Monday, May 9, 2011

A Sabbath Experiment: Scheduling

This is part four of a series detailing our family's journey on our Sabbath experiment.

Part One: Indications of needing a rest day
Part Two: Why we need a rest day
Part Three: Simple steps for implementation

The house is cleaner.

The days {and stress levels} are more manageable.

The overall tone of our home has changed from rushed to {mostly} rested.


There are still Kashi Os scattered near the dining room table floor at any given moment.

And I'm still known to rush the children out the door when they are dragging their feet.

So perfect certainly doesn't live here {and never will}.

But calm{er} does.

During the implementation process of our Sabbath Experiment and even before the that, we knew we were way too busy.

And that our busyness was sucking the joy and peace from our days, keeping us from living intentionally and with a decided heart.

So before we put our Sabbath into practice, we took a pretty detailed look at all of our commitments.

And when we did, I found my list was overflowing -- brimming with good stuff, yes, but brimming nonetheless.

My mentor suggested I make a list of commitments and tasks and narrow from there.

Seeing all of my tasks on paper made my blood pressure rise -- no wonder I'd been feeling overextended.

As I began cutting out activities and commitments {prayerfully and with the wisdom from my husband and mentor}, I began to find relief from stress.

1. Obviously, you won't be able {nor would you want} to cut out mothering your kids, being a wife to your husband and caring for your own spiritual, mental and physical well being, so those priorities remain.

2. But I started by identifying doubles -- double volunteering opportunities that other people could do just as well as I could, double Bible studies or ministries that were good but not necessary for my growth. I'm sure you get the picture.

3. Next, I affirmed that just because there is a need that needed to be filled didn't mean that I was the ONLY one who could fill it. And I found, indeed, that I wasn't the only person who could fill those spaces; others wanted and were ready to step up the plate.

4. Because, really, some of those activities weren't actually ones where I felt called anymore. Every commitment I asked myself if that's where my deep desire and the world's deepest needs collided. And I found myself answering no to quite a few things.

5. I prayed about cutting out activities and sought council before I actually made the sever.

6. And I found that wisdom from my mentor actually shed new light on my thinking and pushed me to consider where I should focus my efforts ...

7. based on my season of life.

My most important goals right now are to grow in my faith and health, support my husband and raise my boys into men of integrity.

This is all largely determined by my season of life, so these take priority.

8. And my mentor also helped me understand which commitments I needed to hold onto based on my strengths.

After taking the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment, affirmation was given in my strength of communication -- the written word, especially, for me. My mentor saw this before I ever did, and she encouraged my meaningful writing adventures, like blogging, because while blogging I was functioning out of a natural God-given strength.

9. I made concessions by acknowledging that my deep desire and the world's greatest need did NOT meet in regard to cleaning kitchen counters and scrubbing toilets. However, that's part of my job during this season of life where I've chosen to be a mostly stay-at-home mom, so that's just part of caring for my family.

10. I made a flexible schedule to allot for my activities during the six days of the week I was available for work and activities with the end goal of Sabbath rest, relaxation, trust and celebration on Sundays.

11. I've been affording myself grace {highly encouraged by my husband} if I haven't gotten everything on my list done by Sunday, and I've allowed myself the ability to rest anyway -- an extension of God's mercy and acknowledgement from my lips that the world would continue to spin if my to-do list was not completed.

12. I've been holding myself accountable to my tasks during the week instead of spending so much time on time-sucking activities like, for me, Facebook and surfing the web.

I hope this helps encourage your hearts toward exploring Sabbath rest and embracing intentional living. Like I said, life isn't perfect now, but it's calmer. And more enjoyable and simple liveable than it was while we were engaging in the over-committed, unrested lifestyle we had.

Questions and comments encouraged! Ask anything at all!