The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath

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Hey, here it is, the resources you’ve requested: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath. I am so excited for you to get started, but before you do, before you get into the five steps below, I wanted to just quickly explain to you what I believe Sabbath is and what I believe it’s not. And a couple of other things as you go about implementing these five steps.

First of all, I am a Christian, which means that everything I write about the Sabbath it’s from that Christian world view. I do believe that ultimately Jesus is our Sabbath rest and that Sabbath is a gift that’s wrapped up in the commandment and outstretched to us by our father. It is a invitation to reconnect with him and with others.

I think it is something that not only focuses on our physical rest, our mental rest, our emotional rest, but also our spiritual rest. It is a whole listic soul care. I believe that Sabbath is something so special that by practicing it week after week, it creates opportunity for diving deeper into our relationship with God.

Now, what? It isn’t, it isn’t a way to salvation. By practicing Sabbath. I do not think that you are earning points to your salvation or positioning you better for your salvation. Nothing like that. I believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the price in full there’s nothing that we need to bring to the table. He does it all for us. But I do believe he invites us to that table. I also don’t believe that Sabbath has to be practiced just one way. Now I do recommend that it’s 24 hours and I do recommend that as weekly and I do recommend that you practice it with your family and there’s various reasons for this. Mainly, by practicing week after week, you set up the expectation and it allows you to actually enter into that expectation. And by practicing of your family, it alleviates that mom guilt that you are doing something away from your family or instead of your family or all the other excuses that we can come up with as moms. Right? But most importantly, I just want you to know that if you have to practice Sabbath in a way that’s different than what I describe below that is okay. I would rather you take the time to practice resting with Jesus week after week than to not do it at all.

Okay. Now that we’ve covered that. I want to just mention two more things. First of all in step two, I gave you three different schedules that you could possibly use to structure your Sabbath. Now, once again, If you have to Sabbath differently, it is a, okay, these are just meant to be sample examples of what you could do. You could take bits and pieces of it or scrap them altogether. Whatever you need to do to put Sabbath into your week is what you need to do. Those are just meant as an example of what you possibly could do and what has worked for my family and some other families as well.

Also, I want to emphasize the fact that this is a practice. It is a discipline. It is something to be entered into week after week. And the reason I am emphasizing that is because sometimes we can approach things like this with a perfectionist mentality, and there is no room for that here.

It is all about progress. It is about growing closer in your relationship with God and others so that you can fully reflect him in both work and rest. And so I just want you to take that mindset into the resource below.

Now, let me pray for you before you begin this journey of implementing a Sabbath rest in your week.

Father God. Thank you so much for this beautiful gift of Sabbath that you have given us. I pray for those who are watching this video, that they experienced a closeness to you through implementing a Sabbath practice into their week.

Lord, I pray that they would draw close that they would reconnect with you and with those in their family and other loved ones that they have week after week. I pray that you would bless them and you would keep them. I pray that they find. Not only physical rest, but an emotional rest, a mental rest, and a spiritual rest that they would be refueled and refreshed through this regular rhythm of resting with you. And Lord Jesus we ask that you would just continue to guide our steps each and every week. Draw us closer to you. Help us to become more like you. In your precious and holy name I pray. Amen.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Here it is, a guide for implementing a simple, and restful, family Sabbath into your week! I’m so proud of you for taking the call to rest seriously. In the video above I go over how I define Sabbath and a few things to keep in mind as you start this practice.

Let’s get started! 

Step 1: Decide the day you will Sabbath.

Believe it or not, this is honestly one of the hardest part of setting up a Sabbath practice!

There’s something about dedicating a specific 24-hour block to rest that suddenly brings to mind everything on your to-do list! Resist the urge to look at your week and think “I can’t fit it in.” Taking a Sabbath is an act of trust. It’s natural to feel nervous about how it’s all going to fit in, but when we Sabbath we’re handing that all over to God.

Step 2: Structure your Sabbath practice.

I think one of the most overwhelming aspects of implementing a Sabbath practice into your week is that we just don’t know what exactly it’s supposed to look like.

Some of us are fearful of becoming legalistic in our practice, while others are freaked out by the idea of doing nothing for 24 hours.

I’m here to tell you that there is a way to approach Sabbath that doesn’t add a bunch of rules and doesn’t mean you’re just sitting around doing nothing all day long! 

Our family uses the following 5 Rs to structure our Sabbath time:

  • Remember your Provider and His provision.
  • Reflect on the challenges and joys of your week.
  • Reconnect with God and each other.
  • Relax in ways that match your personality and interests.
  • Rejoice – take joy and delight in – throughout the day!

Establishing a simple structure like this for your Sabbath practice gives you a flexibility but also direction.

Ideas for structuring your Sabbath:

Consider a Sabbath Meal

The Jewish faith has a tradition of starting their Sabbath time with a meal that includes liturgical elements. It is a beautiful practice full of reconnection and symbolism.

When we started observing Sabbath, we wanted to adopt something similar that would point us to the provision of Jesus as our ultimate Sabbath rest. Because I was unable to find a resource that did that, I wrote a Sabbath liturgy for Christian families that we follow.

You can purchase that here. (Coming Soon)

Use Lists to Guide Your Sabbath

When it comes to structuring your Sabbath, it is helpful to decide beforehand what your Sabbath will and will not involve. I recommend creating two lists to help you do this:

1) To-Enjoy List

2) To-Cease List

These lists are not meant to be legalistic, but rather help you protect your Sabbath practice and be intentional within it.

Click here to download examples.

Spend Time Reflecting

My favorite part of Sabbath is the hour my husband puts the kids to bed on Saturday night. During that time, I sit in my favorite armchair with my comfy blanket, journal, and pen. Then, Jesus and I have a little chat about my week. I process all that I’ve been carrying through the week and rest it at the feet of my Savior.

Over the years, I’ve developed some specific questions to guide my reflection time and I’ve compiled those in a guided journal.

Learn more about the journal here.

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So here they are. These are the schedules I was talking about. Now, remember they’re just examples. You can do what you need to do. Your week might look extremely different than what I’ve set up here and that’s okay. Figure out what works best for you in the season of life that you’re in.

So, what you’ll notice in the first two schedules is that I go from an evening to an evening and you might be like, why is that? Why does she split this up over a, what we would consider two days? Well, when I was researching, I found that those of the Jewish faith practice Sabbath in this way from sun down on Friday to sun down on Saturday, and I started asking myself why this was and realized that it actually ties back to Genesis where God created evening and then he created morning and I thought that’s interesting.

But then I started thinking about the implications of going from evening to evening, and I realized that that was actually a more truer 24 hour rest period than what we would think of when we try to rest all day on like typically in the Christian tradition is Sunday, right? So we typically Sabbath all day Sunday.

But theoretically, like that’s the Lord’s day, that’s the day we should have off so we try to do. And it feels very hectic and it feels very rushed. And so I started thinking about why that was. Well, what I realized was that when we decide to Sabbath a full day on an actual day, what we have done is we’ve actually tacked on more time to either side of that day, because you go to bed, say at like 10 o’clock on the Saturday, you have slept and now you’re waking up and now you’re sabbathing all day long and then you go to bed at 10 o’clock Sunday and you go to sleep you still are resting your body until Monday morning. So now instead of 24 hour period, you have actually extended it longer. And so I personally was like, what would it mean for us if we practice from one evening to another evening? What I realized was that there’s wisdom in practicing that way. Of course. Because you have prep time in the day, you actually can prepare your meals on the morning and early afternoon before you start sabbathing in the evening. And then you have prep time for the next day on the following day. So for instance, say that you’ve practiced from Friday evening to Saturday evening. You have Friday morning to prep your home, prep for meals, prep your family –we know littles they need transitions, right?– you do all those things Friday morning and Friday early afternoon before you enter into Sabbath rest in the evening. Then you do your thing, sleep, wake up, do some more things. And then your Sabbath time ends. Let’s say five o’clock on Saturday. You now have time before everybody goes to bed to prepare for Sunday, you can get clothes out for church the next morning, prep, any food you need for Sunday’s meals, you can do all the things.

All that to say, I would encourage you to try it, try out, see if it works for your family. Also, the other nice thing about that is that there’s like a, a built-in rest period, because you are sleeping during your Sabbath rest and your sleeping doesn’t add on time to the Sabbath rest it’s the part of the Sabbath rest. So I would just encourage you to try it. See if it’s something that would work for your family.

Okay, just a quick note to those of you who are ministry, because I know you’re going to ask this question. If you’re in church, if you’re doing things that are for church, let me first ask you, does it help you reconnect to God and to others or it’s something that’s draining you. If it’s something that’s draining you and it’s week after week, I would actually suggest you reconsider your involvement in that ministry. If it is something that is life-giving and you feel draws you closer to God and others, then consider it part of your Sabbath rest.

But for those of you who are on staff at a church, I would highly suggest that you choose a day different from Sunday to rest a day different from even Saturday to rest. And I know a lot of you have like a Monday off and I would just encourage you to resist the temptation, to try to do all the things you can’t do on the weekend. And instead be very intentional about the way that you cultivate that 24 hours.

So I want you to take a look at these examples, these sample schedules, and, um, see what you could do. Look at your own week. Ask how your own family functions, what kind of rhythms you already have and see how you can intentionally weave Sabbath into your week and then just do it.

Example Schedules:

Friday Evening to Saturday Evening
Saturday Evening to Sunday Evening
Saturday Noon to Sunday Noon

Step 3: Prepare for your Sabbath rest.

Your Sabbath practice actually starts long before your day of rest.

God gave the Israelites an order to gather twice as much manna on the 6th day so they would be prepared for the 7th day. In the same way, our preparations for Sabbath begin before the actual Sabbath day.

Preparation looks different for each family, but there are two main areas in which preparation typically take place: space and food.

SPACE – Determine what needs to be cleaned/organized/put away for you to fully rest. Make sure that one thing gets done before your Sabbath begins.

FOOD – The idea here is to keep things easy and simple for your entire family. Prep one meal before Sabbath begins and plan to eat leftovers for the others.

Step 4: Enjoy it.

My prayer as you navigate creating this practice in your life is that you remember Sabbath is a gift wrapped up in a commandment. It is an invitation from your Creator to sit and rest with Him. It is meant for your good and for His glory. May this sacred time with your Creator not only rest your body but also care for your soul.

Step 5: Make adjustments where needed.

As you begin to practice Sabbath on a weekly basis, take note of what seems to be working well and what makes the practice challenging. Challenging doesn’t always mean wrong, but it might mean that a small tweak needs to be made.

Pay attention to how you are feeling before, during, and after your Sabbath practice. Specifically, if you are feeling rushed, drained, or wishing you had done something differently, take note and make adjustments.

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Well, there it is. The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath. I hope you found this helpful and insightful and that you feel encouraged to try implementing Sabbath into your week this week.

And if it doesn’t go perfectly, that is okay. You get another chance next week. You have any questions, feel free to DM me on Instagram or send me an email or reach out to me on messenger on Facebook. Anyway, you want to just reach out to me. I’m willing to answer any questions you have, and I’ll be cheering you on as you begin to implement a simple family Sabbath rest into your weeks.

There you go! Those are the five steps to start a Sabbath practice! I pray that these steps help you begin creating space for your family to rest holistically and reconnect in deep ways with God and each other.

Don’t forget to get your copy of Rest & Reflect! This 12-week guided Sabbath journal is a fantastic tool to use within your Sabbath practice. It’ll help you engage in a time of reflection with Jesus with prompts that explore your sense of identity, purpose, and belonging. 

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