5 Tips On Practicing Sabbath With A Family
I have a chapter in Chin Up titled "I'm Taking Sabbath Back" (Timberlake fans feel the love!) We look at Sabbath theology and I share some stories of how God has provided while we rested. The Sabbath is an entire day set aside where we cease striving to provide for ourselves and rest in God's provision.
So many of my readers have started to take a day of rest but are asking the very important question: How do I Sabbath with a family? It's not like I can stop changing diapers and taking care of little ones. Oh, I get it. But we aren't called to stop nurturing and loving our children on the Sabbath. We ARE called to rest from striving and to remember God. So how does this work with a family?
5 Tips On Practicing Sabbath with a Family:
1. Have a Special Sabbath Toy Box. This doesn't have to be big or fancy. But just some set-aside toys that are special to the Sabbath. This has kept my littles busy with independent play a little longer. By putting aside a few toys, this shows something about having intentionally set-aside days, times, and items.
2. Prepare. It takes work to rest. On Friday and Saturday, we prepare meals to enjoy on Sunday. I keep it simple: casseroles and crockpots. We usually have a casserole baking in the oven during church and invite others to join us when we get home. For dinner I keep it simple with Grandma Costco. I have purchased their lasagnas or made a pot roast in the crockpot. Spending the day in the kitchen is not restful to me. As well, I ready my house and my heart together to rest. On Saturday night I put all signs of work away. Could be a broom. Could be a computer. It's time to rest. I light a candle and remember that we are hanging up hustle for 24 hours.
3. Everyone has a rest time. If you have littles, after lunch is usually nap time. So I take a Sunday nap and rest my body most every week. I have a nap spot and I look forward to shutting down in that sweet, cozy spot. I also have older kids who know it's a quiet play time or reading time in the basement or their rooms. I try to rest my phone and put it away for hours at a time. I am better at this somedays than others.
4. Listen to God. My husband works with his mind during the week, and therefore likes to work with his hands on the Sabbath. He often has his tool belt on while I am drooling and napping. Sometimes he has helped fix other friends' homes. This is not a striving to provide for himself–He has listened to God and communes with Him in that. Let's not be Sabbath Police for others. Let's listen to God. And as you listen, maybe an extended family party is planned and you need to go for just a part of it to keep the crazy at bay. He will lead you.
5. Take turns having time away. If you are married with your kids, take turns giving one another a few hours each Sabbath to be refreshed. I have a quiet park I love to walk in after my drooly afternoon snooze and my husband always encourages me to go be in nature. Sometimes I meet a friend. Sometimes I need solitude. If you are single parenting, if at all possible, see if you can arrange a way every other week to get out in nature and soak in God's beauty and quiet by yourself. No matter the season. Quiet, freshly fallen snow is my favorite.
May these tips inspire you to trust God to cease striving for an entire day and rest your mind, body, and soul. This will begin to affect the rest of your week. You will have more energy and you will chip away at the constant hustle and trust God more each day. He is such a good Father. He will provide for you. You can trust Him to give you the time and energy to answer those emails, to finish that project, to work hard... on Monday.