snuggling on the couch smelling your little girl’s hair, enjoying an afternoon conversation with your husband over coffee….this was my Sabbath yesterday. 

 
A few days after my frenzied Sunday I read this:
 
 

Here is a short guide to what you should not be doing on your Sabbath: strenuous household chores (preparing meals is permitted, but they should either be easy or festive depending on your choice) catching up on work that you didn’t complete last week or getting a head start on work you’re supposed to start on Monday; shopping at large department stores that insert slick circulars in weekend papers.

 

This is what the Sabbath is for: reverence, rest, renewal, rejuvenation, reassuring rituals, recreation, rejoicing, revelation, remembering how much you have to be grateful for, and saying “thank you!”  You can do this in a church, mosque, temple, or synagogue, on a walk, while antiquing, sitting in bed propped up on pillows reading something wonderful with a breakfast tray, working the crossword puzzle before a roaring fire, attending a marvelous art exhibition or movie matinee, or listening to opera in the kitchen as you sip sherry and prepare a fabulous feast.  What matters is that you do something special that speaks to your soul and that you revel in whatever you do.  Your activities on the Sabbath should uplift you and provide enough inspiration to sustain you during the week to come.  

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-Susan Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

All I’m saying is this…Sabbath might look different for all of us, just as long as we observe it in some way.  We all need a revitalization day, no matter what we believe, what we worship, or how we worship it, we need a refresher day.  I’m learning not to let the tasks I didn’t get accomplished sneak into my refreshing.

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I am ready for this week.  I do feel renewed, refreshed, and rested.  This week will bring ballet pictures, multiple chores, a birthday party, dinners out, guests, activities, and a much needed Spring Break (yes, that’s proper noun worthy) for my students.  And next Sunday will be waiting for me to refresh and reflect after all that. 

Getting teeth brings out the crusty nose, but those teething side effects ain’t got nothin’ on those eyes.

Happy Monday, friends.  Wishing you a rejuvenated day/week/life/existence.  Go get it, gurrrl.

Signed,
Slightly over-rested blogger.

I’ll (hopefully) be back later this week to talk about one of my favorite seasons and my little lady turning six.  Peace out.

7 Comments

  1. I can't believe this happens in the Church! Good for you to recognize that it's not right boo to those people!! Teething I remember that time poor girly.

  2. I have been trying to live this truth more. Rest is so hard for us Mama's but so integral to our being able to nurture those littles in our lives {+our hubs + our hearts}. Blessings to you, Sweets as you find the sweet spot on Sundays {or any day} and for encouraging others to do the same.
    hugs,
    xoxo
    Susan @SugarBeans.org

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!
    Yes Sunday is just that – the day of re-vitalising yourself before the week ahead…of being re-flective of the week before!
    I always wonder why I race to the store on a Sunday to restock for school when really they'd be happy with simple left overs and me shopping after school drop off on the Monday!
    Emailing you hon…xxPS- those eyes- ammmmazing!!!

  4. Just wanted to say how great these words are for my heart and soul today. After these last few years of struggling with what my Sundays should look like – this have me a new way to think. My husband gets one weekend off a month, my youngest will not go to a nursery, I haven't found a church home that fits my heart and we move in three months. Out of all that came a lot of guilt. (Dang Catholic upbringing!). Thank you. I needed a new focus and this was the shift I needed.

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