When I was a kid, growing up in a pastor's home, we had really funny ideas about Sunday. One was that it was "the Sabbath," sometimes called a "day of rest," and the other that it was to be set apart and be really different from other days of the week.
The reason both ideas were so odd is that for a pastoral family who had Sunday School and worship services and Sunday night church, too, to call Sundays a "day of rest" was not really very accurate. It was truly a work day for my parents and my mom, who cooked the most elaborate meal of the week on Sundays, spent most of the precious few "off" hours she had that day on the couch with her feet elevated and a cold washcloth on her forehead trying to get past a headache. But by golly – if anyone asked, it was our day of rest. Ha!
The other part – the setting the day apart as different was really a good goal, but I just knew it made us the strangest people on the block. Our attempt at making the Sabbath holy was achieved through, of course, lots of church attendance and perhaps Sunday dinner with parishoners. It meant that I could not open the big, fat, juicy Sunday newspaper (I was a fanatic about newspapers) because we just didn't read them on Sundays. We didn't watch television until after Sunday night service, if at all and we didn't shop on Sundays. If we didn't have something we needed, we just didn't get it.
I have come to understand that Sabbath rest is from God FOR me. I now know – it is not a suggestion in case I feel I can fit it in, but it is a commandment. I get that you work 6 days and then you rest one (just like God did!). It doesn't have to be a Sunday (my daughter, Tara, takes hers on Thursdays), but it has to be every 6 days. Period. And I know from personal experience that if you think you're too busy, if you believe that the world will crash if you take a day of complete rest, if you walk in disobedience to this one thing after you know better – you will crash. You will suffer the consequences and so will the people you love the most.
I attended an awesome Get the Word Out! intensive (www.getthewordout.cc) on Sabbath rest last Saturday. I invited people I love to come. Most of them were too busy. And in the ensuing week as we have talked, I see the weight they carry and the exhaustion in their faces and the weariness they dare not believe you can live without. They are limping towards their vacations with great hope that it will be enough to get them through. But here is a revolutionary concept concerning your days: work 6, rest 1…work 6, rest 1…work 6, rest 1…Mary Jean taught that (The GWO speaker/teacher) and asked to ponder, if we did that – work 6, rest 1, would that 2 week vacation we take be so desperate and wearing on us, or would we actually get to go in to it in really good shape – perhaps enjoying it and getting revitalized instead of having to use it to recuperate from life? We should all consider it.
And the winner is? The person committing to rest (God's gift), regularly, as prescribed by their Creator…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Rediscover restorative, creative, fun activities; indulge unabashedly and freely!