Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pondering Rest

I'm always conflicted on Sundays.

It's this idea, God's idea, that today is for rest. That after a week of completed work - hard work - that Sunday should be spent resting.

Easy enough, right? Bring on the sleep, the relaxation; a morning of worship, followed by life-giving rest.

Except that my home is my work space. There is no physical difference between the area where I work and the area where I rest.

I retreat to my bedroom for a mid-afternoon nap, but I trip over a basket of dirty laundry.

My family sits down for a movie night, but my glass settles onto a dusty end table.

We go for a walk, but when we return, the Sunday dinner dishes fill up the sink and spill onto the counter.

It is a struggle for me to truly relax, rest, recharge on Sunday, our Sabbath Day, when I feel as though I'm breathing in the unfinished-ness of my work.

I know God created this day for rest. I *think* that's what He wants for me today.

In a hotel room, I can do that.
At my in-law's house, I can do that. (While my mother-in-law works. Irony?)
On vacation, there are Sunday maids. And, Sunday chefs. And, Sunday bedmakers.

But, at home, I'm at my workplace. Every Sunday.

So, today, like many Sundays, I sit here wondering:

Without being too legalistic, what should "rest" look like for me - a mother of 3 young children - on the Sabbath. Should I have prepared better so that I could rest today? My husband graciously offers to do most of the daily, unavoidable, freshly created "work" on Sundays. What about his day of rest?

I guess what I'm really thinking as I look around me:

Is a day of rest really possible for young Moms?


  1. MIchelle (Rudy) HarveyNovember 8, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    the very same question i come across and wrestle with every sunday.

    i think as i sit here i must take a little sabbath everyday, a break from the work each day to be able to complete my work... that's the only solution i have for a mom of young ones. because the kids don't stop needing you or your help on sunday.

    let me know if you find an answer. :)
    thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. When I was a kid, Sunday's were very legalistic. I'm glad we've gotten past that. I think it's a day when we don't have to do our day to day work, and have time to enjoy our families, read... I think a load of laundry can be thrown in without it being classified as "labor".
    Sundays are meant for our rest and God's glory. Do I always think about thanking God for what He has given me while I do the Sunday dishes? No - but it does go a long way towards giving God glory in my daily jobs.

  3. i know what you mean. and i battle with that same dilemma.

    i've tried preparing for sunday (the same way the orthodox Jewish would...). and no matter how much seems to need to be done, i only do the essentials (the dishes, etc).

    for me, sundays from sept - feb mean my family gathers for football. and rest can be hard to come by with a house full of people. but i've learned to sit around and relax with family... knowing that i'll catch up on monday.

  4. Sundays are special in that we worship God with the body of Christians. Each day is a day of rest "in the Lord". Remember God gave us our children and He knows they are there everyday with there needs to be met. God bless.

  5. Such a great topic, Sarah.

    I try to get clothes laid out Saturday night and pack my son's diabetic bag and my SS lesson. I figure out what we'll eat for breakfast, and we all get showers. Sunday dinner is almost always fast food. It's our one regular splurge. We eat, throw away the trash, and kids take naps. We fix something simple for supper, like a frozen pizza, and go to Sunday evening church.

    It's rare that we do any chores; they'll wait for Monday. I've learned to turn a blind eye. (Too easily, perhaps?)

    After church, we watch AFV together, have a small snack and the kids go to bed. After the kids are in bed, DH and I take time to talk about the church services.

  6. I'm loving this discussion so far! You guys have great insight.

  7. I have struggled with this as well Sarah. It seems like the week just continues to spill over into the weekend. Homework is never ending for the kids with projects that we can only finish on your "low activity" day. Sundays are often stressful like today when I have to run to church at 7:40 am to sing for first service, return home to get kids ready for Sunday school, truck them back to church, home for 1 hour and then back to sing. Then come home, lunch, dishes, collapse and then supper, dishes and prep for the next day when we start the marathon once again. How do we take the time to turn it all off and get what is needed done in 6 days? I can tell you that I would love a day "off" but can't figure out how to make it happen. I know some cultures prepare all the food the day before and do not cook at all on the sabboth. But that would just make me all the more stressed comming into Sunday. Hmmmm......May be something to pray about and ask for God's wisdom.

  8. I struggle even though it's just the two of us. I love to go to church, eat and kick back. I hate facing dishes or a messy floor, or even some laundry. I'm a bit OCD and cannot leave it---EVER!

    Like you I have a helpmate that digs in and helps me get things done so we can both rest. He did much more back in the days when the girls were little so I could just go nap (I always needed my sleep) Bless his heart. Did I say BLESS HIS HEART!

    I remember my mother working hard to make a big dinner every single Sunday. She had no help from anyone and worked every other day of the week along with a job outside of the home. Although I love a big dinner we have learned to go simple to enjoy more down time and rest time. I cook a big meal during the week when I have the time and desire.

    I'm thankful that around our house we shared the job of "gettin' it done" enough to kick back and enjoy the day. We need our day together and a day of rest.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need to take each day to do what's required, but more importantly to stop long enough to appreciate our Creator and take time to refresh and replenish...7 days a week.

  9. So true! I can empathize. This past weekend my little family and I spent the weekend at Wrightsville Beach (my hubby was doing the Ironman race) and it felt so great to truly re-charge my batteries and just focus on fun with my family and not have any laundry or dishes clamoring for my attention. I told my hubby I felt like it's hard to rest in the same way when we're just home, b/c even if I ignore the pile of laundry for an afternoon, it's still on my radar - It's my workplace, like you said, pure and simple.

  10. SO GREAT to meet you in person today at Ada! :)

    Totally hear ya on this one. Avoidance is my best weapon on Sunday...just ignore the laundry and dirt-as tough as that can be sometimes.

    Good luck w/ finding what works for you-this is a toughie!

  11. I would LOVE to have a chat with you about this. I've been struggling with it for a loooong time now, and to answer your question, in a word...NO. It's just that season of life. Do I think there are things that can be done to make the day more restful? Yes. But the luxury of a total day of unstressful worship and refreshing rest like we had when we were single and childless - forget it. And I'm not sure that's what God intends for us anyway, right now. Like in everything else, it's not a legalistic thing, it's the heart of it. But I do find myself feeling very dissatisfied every Sunday and I need some help with figuring it out, too. Also, perhaps a redefining (or accurate understanding?) of the concept of "Biblical rest" on the Lord's Day is in order. Sometimes it's our expectations that get us into trouble with discontentment and that may be a big factor in this issue for all of us. So, no real answers...just more food for thought.


  12. Awesome insight and WISDOM, MB!

  13. I'm sure we all think the same things and rest can be different for all of us, but for me it's just being together--because come Monday morning we are all going separate ways. sometimes we are all laying down; sometimes we're all outside playing or on a day trip; yesterday we raked leaves and jumped in the pile. I do the dishes; but we keep the meals simple. I don't worry about laundry or the house--monday is always a catch-up day from the weekend.

  14. Here, Sundays are a day of rest, and for us, that means all coming home, for that is where we are the most comfortable and can lay around in comfy clothes, nap on the couch, and discuss our morning church service. We try to do as much as possible to prepare the day before, setting out clothes, getting our Sunday school lessons prepared and supplies packed up, diaper bag ready, etc. We also have very simple meals...the girls even just eat pb&j after church, because they are past lunch and naptime, and quite frankly, that's all they have enough patience for. No laundry, no cleaning or vacuuming, no homework... just Marc, Jules, and I relaxing in the living room for a couple of hours. Then, off to choir practice and evening church! It is hard some Sundays, but that is how we rest on Sundays.

  15. To add a different level to this discussion, I remember hearing a sermon on the whole idea of Sabbath and discovered something very interesting. The commandment to "Honor the Sabbath" is the only commandment not repeated in some form by Jesus. As a matter of fact, He often spoke against the Pharisees regarding their legalistic treatment of the Sabbath, essentially telling them "do what needs to be done."

    Now, we do try to treat Sunday as a family day and/or day of rest. but hearing that sermon and investigating it myself did bring some measure of freedom that I was not being sinful by doing some necessary laundry, or cleaning up dishes, etc. I think the idea of having an entire day of rest sounds heavenly. But I don't think it's part of the deal for young moms.

    On a (hopeful) side note, totally diggin' what Michelle said about taking a little "Sabbath" every day. I think that might be just the ticket to sanity... ;-)

  16. This was a great post and I have loved hearing everyone's thoughts. I don't have any concrete answers, but I can tell you what I try for. I will throw an occasional load of laundry in (b/c Scott oddly enough doesn't like to go to work naked on Mon morning) so most often Sun night I am doing that emergency load. But I don't do all my laundry on Sun. It isn't the day I clean my bathrooms or do a whole house clean either. Sure I'll pick up and do dishes (sometimes) but it isn't my deep clean day. (that is typically Mon) During football season I watch games with Scott during the kids nap time and or take a nap ourselves. LOVE Sun afternoon naps. The past two years my oldest son and I have headed back to church in the evening for a kids catechism class. While I love teaching and learning the catechism with him. I am not a huge fan of going back to church in the evening as it totally breaks up the day of rest... but then I am reminded it is the Sabbath day... not MY day. That typically helps my attitude. We don't eat big meals. Breakfast for dinner... simple things so there isn't lots of prep work and lots of clean up. I save big meals for during the week. I wonder if when the kids are older, I'll do the more traditional Sun meal my mom did as a kid after church. But we're always trying to get kids down for naps and it never works for us.

  17. I don't think this has ever even crossed my mind! I think I must have so many other glaring issues, this one isn't anywhere near the top! :p

    I think Zak & I have unconsciously decided to "rest" in the grace that is surely ours on this one.

  18. You all have given me a lot to think about, have some great ideas, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here! I'm thankful that we can encourage one another!

  19. With four kiddos under five years old, I totally understand your dilemma. We use our Sunday afternoons to spend time together as a family ~ play outside, get out the board games, and hopefully squeeze in a little nap. If I do tasks on Sunday, it is only messes that were created that day (e.g. child gets sick and bedding/ clothing needs to be washed ~ dishes from Sunday lunch/supper put into the dishwasher. If the mess was caused earlier in the week and I didn't get around to it, it will wait until Monday (or whenever I get a chance). Just my two cents. Great topic, though. I enjoy reading the comments. God bless!

  20. My sabbath looks a lot like Aimee's. Meals are simple... leftovers, grilled cheese with soup (that I've already made and frozen) or Trader Joe's version, pizza, etc. We try to nap or read or spend time together doing fun stuff. I try to maintain the level of clean that I started the day with, but I don't do extra cleaning. ie...I do dishes, pick up pj's from the floor. We have church on Sunday evenings as well as the morning, so that helps me to keep focused on the Lord all day. Monday is usually my BIG laundry day. I do laundry all week, but Monday seems to be a catch up from the weekend.