By now most of you know I love Sabbath and talk about it a lot. I also know that there are times and seasons when it looks different. Sabbath looks different for me as a single woman than my friends who have toddlers running around or have kids in sporting events. Also, there are moments, like the couple of weeks I’m currently living in, where if I were to try to actually get 24 hours away from all work (my job, grad school, housework, outside commitments) I would actually be more stressed out and less rested.
This is where this concept comes into play: if work is necessary, consider if there is a restful way to do the work.
The kids still have to eat and the tasks still need to be done and crises still occur. Just because work is required does not mean we just give up all hope for Sabbath.
For me today, finding a restful way to work meant taking my homework to my favorite coffee shop in Lincoln. My normal Saturday routine involves doing my grad school homework with various house chores scattered throughout the day as my study breaks. I normally can get that all done by dinner and Sabbath until dinner on Sunday. However, last week and this week I have to work on Sundays. I did cut out some tasks or worked hard to get some of the housework done early. A block of 24 hours of rest is just not possible this weekend. (And forcing that feels WAY too legalistic.) I still can be intentional with my time in a way that leads my heart into rest even if my mind and body must still work some of that time.
Sabbath isn’t just a day, it’s also an attitude. It’s a way of life that says “I am not God”, a space to remember who I am and what is real. So, at times, I can trust God to bring that rest even while I work or seek it in the way I work.
I can find joy and delight in Him as I settle into a corner of my favorite coffee shop with a warm chai, a yummy breakfast treat, and sunshine steaming in the window while working on homework.
I can use study breaks to journal or read a favorite book instead of clean.
Maybe you can plan a fun, special, EASY meal in your work of feeding kids.
We can stop by a park between errands or pause work tasks to go for a quick walk.
Perhaps it’s the type of work that feels more restful. Last spring I needed to be at work on a weekend the day after graduation for RAs to turn in supplies and keys. I needed to be in the office but I didn’t have a specific task required besides being present and available when someone walked in. I used that time to redecorate my office, something that felt refreshing for me. Rest in the work.
I try, and hope I always try, to fight for space and time every week to step away in Sabbath. It’s important. It’s Biblical. It guards me against sin. It restores my joy. It strengthens me for the work ahead. I hesitate to even share this because the concept of “rest while you work” can easily feed or even justify our cultural push toward overworking.
But 24 hours for Sabbath is not always possible in this fallen world. It does not look the same in every season.
In those moments, we seek the attitude and mindset of rest and cling to truths like this in Exodus 33:14, where God says to Moses, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Sometimes we get to stop and rest. Other times God goes with us and gives rest along the way.
With all that in mind, what does rest look like for YOU this week?