Last week I shared my thoughts on a couple of reasons why it is so important to take a day of rest. One day a week, every week. If you missed that post, you can click HERE, to go back and read it.
So have you decided that A Day of Rest is something that you want to try? Let me begin by confessing something: sometimes (okay more than sometimes) our day of rest fails. As I mentioned in the last post, I am not sharing about a day of rest to give you “rules” or to be legalistic about what can and can’t happen on your day of rest. We do our best to prepare for a day of rest, but if something happens or comes up to derail it, it doesn’t ruin everything. (Read: Mark 2:23-28)
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started!
Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.Confucius
In order for you to be successful with a day of rest, one day a week, every week – you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. What happens when we find ourselves with time on our hands (restful, leisure time), and we are not accustomed to it? We start thinking of all of the things we need to get done: the towels we left in the washer, the yard that the HOA is going to send us a letter to cut, the groceries that need to be purchased. Often we use our day of rest as the day to prepare for the week we have ahead, instead of actually resting. That’s backwards. Think of how much better you will be the rest of the week if only you can spend an entire day of rest.
What does it look like to prepare ahead of time for a day of rest? There are a few things that will be common to all of us, but there are some things that will be unique to you and your family. What are you normally doing that day? What would you be tempted to do that day instead of resting? The areas a lot of people focus on when preparing for a day of rest are: cleaning, shopping, and cooking.
If you are working full time, or you have your hands full with kids, you may need to jot down things you normally do on the weekends, and do them throughout the week. If you find yourselves making a list that you cannot possibly get done, and also take a day of rest each week, then you might want to consider that you may be overscheduling things. Maybe you have too much on your plate and you haven’t asked for help. Maybe you need to hire a few things out, or trade some time with a friend so that you can get things done.
In order to prepare my house for a day of rest, I begin preparing on Thursdays. I clean the house (bathrooms, floors, etc). I do all of the laundry that is currently dirty. (There will be more later in the week, and I will do it then.) On Thursdays I also plan out my meals for the week, and on Fridays I do the grocery shopping. I start thinking about our plans for the weekend, and see if there is something special that our family wants to do together on our day of rest. I am also trying to anticipate what work my husband and kids might be dealing with that would interfere with their day of rest. For example, if I don’t think my husband will have time to cut the grass, I’ll take care of it for him. In addition, on Fridays and Saturdays I will start to prepare our meals as much as possible ahead of time, so that all I have to do is put something into the oven to finish it, etc.
Preparing for a day of rest doesn’t need to fall on one person. Different members of the family can help with different things. Maybe your teen wants to plan the meals and create a grocery pick up order. Maybe your elementary kids can fold towels. It’s a group effort, and you’ll all benefit from the day.
If you’ve never observed a true day of rest before, it can take a while to get used to. It can also take time for your family to get on board with you. Don’t give up! Give yourself some grace, and keep tweaking things until they work for you. Once you get into the swing of things, you may want to take steps to make your day of rest more special, or sacred. In that case, you’ll want to set aside time during the week for those extra steps, too.
“Be brave enough to be bad at something new.”
What’s next? You’ve prepared for your day of rest, now what? Come back next week, and I’ll share some ways to spend your day of rest, without crossing over into the work zone again. (Further reading: Matthew 11:28-30)