Three times is a charm…

Yesterday was my third Sabbath. (I began this experiment on January 2nd.) This time, the Sabbath was different for me.

On Saturday of the first two weeks, I experienced a tremendous peak in productivity. It was akin to the feeling you may get on the last day at work before vacation, the mega anti-procrastination day when Plymouth Rock sized piles shrink before your very eyes and you drive home feeling (almost) totally in control.

Somehow, just knowing that Sunday was off limits for work made me push much harder on Saturdays…until the third week. But yesterday, instead of perfectly polished mirrors and squeaky clean floors, I gazed at toothpaste shrapnel on the kid’s bathroom mirror and my toddler’s Cheerios mixed with who-knows-what on the wood floor. Let me be the first to admit that I strongly preferred the first way of Sabbath practice, where all my household chores were done and gourmet Sunday lunch smells waifted into our garage to greet the minivan full of hungry church-goers.

This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it’s a lot harder to cease work when you don’t feel fully prepared. However, it is much more realistic to what my Sabbaths will feel like, not because I’d pick the less prepared way, but because I simply cannot sustain the pace of the cleaning wild-woman who visited my home those two prior weeks.

Quoting Jesus is pretty much always a good idea to me. He makes a great statement that relates to my struggle. It is recorded in Mark’s gospel, the second chapter: “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath.”

At the heart of Sabbath keeping is the concept of restoration. Exhausting myself to perfect my home so that I can feel good about taking a day of rest is not at all what keeping the Sabbath is all about.

So, this week, things got far less comfortable. But surprisingly in week three, I think I started to get it right. Sabbath keeping can’t happen in a bubble; it has to make sense in real life.

Turns out that three times really is a charm.

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2 Responses to Three times is a charm…

  1. Candice H. says:

    This is a really great perspective. Sounds exactly like me. I love relaxing, but its hard when I can see a mess. This especially drives Alex crazy after dinner when he wants to just hang out, but I want to totally clean the kitchen. I’ll remember this next time 🙂

  2. Aubrey says:

    Yes. We were not made for the sabbath. The sabbath was made for us. What a precious gift. I have such a difficult time practicing sabbath, relaxing, [insert any other delight here] when there is much left undone…and yet, this is my reality. Unless we want to be haggard, crabby, lifeless…we must receive rest amidst reality, but there is tension. We live here. I have also been mulling over what sabbath is like in community. I was very disciplined about sabbath keeping pre-children. Josh and I both had Fridays off and that was our sabbath. And as you can imagine in our third year of marriage with no children what a sabbath that was! As I have attempted to adjust this practice with my children, I have often given up. Thanks for helping me re-member.

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