For years, I screwed up Sabbath. I mean, I could not rest.
Have you ever experienced that?
Even on my days off, I had to be busy, I had to be doing things. If I didn’t “feel productive,” I was miserable. Even if it wasn’t a full day off, but it was supposed to be a birthday party or a get-together with friends, I would feel antsy, checking my phone to see if there was anything I could “do.” Just longing to get something done, anything.
I was a wreck. The only way I could experience Sabbath was by sleeping.
In this post, I want to show you how to NOT screw up Sabbath. First, we’ll look at two ways you can screw up Sabbath. Then we’ll look at how to recognize your signals for needing rest. Finally, we’ll talk about how to do Sabbath well.
- Two ways you can screw up Sabbath
- How to recognize your signals for needing rest
- How to do Sabbath well
Two ways you can screw up Sabbath
First, you can screw up Sabbath by doing way too much. It’s Saturday and you’re “off,” but you’re not really off. You’re still on your phone, checking emails, social media, and the news. You’re still running places, picking up things at the store, dropping off kids at birthday parties, and going to sports and social activities.
Maybe you’re not doing those things, but you’re staying at your house and stressing yourself out. The to-do list is massive, so you’re cleaning, washing dishes, doing laundry, dusting, mopping, mowing the grass, weedeating, sorting and organizing the garage. You’re a fury of activity. You’re playing Mr. Clean or Mrs. Meyers and at the end of the day, you find yourself exhausted.
The second way you can screw up Sabbath is by doing absolutely nothing. You can work so hard during the week and run yourself so ragged that when Saturday comes (or Sunday if you do it on the wrong day *wink*), you have nothing at all in the tank.
So you sleep in until 11am or noon. Then you mozy into the kitchen, grab something to eat, and fall asleep on the couch afterward. You sleep another couple hours, wake up and eat dinner, then fall back asleep.
What’s wrong with that you say?
I commend you for getting rest. The Sabbath is supposed to be a time of rest, absolutely. But it’s also supposed to be a time of rejuvenation.
If you’re in zombie mode the whole day and can’t do anything but sleep or “veg,” there might be a problem with your week and/or your health. You might be ignoring some of your body’s signals.
How to recognize your signals for needing rest
I don’t know your signals, but I have learned mine. As I share my list, maybe it’ll prompt some self-examination to find your own signals. Here are some of mine:
- Cranky or irritable, short
- A general sense of frustration / annoyance, grumpy
- Longing to get away
- Overly sensitive to noise or light
- Feeling of uneasiness in my spirit
- Eyes hurting or twitching
- Tightness in my shoulders or my toes (the two places I store stress)
It took me well into my adult years, but I finally learned how to recognize these signals for needing rest.
What are yours? Write them down.
How to Do Sabbath Well
If Sabbath is one part rest and one part rejuvenation, we need to learn how to do both well. Here are some simple activities to do Sabbath well:
- Read the Scriptures
- Read a book
- Listen to or play your own relaxing music
- Have a picnic in your yard, or a simple but special meal
- Throw a frisbee, or play catch with a football or baseball
- Take a short walk around your property
- Enjoy a nap
- Sit and talk with someone you love
- Reflective writing / journaling / creative writing
- Drawing, sketching, painting
Of course, I’m sure you can come up with a variety of other fun things to do on Sabbath. These are just a few I normally do, because I find them rejuvenating and simultaneously, restful. Creative activities, but not work by any means.
I hope this post helps you live a more joyful, integrated life.
If you’re looking for more posts in The Sabbath Series, check out these articles:
- The Sabbath Series: Why We Need It
- The Sabbath Series: What is a Yearly Sabbath
- The Sabbath Series: What is a Daily Sabbath
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