As I kid I remember Sunday being a special day of the week. I grew up in a family of faith and Sunday was a day when we’d do church; eat a delicious roast, often at my Nanna’s house; never go shopping and take the day slowly.
I have really fond memories of my Sundays as a kid.
As I’ve got older and much of life and society has become 247, we have lost some of that. For a long time Sunday was just another day in an ordinary week.
A D A Y O F R E S T
A few years ago Jonny and I read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. It’s a brilliant book by a guy called John Mark Comer, which I’ll maybe share my favourite nuggets from one day, and one of the things he talks about is Sabbath.
Sabbath, Switch Off Sunday, rest day, whatever you want to call it is a tradition from way back when in the Jewish and, later, Christian calendar. From tea time on Friday to tea time on Saturday Jewish families would stop and rest and worship and feast and do life slowly. At the very start of the Bible, when God created the world, he chose the seventh day as a day of rest. God rested! And later on in the Bible he commands his people to rest too.
Whether you have a faith or not, I think most of us would agree that we live in an age of busyness and hurry. How often do you catch yourself saying ‘tired’ or ‘busy’ in response to the question ‘How are you?’ I know it’s a common one for me. It’s become the norm. As if not being busy isn’t legitimate.
We’re exhausted and yet we don’t know another way to be.
Perhaps there’s something in this day of rest?
S W I T C H O F F S U N D A Y
We read the book and ‘rest day’ as our kids call it was started. It actually started out as Switch Off Saturday but over time we’ve learned Sunday is better. Every week, from Saturday tea through to Sunday tea we s l o w down. We play games. We mostly always have homemade waffles and biscoff for breakfast. We get out into nature. We worship and pray. We nap. I have a bath and read a book with a G&T. We eat a roast dinner. We see friends. We read the Bible. I turn my phone off for 24 hours. We laugh a lot.
And at the end of Sundays my heart feels full and happy and rested.
I didn’t expect rest day to have such a big impact on my life but it does.
L E A R N I N G T O U N H U R R Y
Every Sunday I still get the itch. The itch to organise the kitchen cupboard that I suddenly have space in my diary for. The itch to plan the rest of the month because we have space for that conversation. I notice myself noticing things around the house that need doing.
It’s a real discipline to not do it. To actively choose to stop, to not tick things off the do list. It’s surprisingly uncomfortable to rest for a day. It is something we are still learning to do.
It also feels costly. Sometimes I find myself thinking ‘we’re wasting a gloriously sunny day when we could be out digging in the garden.’
But really its never wasted. For the rest of my life I will have a to-do list. I won’t always have my kids at home. It reminds me that there’s more to life. And I love the quality time we have together on those days. I’ve also discovered that it actually makes my week more efficient. Whether it’s because I’ve come out of Sunday feeling more alive or because I know Saturday night is coming and I need to get the jobs done, it has somehow had a knock on effect on my week that means I balance my life better.
It has also made me better able to enjoy the slow moments of the everyday rather than rushing through in my usual busyness.
It’s been a good change.
Maybe God was on to something!
I T ‘ S A L E A R N I N G P R O C E S S
We’ve been doing rest day for a year or so now and we’re still learning. As with all things when you have kids in the mix, there are constant shifts to be made depending on their age or the time of year it is.
There can be a whole month where we look back and realise we don’t feel as if we have done Switch Off Sunday. We notice that we haven’t connected together as a whole family or I haven’t turned my phone off so I’ve been distracted. We haven’t shared something of our faith together. Little jobs might have crept in that I excuse in my head. Or we’ve tried to cram too much in.
If you are yet to start a rest day, don’t expect to get it right on day one. That’s totally fine. It will probably feel a bit hard at some point, whether that’s to begin with or later down the line. There’ll be great Sabbaths and there’ll be ones that didn’t go so well. But it’s never a waste of time.
The last two rest days we have done have been my favourites yet. It feels like we’ve prioritised it again and are also realising what the important parts of the day are. And I can honestly say my heart and soul feel so content at the end of it.
I’m thankful for a God who knew us well enough to create a Sabbath!
Do you have time in the week when you completely switch off? Whether you can only find a few hours or 24. I’d encourage you to give it a go and let me know how you find it.
Do you already do this? What do you do that makes your rest day special?
Cover photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash