I hope that enjoyed last week’s post and that you were able to get some rest last Sunday! Or that you were at least able to think about beginning to incorporate rest as part of your weekly routine.
I don’t remember exactly when I started this practice in our own home, I think it just evolved over the past few years. We’ve always attended church on Sundays and I have long since loved to take a nap on Sunday afternoon. When we began having children and as our weeks began to get busier, I saw the need for all of us to have a day of rest.
Matthew 11:28-30 encourages me to be intentional about making it part of our week. I sure need rest for my soul, don’t you?
Here are a few practical tips to help you incorporate Sabbath rest into your own home and schedule:
Don’t be Legalistic
Jewish culture in ancient Israel was very legalistic and you could have been stoned for working on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders were outraged when Jesus and His disciples were picking wheat or healing on the Sabbath. In Mark 2:27-28 NLT, Jesus gives them proper perspective, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of the people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.’”
In these verses, Jesus explains that the Sabbath is a gift to meet our needs. We were not made to be bound to it. So give yourself grace, as Jesus does, for when you are not perfect in your practice of weekly Sabbath rest. You don’t have to feel guilty or condemn yourself. Jesus gives us freedom and grace.
Pick a Day of the Week that Works for You
I don’t think that God is as concerned about the day we pick, but rather that we pick a day. If you have to work on Sunday or you volunteer long hours, then choose another day when you’re off. Whatever day you choose, block it off on your calendar and make it a true day of rest.
This may mean saying no to social invitations, which is difficult. But consider the cost: if you miss out on a day of relaxation and refreshment, how will you feel the rest of the week?
Sundown to Sundown Practice
In Israel, they observe Shabbat from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. I try to follow the same principle on Saturday and Sunday. This allows me to not get hung up about needing to make a meal or do a load of laundry on Sunday evening to get ready for the week.
Everybody Naps on Sunday!
My children are seven and four and they are not too thrilled that I make them nap. But we have a saying, “Sunday is nap day,” and they’re learning that it’s pretty much non-negotiable. When they were younger, my husband and I would alternate taking naps and caring for the children so that we would all get rest.
Some of my favorite days of Sabbath rest are in the fall and winter during football season. We go to church, eat lunch and watch our teams play. After putting the kids down for their nap around 2 PM, I take a nap on the couch during halftime. We usually order pizza for dinner or eat leftovers. I truly try to make it a day of rest for the entire family.
Keep Things Simple
Make it a low or no-tech day for the entire family. We’re so addicted to technology that it’s nice to take a break from it. Minimizing its use will give you time to rest and play as a family.
Take a few minutes before the weekend rolls around to figure out some quick and easy meal ideas. (I’ve included a few of my favorite Crock-Pot recipes below.) Use the slow cooker, make some freezer meals or order take out. Eat on paper plates or give yourself permission to leave the dishes in the sink until your Sabbath rest is over.
Slow Cooker One Pot Wonder
Pot Roast or Whole Chicken Fryer (with giblets removed)
3-5 Potatoes Washed and Sliced
½ Package of Baby Carrots
½ cup – 1 cup water (depends on cooking time, see below)
Seasonings to taste: I used a McCormick’s Grilling Blend, but you can also use some Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and garlic powder (or whatever you think your family would like). I don’t measure, I just sprinkle generously on both sides of the roast or chicken.
Combine all of the ingredients in the slower cooker. Cook for 8-10 hours on low (using ½ cup of water) or 4-5 hours on high (with 1 cup of water).
Slow Cooker Vegetable and Pasta Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) beef broth
1.5 cups water
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon oregano
1.5 cups small shell-shaped pasta, uncooked
Grated Parmesan cheese
In slow cooker, combine onion, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, broth, water, parsley and oregano. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Stir in uncooked pasta and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until pasta is tender. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
Do What Refreshes You
How can you truly care for yourself during your time of Sabbath rest? What will help you to come away refreshed? What do you wish you could do during the week but don’t make time for? Here are a few ideas:
Get outside: take a walk or go to the park
Take a Bath
Take a Nap
Watch a Movie or Show
Play Games with Your Kids
On Fridays in Israel, the people say goodbye using this phrase, “Shabbat Shalom,” which literally translated means Sabbath Peace.
I wish you much Shabbat Shalom as you begin or continue to incorporate Sabbath rest into your weekly schedule.
I’d love to hear about how Sabbath rest is benefiting you and your family, so leave a comment on the blog or send me an e-mail.