It Can Wait

A couple of years ago, I read a blog that has changed my life for the better. It was a personal narrative of the power of Shabbat on the Garrels’ family. Shabbat is simply the Jewish word for Sabbath—or an intentional time set apart for rest.

I know a lot of people have designated “days off” work or school or working out, but I never knew anyone who prepared for their day off. Elle Garrels lured me into this seemingly unrealistic fantasy of having a clean house with fresh flowers and warm bread & wine ready to be enjoyed every Friday evening. Followed by a lazy Saturday morning with challah bread french toast and a day of pure leisure and fun. 

Can you imagine? Seriously, I almost couldn’t. Who has time for that? Weekends are busy enough for us with Matt’s gigs and leading worship Sunday mornings. But on the other hand, Josh Garrels is a traveling musician and Elle home schools her four kiddos. If they could make it work, surely Matt and I could too, right?

So we picked a day that worked for us both—Monday to be exact. It is the only day neither of us have regular obligations. If I’m being honest, we started this tradition almost two years ago, and we are still getting the hang of it. Rest is not natural for humans. We have this innate tendency to feel the need to be productive all the time. Like our purpose depends on it (but that’s another blog all together). Some times, a lot of times, it sneaks up on us, and by the time Monday morning rolls around, the house is a mess, the fridge is empty, and last week’s to-do list has now rolled into this week. 

note: this photo was not staged

note: this photo was not staged

But on our better weeks, we come prepared. We have a loose plan and let the rest unravel itself. We wake up to Cyrus talking in his crib, then take turns doing our quiet times and entertaining him before eating breakfast together. We recently began having family worship time—Matt with his guitar, Cyrus climbing up his leg, and me singing off-tune.

farm fresh eggs for breakfast because it's our week to tend to the chickens & our fridge is empty

farm fresh eggs for breakfast because it's our week to tend to the chickens & our fridge is empty

When Cyrus naps, we rest, too. Sometimes we nap, or sit outside, or Matt reads while I watercolor. There are no rules, as long as it’s restful. If we feel like it later, we might take a family walk or go get coffee or ice-cream. Sometimes we set up the projector in the living room and watch movies (we don’t have a t.v., so this feels like a special thing). Usually, once Cyrus goes down for bed, Matt and I use that time to prep for the week and tie up any loose ends.

Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter how we spend our day. It’s our attitude that determines whether or not we feel rested when our heads hit the pillow. I can tell you with complete honesty that nearly every Monday morning I wake up and have to fight off stress. As humans, I think we tend to idolize our to-do lists.   I have this false notion that I am the only one who can do this one thing that is crucial for the world to keep spinning correctly. But it’s a lie and it’s toxic and prideful. 

The Sabbath, to me, is a gentle, kind reminder that there is more to life than grocery lists and project deadlines. It’s a reminder that while the majority of our time may be spent working or keeping house, the real, meaty, purpose-filled moments are the quiet ones that carry us through. I’m learning the art of saying, “it can wait,” and let me tell you, there is more freedom than you can imagine at the end of that phrase. 

Food for Thought: There are endless benefits to taking time to rest. My life is better because I was introduced into this richer, more intentional way of living. What changes do you need to make so you can set aside time to recoup?