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For the past three years I have always tried to observe the sabbath. Sundays were the days I chose. Not for any particular religious reason, I know that many denominations believe the sabbath should be only on Sunday, and then there are those who believe that the sabbath should only be on a Saturday.
I chose Sunday because I was usually busy throughout the week so Sunday just seemed like the right choice.
At fist I felt like a total failure at observing the sabbath because I would end up doing laundry, or I would notice the dust bunnies under the entertainment center and I just knew that I would not be comfortable the whole day if I didn't just take care of it right then and there.
I blogged about my sabbath failure a couple years ago and my husband's cousin pointed out a Bible verse to me. The one where Jesus asked the pharisees "if one of your sheep fell down a well on the sabbath, would you not work to pull it out?"
She explained to me that sabbath was about rest, and enjoying that rest. Not exactly about following rules. Then she did the most awesomest thing ever. She sent me a lesson on the Levitical Sacrificial system which inspired me to go to college and get my theology degree (thanks Lestie!)..
But still, it is a commandment right?
Since then I tried to focus on the sabbath the way God intended. To rest and to enjoy it. So I put aside the 'have to' mentality and tried to just go with it.
If there was a load of laundry that needed to go into the washer, I put it in. If there were dust bunnies, I dusted them.
But after a while, Sunday just turned into a normal day. Except I went to church before doing the housework and maybe I would "rest" for an hour or so in the evening. Which actually meant watching tv before bed. Truthfully, that in itself was no different than any other day of the week either.
So three Sunday's ago I sat and listened to the pastor talk about sabbath. He talked about the blessings of taking a sabbath and about how it was something that God had made for us. It wasn't just a rule that we needed to follow simply becase He wanted us to prove that we could be obedient, He wanted us to rest for our sakes.. For our own good..
I understood what the pastor was saying, but I must admit; I was a little frustrated. I had tried to do the sabbath thing for 3 years. Every Sunday for 3 years and so far I wasn't feeling rested. My sabbath wasn't a special day. It was just a day.
But then he read from Exodus 16:22-26
"On the sixth day the people collected twice as much food as usual, two omers per person. All the chiefs of the community came and told Moses. He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. But you can set aside and keep all the leftovers until the next morning.’” So they set the leftovers aside until morning, as Moses had commanded. They didn’t stink or become infested with worms. The next day Moses said, “Eat it today, because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you won’t find it out in the field. Six days you will gather it. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be nothing to gather.”
It finially clicked! How to not only observe the sabbath, but to actually enjoy it:
God told them to collect twice as much manna on the sixth day, to cook it and set it aside for the next day. They prepared for their sabbath the day before! They did the seventh day's work on the sixth day so there wouldn't be work just staring them in the face on the seventh day taunting them to break the sabbath. What a concept!
For three years I have been trying to figure out how to have a nice, peaceful, restful sabbath, and it was there in the bible the whole time!! I have read exodus at least 20 times and I hadn't picked up on that before? It's so simple!
I shared this revelation with my husband when we got home and we decided to make a few changes and see what happened.. We reaized that having our Sabbath on Sunday wasn't a good idea because we give our daughter a 'day off' on Saturday. She can sleep as late as she wants and doesn't have any chores. With her not doing anything on Saturday, that leaves more work for me. Add Sunday's work to Saturday and it's just too much.
So we moved our sabbath to Wednesday. This way, we can do Wednesday's work on Tuesday, and our daughter can do the little things on Wednesday like switch over the laundry that I started the night before, run to the grocery store if need be, and throw dinner in the crock-pot.
We decided that turning off the phones would be a good idea too.
So we tried it. Today is our fourth Wednesday and let me tell you, what a difference!
I have noticed that even though my schedue for the week hasn't changed, I don't feel as busy, it's as if I have more time to get everything finished.
I'm not tired during the day, and I sleep better at night.
For our past two sabbaths, our daughter has volunteered to get up early on Wednesdays and take our son to work (which is huge because our girl really loves her sleep) so we can sleep in.
I'm happier during the week.. Not that I am normally an unhappy person; but I'm more cheerful and even seem to be exhibiting more patience.
And I just feel good, you know? Things just seem to be easier.
Not only that, but I get to hang out in my favorite, ratty, full of holes sweater all day :)
God is pretty smart..