How To Not Waste Your Weekend
Ever dread going to work on Monday morning because you’re so exhausted from your weekend activities?
Or start the work week in small talk with your coworkers, only to realize your weekend wasn’t anything like the break you hoped it would be?
Or go through every Monday with the wish it was already Friday?
What would it look like for you to be rested, replenished, and ready to fully live your life each week?
God certainly wants that for us. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” That promise sounds incredible. It also makes me ask, "Does my life feel very abundant and full? What does full, abundant life look like? How do you find that abundance?"
Here’s something I've been thinking about in response:
What if abundance actually comes from doing less, not more? What if it comes from a place of rest and the ability to slow down and connect with the Giver of life himself?
About a year ago, I started taking one Saturday a month to myself.
I picked one day out of the 28+ days in the month to say no to everyone else. And you know what? It has worked wonders for my mental health, my tendencies to overcommit, and my people-pleasing issues. But it requires that I block off those days on my schedule in advance, or else they get filled by other things. I’ve really had to practice saying “I’m busy that day” on a day when I actually have nothing to do.
If one day a month has rejuvenated me this much, imagine what could happen if I took one day each week to intentionally rest in the finished work of Christ!
Since January, I’ve been trying a little thing called Sabbath. I first learned about the modern observance of Sabbath several years ago, but I always thought it just meant taking a day off each week.
Of course, I’d always heard about the Sabbath traditions in the Bible, but I had no idea how it applied to me in the twenty-first century. Typically, the stories I heard were of Jesus doing something the religious leaders thought he shouldn’t be doing on Sabbath.
Although I longed for a restful day each week and even though I told several people “I want to start practicing Sabbath this year,” I just wasn’t doing it. Clearing an entire day every week to do nothing but delight in the Lord sounded impossible with my busy schedule.
So I put it off, week after week, I always had something on my schedule that just couldn’t budge. But a few months ago I took back control of my weekend plans and decided I’m going to prioritize practicing Sabbath.
Once I decided to make the time, what have I done to actually practice Sabbath?
For starters, I’ve found The Rule of Life Podcast and the accompanying website www.practicingtheway.org to be helpful. These resources focus on four main themes of Sabbath: Stop, Rest, Delight, and Worship. In case you’re interested in starting Sabbath too, I thought I’d share how I’ve engaged with each of these themes over the past three weekends. [Disclaimer: I’m no expert, but let’s learn together!]
This means pausing our ordinary activity (including typical work and entertainment) to make room for the things that will refresh and renew us..
Turn off the phone. Don’t check social media, or emails, or even texts. Tell people close to you that you’ll be turning your phone off for the day.
Turn off the TV. Don’t let Netflix consume your entire day and then call it rest.
Say no to all invitations. Don’t let others’ schedules define how you spend your time.
This means prioritizing not just physical but also emotional and mental rest.
Sleep in. Take a nap if that’s what you need.
Go to a favorite coffee shop and journal or read a book for pleasure.
Get all of your shopping, errands, or meal prep done before Sabbath. If it didn’t get done, it can wait until the next day (even something like getting your oil changed).
This means enjoying the abundance that God has made available to us (people, places, and things).
Love to barbecue? Invite your best friend over for burgers and community.
Enjoy nature? Take a walk at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve and thank God for creating such beauty.
Have kids? Take them to get donuts first thing in the morning or spend the afternoon playing bumper cars.
This means making ourselves available to God and engaging with him in a multitude of ways.
Sit quietly with God. Ask him questions and wait for him to answer.
Write out, draw, or paint a verse and meditate over the words.
Start and end your day with a prayer to God, acknowledging this time as an offering to him.
Try experimenting with various times, amounts of time, or days for your Sabbath. Maybe one Sabbath you have friends over and the next you spend entirely alone. I’ve found it most helpful to make a list of what worked and didn’t work so that I can refine my Sabbath each week.
Most importantly, be flexible! This list is not exhaustive. I encourage you to find other ways to stop, rest, delight and worship that are true to your character and personality.
As you explore how you can remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, don’t get caught up in an immovable routine or forget about grace. It takes practice to practice the Sabbath well, but it’s one of the best ways to not waste a weekend. Instead, it will help us connect with God more deeply and live life to the full, every day of the week.
Interested in more spiritual resources to help you grow? Check out our Chase Oaks App and a short list of books, podcasts, and articles here.