While I was paying my way through college, I remember sitting at dinner with my college minister and his wife. “Do you think God wants me to tithe right now?” Of course I know the biblical answer now, but then I was baffled at how I could manage to spare a dime.
Thankfully, this godly couple pointed me to the truth of God’s Word. They showed me God’s wisdom is for all people, at all times. His principles transcend all situations. Still, there are moments when I’m reading God’s Word, or I’m hearing a sermon, and I subconsciously think, “Lord, surely you don’t mean this for my life and my situation. Do you?!”
The most blatant example I can think of is the Sabbath commandment. I ashamedly admit to you every time I hear a sermon on rest, I hold back eye rolls. I know the pastors are well-intentioned. I know they lead busy lives. Yet, I don’t think most of them currently hold the safety of a young child, or several young children, in their hands. Although they are good, godly men, they probably don’t know quite what it’s like to be mother.
But God does.
God knows what it is like to constantly watch over His children.
God knows what it is like to provide daily for His people.
God hears our every cry, whether at daybreak or midnight.
And we are made in his image, and called to cast all our cares on Him. There is a way, in every season, to obey this command.
After God convicted me of my snarky attitude on the topic, I started asking for wisdom. Lord, teach me what it looks like for me. I want to honor you. I believe you created the Sabbath for my good. Show me how to follow it. Here are a few ways I am modifying my life to accommodate a Sabbath:
1. Pick the 24 hours that work best for you. In the Jewish culture, the Sabbath begins at sundown on Saturday and ends at sundown on Sunday. This works best for me too. I like to get as much as I can done on Saturday day, and rest until Sunday evening. Then I have Sunday evening to prep for the upcoming week. Some people may believe you have to keep the Sabbath on a certain day, but I believe in the spirit of the law on this principle. God wants you to rest, you can pick when that is. My husband and I take the same sabbath so we can relax together. I understand in some circumstances you may have to stagger the days to accommodate special situations.
2. Leftover Lunch Soup is one of the most inexpensive, easiest ways to feed my family. I like to make a huge pot on Friday so we can eat it for lunch on the weekend. In one easy step, my lunch preparations are extremely simplified. I just put the pot on the stove and turn on the heat. Any toppings that can be chopped and stored are put in the fridge on Friday. I especially love when I’ve taken this step on Saturdays after I’ve run lots of errands. Instead of getting home with starving kids and no idea what to feed them, I can quickly feed them the soup, and get back to my to-do list. My favorite soups are Chicken Tortilla, White Chicken Chili, Chicken Noodle, Steak Chili with Cornbread, and Minestrone.
3. Double Dinner. I like to make a nice dinner on Saturday nights. Instead of making one serving, I double the portions. That way, Sunday’s dinner is very simple. I just warm up the leftovers and save myself the prep time. Because it is usually a recipe enjoyed by the whole family, there is no whining about the repetition. If your weekend schedule is especially crazy with activities and doesn’t allow for you to cook, consider making take-out a priority.
4. Friday Night Laundry. On Friday nights, my energy level is usually quite low. Somehow my muscles know the weekend is about to begin and they beg to relax! If I am going to watch a show or two, I don’t mind folding laundry as I do… especially if I know that a 24-hour rest session is around the corner. I wash laundry all day and lay the clothes flat as they come out of the dryer. When I sit down to turn on the TV, I fold all the laundry. It really doesn’t seem to take me long, and now I don’t have to worry about providing clean clothes all weekend.
5. Delegate. There have been many times when the whole family seemed to need to go run errands together, and those memories are sweetly chaotic… Now my family is in the “divide and conquer” season! Consider sending one or two of the kids to run errands with your husband, while you stay home with the other children and clean. Work your way through your list of prioritized tasks, and when you run out of time—stop! The list will have to wait until Sunday night. Perhaps your weekends are filled by spectating your children’s events. You may need to delegate tasks earlier in the week. The theory really is to just divide the list and race to get done so you can enjoy the next day.
6. Sit, Rest, Watch. Did you know there are moments you can actually sit on your couch and watch your kids… and they survive?! Honestly, I had forgotten this until recently. All of a sudden, I was overcome by sickness. I was horribly nauseous, and I could barely stand. My husband was already at work at his new job, and I didn’t want him wasting vacation days to rescue me. I spent much of the day on the couch, and my kids all made it through the day. The experience shocked me. How often am I cooking, cleaning, and playing with them, when I can just “be” in front of them? Our kids need to see us resting, reading, and praying. They need to learn to respect our space. They need to understand life is not just about them and their play schedule. Also, it is so fun to watch their personalities as they interact with each other and their toys! So, on your Sabbath, learn to engage with God as you watch your kids and relax.
7. Say “No.” Sometimes we can’t fit every birthday party, church picnic, or social event in. It is okay to say no to preserve the sanity of your family. It is especially okay to say no if something conflicts with you obeying God’s Word. We need to be more afraid of disobeying our Savior than of disappointing our friends.
As usual, I am inviting you into my process. I don’t do this perfectly or consistently yet, but I am getting there as our faithful Father gives me wisdom. I hope something in this list shows you it is possible to follow God in every season. Even this crazy, unpredictable, wonderful season of loving littles.
Maybe very little on this list benefits you. If so, I challenge you to ask the Lord to give you wisdom for your life. He is waiting and willing.