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Gift of Time and Sabbath Rest, Part 2

I looked at the clock and sighed, frustrated with yet another Sunday evening spent in a haze of laundry. Socks, undershirts, pants, work shirts, and towels stood in piles waiting to be put away while I took out theSabbath Rest last load from the dryer. Eleven p.m. and NOT all was well.

My Sabbath Was Broken

Lying in bed 20 minutes later, I knew something had to change. And I knew where to start …

A few weeks ago, I discussed a niggling in the back of my mind that my Sabbath was broken. The gift of time God had given us with a 7th day to rest just wasn’t happening in my world. I wanted to recapture some of the feeling I had as a child on Sundays: the slower pace, time with family, and a more contemplative approach to the day.

I wanted more margin in my day for reading, walks, visits, or even, dare I say, time to just sit and think or pray. I thought through my day and realized that every Sunday had a common, time-sucking, frustrating activity: laundry. I never seemed to remember to throw in a load throughout the week, so Sunday would roll around and I would be stuck with a mountain of dirty clothes.

The simple key to my problem lay in taking that task off of Sunday’s docket.

I decided to spread that chore out over the other days of the week, using Saturday as my catch-up day. Saturday morning, while the last load or two is washing, I also work on cleaning the house. By the time Saturday afternoon rolls around, I have a clean house and clean laundry.

Slow-down Time

IMG_8595The result being that on Sunday, my husband and I now go to church and came home to tidiness and drawers full of clean clothes — and time on our hands. The first free Sunday, we spent the afternoon on an autumn walk, exploring a new trail and God’s breathtaking creation. I can’t quite describe the peace that having a margin of time gives me.

I luxuriate in the freedom to spend this day more as God intended, not lost in a haze of mundane chores and stressful striving. I know I need to make tweeks to my schedule still, and as I continue to explore this topic,  I will.

How about you? Are you looking for a little margin in your Sunday to help you celebrate the Sabbath? I have a few suggestions:

  1. Honestly evaluate your Sunday. What chore is causing you the most stress/taking up the most time? What is the next thing?
  2. Can you move the time-sucking activity to another day? If not, look at the next item on your list. Can that be changed or moved?
  3. If neither of them can be adjusted, then pray about whether you really need to be involved in this activity. Or, perhaps you’re involved in ministry work and Sunday is the busiest day of the week. Make sure you’re not scheduling afternoon meetings that could be moved to a different day. As some other pastors do, you may need to take your Sabbath on a different day of the week.

What Does the Rest of the Week Look Like?

Most likely you’ll also need to consider your schedule on the other six days of the week so that you can free up some time on Sunday.

Now I realize as an empty-nester, I have more leeway because I no longer have kids’ activities to worry about. However, when our children were home, we made some hard choices. Each child was allowed to participate in one activity besides youth group, and that was it. And that activity could not include travel sports, because my husband and I decided we were not going to spend every weekend on the road. That was not a healthy, sustainable life for us.

If your children are involved in multiple activities that have you running nonstop, it’s time to reevaluate. It is perfectly acceptable to say “no” to too many activities. Prayerfully determine your priorities as the parent and decide how to implement that decision for your family.

Let’s not accept the status quo. It’s time to take back our Sundays. Creating margin in your day just may be the spark you and your family need to breathe, grow, and thrive.

Pray on!

 




Gifts of Time and Sabbath Rest

Time is an elusive resource. No matter how hard we try, we can’t grasp it or control it or change it.time, Sabbath, rest,

  • We complain that there isn’t enough of it in a day to get things done.
  • It flies by when we’re having fun.
  • Things can become frozen in it.
  • The older we get, the faster it goes.
  • It’s of the essence.
  • We tell people to stop wasting it.

What is time, really?

The Gift of Time

With the creation of the sun and the moon on Day 4, God bestows upon us the gift of time and seasons. This Genesis 1 gift keeps on giving. We live out our lives within its parameters: seconds, minutes, hours; days, weeks, months, years. Over the course of a year, we rotate through the seasons of birth, growth, harvest, and rest.

But how many of us even notice this gift of time or the seasons that should give meaning and purpose to our lives, both in our days and in our years? Do we fully experience and engage with our senses the passing and changing of day to night, of week to month, of season to season, of year to year? Do we build into Untitled design-3our days times of rest, or do the days parade by in a stream of busyness and business, barely acknowledged much less celebrated?

Sabbath Rest?

As I’ve started working through The Way of Discipleship book with a friend, we’re currently studying the practice of Sabbath. The definition states the following: “Sabbath is a specific period of rest from the labors of life for the purpose of rejuvenation and fellowship with God and one another.” Three questions then direct me to evaluate my practice of Sabbath regarding these points:

  • my pace of life and its effect on my soul and those around me
  • what rest looks like for me, and
  • how much time I set aside to rest or reflect on God

As I sat with these thoughts, I realized this wasn’t going to be a section I could zoom through, because honestly I couldn’t see much Sabbath rest going on in my life on Sunday or any other day for that matter. I thought uncomfortably about what my Sundays typically look like. Morning is devoted to church, yes, but the afternoons are nearly indistinguishable from any other day of the week, crammed full of activities, cleaning, cooking, and laundry, lots of laundry. I often intend to slow down and relax, but rarely does it happen.

Jen's Sabbath pictureGod set aside Day 7 to rest from His labors. It’s a pattern He means for us to follow that’s somehow been lost in our skewed vision of time. Each day we race from work to school to home to lessons to home and then start the process all over again. Sunday is supposed to be different, as it was when I was a child. Stores  closed. Businesses shut. Families went to church, ate a leisurely dinner, napped, played,  and visited. Somehow from then to now, we’ve shed that tradition and made Sunday the catch-up day. Catch up on work, chores, laundry, with precious little time for Sabbathing.

I’ve tried to tackle this issue before in my life, but without much success. I want to be mindful of the gifts of time and rest and Himself that God has given us. I want to discover how to infuse them not just into my Sunday, but to create mini-Sabbath times throughout the rest of the week too.

Next post, I’ll look at my first attempt at creating some margin in my Sundays.

If you’d like to join me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on time and Sabbath. Just leave them below.

I’d like to thank my friend, artist Jennifer Bubp,, for allowing me to use her beautiful Sabbath collage.




First Sunday of Advent

December 1 marks the first Sunday of Advent for 2013.More Than A Baby coverKindle

Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas. It is the start of the new calendar year for the Christian calendar. Traditionally, the season of Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and continues through December 24, while the Christmas season starts on December 25 and goes until the Epiphany on January the 8th.

It seems that we often skip the season of Advent and jump right into Christmas. I wonder if Christmas would hold more meaning for us if we took the time to prepare our hearts to receive our Savior. That is the whole purpose of Advent. And that is the purpose of this devotional. It’s my prayer that by taking the time to read through these devotions during Advent that Christ will become even more special to you during the holiday season—and through the rest of the year too!

The word advent from the Latin adventus (Greek parousia), means “coming” or “arrival.” The season of Advent is focused on the coming of Jesus as Messiah (Christ or King). Our worship, scripture readings, and prayers not only prepare us spiritually for Christmas (His first coming), but also for His eventual Second Coming.

This is why the scripture readings during Advent include both Old Testament passages about the expected Messiah, and New Testament passages about Jesus’ Second Coming. We also read passages about John the Baptist, whom God sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the hearts of the people for Him.

Enjoy this Advent season, and may God bless you and your family.

Please click on the link below to download today’s devotional!

First Sunday of Advent