Five Excuses that Will Stop You From Starting
All the good things in life take a little effort and Sabbath is no different. It may require cooperation from people: spouses, kids, roommates, etc. It involves planning: setting one whole day aside is a coordinated effort. It requires perseverance: just like cultivating any other practice, we must keep going, getting up again and again when we’ve fallen. There are hundreds of reasons that keep us from practicing the Sabbath. And they’re good ones. But in order to take part in the gift God has called us to we must face them for what they are – excuses.
I have kids and I’ve totally forgotten what “rest” is.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to Sabbath with kids. We’re living proof that you can still have Sabbath, even with children. It all starts with expectations. If your expectations are to have a serene, quiet, candle-lit, nap-filled Sabbath experience, you might be a bit disappointed. That will come later in life when kids are grown. Now is the time to embrace what is and make the most of it. That may look like you and your partner swapping responsibilities for the kids for an hour at a time to give each other some alone time for reading, napping, or taking a prayerful walk through your neighborhood. Sabbath is for rest, but also delight, and that is something children happen to be great at. Take the kids to a park, visit an art museum, get ice cream, and simply delight in God and in each other with nothing else on the schedule to distract you. When we shift how we view our kids, we can enjoy them as part of our delight! Removing all the other work and distractions from the day allows us to focus on our kids in a different way.
My spouse is not on board with Sabbath.
This is a tough one. It’s much easier to get into a Sabbath rhythm when the people we live with are on board. Consider talking with your spouse about what’s holding them back and problem solving together on how you might make time for Sabbath. Communication, as with everything in marriage, is key for growing in this practice together. If your spouse is still unsure, we hope you might consider trying it solo. While your Sabbaths may not look like someone else's (and that’s ok!), you will be leading by example in your family. You may not be able to fully get the physical “rest” you envision, but you can still rest your mind, set aside your phone, focus on your family, and delight in the day. That alone is an accomplishment.
It’s just too tough with my work schedule.
Work is important. But one of the most crucial things the practice of Sabbath does for us as followers of Jesus is help us reset our priorities. Setting aside a day to turn our hearts toward God, toward our family, friends, and neighbors takes the focus away from the hustle, the striving, the earning, the goal setting. It allows us time to recuperate so we can get back at it with a fresh perspective that comes from worshipping the one who created us to work and rest. Practically, if you don't have a full day off or if you have a challenging or irregular work schedule, try starting with a half-day. Or an evening. Just start somewhere. God will meet you where you’re at, not where you think you should be.
There’s too much planning involved.
Making a plan is worth it! Planning to get your work done in six days versus seven is a bit of a learning curve, but it can be done. You’ll have to start by auditing your life and activities, and we’ve made a helpful tool to help you with that. Spoiler alert: you may need to cut some things out of your life! This is a good and healthy thing. We were not made to run ragged from soccer practice to board meetings to birthday parties to church events to piano practice, all the while renovating our entire house, climbing the ladder at work, and raising 3 kids. We have limits, and embracing that fact helps us prepare our hearts for Sabbath. Planning for our day of rest and delight becomes much easier when we have whittled down our commitments, and when those commitments match our priorities.
I’m not sure Sabbath is all that important.
Our culture says, “Go, go, go, don’t ever stop or you’ll get behind.” Sabbath is a counter-cultural practice that invites us to take part in God’s gift of rest and delight. It’s incredibly important to rest our minds and bodies, and God, in his infinite wisdom, knows this and created a space for us to do it. God created man and the next day he rested. That means Adam’s first day as a human being was one of rest and worship with our creator. How amazing! He invites us to begin with rest and then live out of that rest for the other 6 days of our week. We should take him up on his offer.
Don’t let these roadblocks keep you from the rest and delight that is waiting for you.