Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Day of Rest

I was a little reluctant at first to add the Call Me feature here. Partly because I thought no one would ever call me (and that isn't very good, is it Precious?), but also partly because I wondered if meanies would call and say meanie things. Well, I'm quite pleased to say that my worries were unfounded. I've received quite a few calls, all of them very nice, and encouraging, even folks asking questions or making suggestions on what they'd like to see here at Reflections. How fun is that??

I received a call like this recently, from a very nice sounding lady. Her question was on having a Sabbath rest, and especially having a rest like this for young mothers. What a fantastic question!

Now, before I answer this question I just want to make it clear that while I am glad to answer questions like this (call me and ask me one, it's fun!), I don't pretend to have all the answers for things. Just because I have seven kids and haven't yet gone insane (which is questionable, at best), doesn't mean I have things all figured out, and just because I love to write about and study doctrinal and theological topics, also doesn't mean I've got that all figured out. What I do know, is that God is good and He's not done with me yet.

Now, on to the question. Here's what I believe about a Sabbath Day rest:

THE LORD'S DAY: We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's day and that, in a special sense, it is the divinely appointed day for worship and spiritual exercise.

This is taken directly from my church's statement of faith, which you can read here.

Sunday is called The Sabbath Day or the Lord's Day, and I believe strongly in making it a day set aside (as much as possible) to dwell on the things of God, and truly rest from daily chores. It should be a day to go to church, be fed on the Word of God, pray and worship in song with the saints, and have a wonderful time of fellowship with likeminded believers. When you go home, it should be a day set aside to truly rest, and spend the day in meditation on the sermon you heard, the prayer requests that came up, rejoicing with others about the good news they shared, or doing a Bible study, or even writing about something that has had a spiritual impact on you somehow.

I know that for a lot of Christians, that sounds rather mundane in itself, but it truly is exactly what we need more of. Contemporary culture is a fast-forward, hurry-up, instantaneous life, and most of us just don't take the time to slow down, or even realize how fast we're going in the first place. Taking an entire day (or even most of the day) and setting aside plans, chores, errands, projects, and even television, and internet use, really isn't such a bad thing to do, if it means refreshing your soul with the things of God. You'll note I said above that Sunday should be a day for such things, and when you come home from church what you should be doing. This is because I'm not dogmatic about such things - sometimes there are legitimate reasons why you can't be in church, and sometimes there are equally legitimate reasons why you can't come home and spend the day truly resting in the things of God. But if you can, you certainly should, and if you can plan ahead and get things out of the way to free up your Sundays for such things, you really should aim for that.

While a day of rest is definitely a good thing for all God's people, a day of rest is certainly something that busy moms with young children truly need, even more than they likely realize. When your children are young, you're always "on". You're alert and mindful of their activities from the time they get up until the time they go to bed. Even after they're in bed, you're still thinking about them, upcoming activities or events, plans for tomorrow, if that load of laundry is done, what you're making for dinner, etc. so forth and so on. For most mothers of young kids, your world and your day to day activity is very much defined by your parenting. You spend your days doing for them, and often you'll even take on additional things such as sports, music lessons, boy or girl scouts, weekly children's events at church, and more. Between school, activities, household chores, errands and appointments, by the end of the week you're definitely ready for a day of real spiritual rest.

Sundays that are set aside for genuine rest, might look and sound a little different in different households. When my older girls were younger and it was just me and them, Sundays were NO TV days, and the house was relatively quiet. After church we'd have lunch and then half of us would take a nap, while the other half would spend the afternoon reading or doing some other quiet activity. After dinner on Sunday night, I would get out all my study materials and that was my time to really dig deep into the sermon I'd heard that morning, or continue with a particular study I'd been working on. I purposely made Sunday a day of rest from outside distractions and activities, so that I could dwell solely on the things of God. It was one of the best things I ever did as a mom of young children - to literally unplug from stressful things and focus on the things of God.

Sundays still look quite a bit like that now, in our house. We try to plan things so that we never have to run any kind of an errand on Sunday, but sometimes we still have to do such things. We prefer to just come home and make it a day of rest. We discuss the sermon, we spend the afternoons with a quiet home, as some of us read, some of us study, some of us nap. Yes, that laundry will still be there Sunday night, and yes those dishes do need to be washed - but if it's at all within your ability to set this day aside for the things of God, I assure you it will be the most refreshing rest you can give yourself.