November 18, 2022
Obligation or Celebration
Friend to Friend
We have just come through an intense season of life. You know those times:
Things at work are going crazy.
There are a million projects that need to be done immediately at home.
The family is going through its own drama.
And let’s throw in a crisis, you know, just for fun.
These are the times in my life when I start looking forward to the dentist filling a cavity so that I can sit still for a few minutes and not have to mark anything off a list.
But maybe extensive dental work is not my best plan for rest?
We have had to make the practice of rest a priority in our calendars.
Daily A little break after dinner to just rest and connect. Plus, a decent bedtime to get the sleep we need.
Monthly Taking a weekend with no obligations, and no outside responsibilities—a time when we can walk around the lake or cozy up at home and not feel guilty for watching a movie.
Yearly In June, we look at next year’s calendar and block off our vacations, both for travel and staying at home.
But I will admit, the part that has been the hardest is to take a regular weekly sabbath.
Maybe it has been a mental block, or maybe it’s been this need to always be productive in order to feel valued. But taking Sunday off just never seemed like an option. There was always too much to get done. And a lot of the times, that “too much to get done” was stuff for the church.
However, burning out emotionally tends to force a body to reevaluate priorities. And if you don’t rest, burnout is one of your most likely outcomes.
But beyond that, I had always looked at the “keeping of the Sabbath” as a command I needed to follow. Something that I would be judged by God and other Christians if I didn’t strictly keep.
But Mark 2:27 says, “Then He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’”
A day off. A gift. God sees something the world does not want for us, rest and restoration, as not only beneficial, but necessary. Something to be reserved as a blessing to be cherished, not a rule to be followed.
As a family, we have changed our approach to taking the day off.
1. We reject any notion of rigidity. We celebrate the Sabbath from Saturday sundown through Sunday sundown. That is what works for our family. For others, it might look differently. We know nurses who work all day Sunday (and aren’t we thankful for that) who have to change their “day of rest.”
2. We make the day special. Like any other holy day, we plan ahead to set the time aside. I shop, cook, clean, and work in advance to get everything I can done so that we really, truly take that time off.
3. We plan something special. Besides worshiping God, our day is open. Sometimes we take a drive in the mountains, invite friends over to eat, hunker down to watch a movie, or stay up late to watch the stars and eat some s’mores.
These mindset and behavior changes can be especially hard to make if you grew up in a more legalistic lifestyle. But to constantly remember that the Sabbath is a gift that God gives His beloved children turns our obligation into a celebration.
Dear Lord, I have let myself be fooled into believing that our relationship is filled with only one-sided obligations. Help me keep discovering the freedom found only in You. Help me learn to love not only Your laws, but recognize the good gifts that You give to me, Your child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What is one practice that you incorporate into your Sabbath to set it aside and make it special? Click on the comment button and share your Sabbath practices with us.
More from the Girlfriends
Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory have been there. They want to encourage you, but even more importantly, they offer helpful solutions to make your everyday life easier. An Abundant Place provides good advice on how to plan ahead, set boundaries with others and yourself, and be more intentional about self-care without the guilt.
© 2022 by Kathi Lipp. All rights reserved.