Resting on the Sabbath

By Susan G Mathis

There was a good reason that God invented the Sabbath, and I think that’s doubly important for families. Our kids never stop. We often feel pushed to do, go, do. We’re always on the move. But we need to stop and take some time to honor the Sabbath as well as our body, mind, and spirit.

 

Rest your body.

Get your sleep. Take time to do—dare I say it?—nothing. Just sit. Just relax. Our culture is frantically pushing us to the point of craziness and so do the kids Busy is not the best.

Rest your mind.

I have a notebook beside my bed because my mind often doesn’t stop at night. A bill I need to pay. An appointment I need to schedule. As a writer I wake up and have an idea about a character, a plot point, a setting detail—whatever. Without it, I’ll ponder it and lose sleep. If I write it down, I can come back to it later.

Sometimes we need to rest our mind for a while and just stop and daydream. Stop checking Facebook. Stop watching TV. Just stop. Let our poor overworked brains rest.

Rest your spirit.

Ever watch children play with abandon? Their spirits are unencumbered and free to enjoy life. We should play too.

We get too serious, too determined, too competitive, too driven. Sometimes we just need to take some time to enjoy watching a bunny hop around our yard or take a walk and enjoy the beauty of nature or lie in the grass and play the cloud game. It reignites our creativity and energizes our spirit.

So how do I take a Sabbath rest? Hope these ideas might help you too.

  1. Besides going to church, I try to stay off my computer (unless, of course, I can skype with the grandchildren—then all bets are off!). I avoid social media, writing, or doing anything connected to work.
  2. I try to do something in nature—take a walk, sit in the yard, etc.
  3. I enjoy on a nice meal or just a special dessert.
  4. I spend some special time with my wonderful husband.
  5. Sometimes we spend time with friends.
  6. I often call someone that I haven’t talked to in awhile.
  7. I read or watch TV for pleasure not for research (i.e. work).
  8. I spend some time praying for the upcoming week.

Try it for a year and see how it transforms your life. I know you’ll be blessed.

 

Dear Lord, It’s too easy stay busy and miss your Sabbath rest. Help us to stop and experience your refreshing Sabbath. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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By Susan G Mathis

My 94-year-old mother’s years of wisdom and experience always seem to balance me and help me reorient myself in this busy world. Now that she’s in heaven, I miss those wise words.

Before she passed, I mentioned how fast this year is flying by and how busy my schedule is. She just smiled, shared her wisdom, and aligned my thinking.

I thought you might enjoy hearing that wisdom, so here are her secrets to making your days count.

  1. Keep God First. Start every day with prayer and surrendering your day to His plans. Entrust that day into His hands for even when times are tough, He will guide you through every situation.
  2. Stay healthy. Each of us knows what unhealthy habits we might have. Too little sleep? Too much junk food? Too little exercise? Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.
  3. Know why you do what you do. Look at your schedule and assess why those items are on your calendar and/or if they need to be a part of your day. Whatever it is, it needs to be important to you, enough that you will be glad you did it when the day is done. Life is too short to waste time on non-profitable things.
  4. Just say no. Learn to say no to things that waste of time and don’t reasonably fit into your schedule. There are so many time wasters, including people who can waste your time. I must admit that too many lunch dates, social media, and searching for the best shopping deals can be a few of my time wasters.
  5. Make calendar corrections. When you turn the calendar to the next month (or even to the next week), take time to review the past week/month and make corrections to the upcoming week/month. Did you have too many lunch dates? Too little workout time? Watching too much TV or movies? Going to too many social events? Tweak your schedule to correct such slips.
  6. Discourage distractions. What are your three worst time wasters? How can you shorten that wasted time or eliminate it altogether? Write them down and be careful not to get caught up in those distractions. I actually set an alarm when I get on my social media accounts so I don’t get swept up in them.
  7. Eliminate negativity. Most of us have that little voice nagging at us, telling us all the things we do wrong, all the ways we’ve failed at this or that, or all the weaknesses we have. Fix what you need to fix, but reject that critical voice inside you—or those critical voices from others who just can’t keep their own negative opinion to themselves.

Susan G. Mathis

Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

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The holidays are soon upon us and so are the inevitable changes of the new year. Crazy as it is, change is all around us.

A wedding. A new baby. School. A heart attack. A honeymoon. Retirement. A new home. Death. A promotion. Divorce. A big inheritance. Cancer. A new career. Remarriage. Each of these situations—and a zillion more—bring change into a person’s life.

Some changes are good; some are bad; some are just plain ugly. Some of these changes we choose; others we do not. But change happens, so it’s wise to learn how to respond to those changes well and move forward.

The challenge in all this is to grow through it and allow the change to do its work in you. Whether you’re a tweenager on the cusp of puberty or a retiree trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life, we must continually deal with change. Though change is a natural process of life and growth, few of us really know how to go through it well. There are times it can be downright overwhelming!

The reality is that the adventure of change isn’t usually comfortable or fun. And in today’s culture, life is moving so fast and changes happen so quickly that we hardly have time to adjust or respond before the next change comes. How many of us just got used to the iPhone and along comes an iPad with all the new changes? Just buying clothes for my granddaughters slaps me in the face with the reality that they are changing every day.

Change can make us feel disoriented, confused, even annoyed. If we know it has a specific purpose, we can usually hang in there and work through the change. But if we can’t see the reason for the change, we can feel distressed, frustrated, even fearful. So we revert back to old and sometimes bad habits to find our safe places to get our balance—our old routines or activities or comfort foods—and that’s okay for a season. But we can’t hide in them. We must move on.

In my first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, the main character has six small children when she immigrates from Ireland to Canada. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. Many, many Irish immigrants took the perilous journey with little ones in tow. And with each child comes lots of challenges and changes every day.

I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with change. And life is full of change! We love how the seasons change but often hate how our lives change with it. Just when we settle into a routine or get a handle on something, life seems to turn our world upside down, and we are forced to adjust to it.

Susan Mathis

Susan Mathis

Fabric of Hope by Susan G. Mathis

Fabric of Hope by Susan G. Mathis

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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