About the Episode
In His directions to the Israelites concerning Sabbath, God outlines a rest that is community-focused in general and family-focused in particular. For the busy Christian mom contemplating how to cultivate a culture of family rest and connection during Sabbath, I want to suggest 5 ways she can help make that happen.
Click for Transcript
[00:00:00] You’re listening to episode 31 of the Simply Sabbath podcast.
Rest doesn’t have to be a four-letter word. If you feel like you’re about to break from exhaustion. Let me invite you to Simply Sabbath, a podcast for the burnt-out Christian mom, who longs to get back to the core of who she is and to reclaim the deep joy and stabilizing peace Jesus has for her in her every day– without the mom guilt that often accompanies self-care practices.
Hi, my name is Rachel Fahrenbach and I help busy moms just like you add a simple restful family Sabbath to their week. So they can experience a refueling that gives them exactly what they need to live the life that God has called them to. I’m so glad you’ve joined me today. Let’s get to it.
Sabbath is a wonderful time for [00:01:00] you to re connect as a family. There’s no outside demand for your attention or your time. And so you are able to fully engage with your people, with the loved ones that you have. And there’s no expectation that you’re going anywhere or doing anything. You’re just being with one another.
It’s a lovely space to be in. I love how Sabbath is portrayed in scripture is a very community oriented thing.
Not only is it a gift to us to practice resting in God’s provision and not in our own striving, not only is a gift of practicing that but when you look at scripture, you see like your whole family supposed to rest together, and nobody’s supposed to do any kind of work. And I think that it just kind of levels the playing field for everybody. It, it says mom and dad, aren’t working and the kids aren’t working, nobody is striving here. We’re just enjoying each [00:02:00] other and being together.
And I, I didn’t quite catch on to this concept of Sabbath that is laid out in scripture. I didn’t quite notice that until I started looking into the traditions of the Jewish faith and oh my goodness., They have such beautiful, beautiful traditions that focus in on family and focus in on being a community resting together.
That focus in on family and being a family that rest. They have the Shabbat meal that welcomes in the time of rest. It is a celebration. It is something that the whole family does together. The mom has a part in the Shabbat meal and the dad has a part in the Shabbat meal. And the kids are a part of the Shabbat table, it is very much a family oriented tradition.
After seeing this beautiful tradition that those in the Jewish faith have, I started realizing that they had picked up on this [00:03:00] community aspect of Sabbath and resting together as a family. And I think that’s just, there’s something really powerful in that is that as we rest together as a family, we reconnect to one another. In our day and age where we’re all kind of running around doing our own thing, I think there’s something really beautiful in gathering the family back around the table and gathering the family together. I think there’s really something really beautiful in carving out a time in our week to say, we rest together as a family. We honor God together as a family in this way.
Like I said, there’s nothing demanding our time or energy, we’re not, um, you know, I hate to be like, oh, we’re not glued to our phones, but it’s the reality, right? Our phones are like mini computers, it’s a tool that we manage our household off of. Our computers are one, our phone is another. Our car is another, like going to and from places. We can lead very busy lives [00:04:00] and often we are managing the next thing. I think sometimes when our kids see us with our phone in our hand, you know we understand and that we might be checking our calendar, we might be meal planning, we might be, um, scheduling a doctor’s appointment for somebody in the family, but they don’t know that. They just see that mom’s attention is diverted somewhere else. Sabbath is a really great way for us to reconnect with our kids and say, you know, even if mom and dad have been super busy throughout the whole week, we are making time to rest with you.
And so I wanted to give you five tips for reconnecting as a family during Sabbath.
Tip #1: Plan Together
And tip number one is plan together. I think this is really crucial that it’s not just one person dictating how the family is going to rest that day, but that you incorporate them into that, into that conversation.
Ask your family, how do they want to rest? You might [00:05:00] be surprised by the answers. You might be surprised what one kid wants to do. Or, you might be surprised what your husband comes up with. The question though, is how did they want to rest? I pose it to my kids this way, because they don’t really understand like the question “how do you want to rest?” They understand the question, what do you want to do? What sounds like fun to you this week? What sounds like something you would enjoy doing? What sounds like something fun to do on the Sabbath? Like what would be something you would enjoy doing?
Ask them what’s something they want to do and then what something they want to do together as a family? I think you’ll be, you might be surprised you might be like, oh yep, that’s totally on par with their personality. But I think it’s good to communicate all of that and to get into the habit of, of being able to express that desire and that need, and that want to, um, to take that time.
And say, okay, this is what we’re going to do. We’re all going to rest together [00:06:00] as a family, but we’re going to acknowledge that what that looks like for each of us might be a little different, but we can also come together as a family and do something collectively that we all enjoy.
Tip #2: Eat Together
Tip number two, eat together.
So as I mentioned in the Jewish faith, they have the Shabbat meal and I’ve also heard it called, um, by others in the Christian community. I’ve heard it called like the family meal and I love this part of our Sabbath practice and our kids look forward to it. It’s just, I think, kicking off your Sabbath practice, or even ending your Sabbath practice with a family meal, there’s something, it happens every single time. And so it’s something they can look forward to, also I think there’s just something special that happens when you all gather around a table and share a meal together. And, um, there’s some kind of, there’s a little bit of ceremony in it. It just makes it more special, especially in [00:07:00] our day and age and we’re are often driving through, you know, the we’re often going through the drive-through and eating between one activity to the other, eating a meal in the car.
And so there’s just something about slowing down and eating a meal together on the table, I just think is really special. Um, so some of the things that go along with that Shabbat meal or family meal, ways that you can really reconnect to the family within that is to cook together, decide the meal together, cook together, and then feast together, like really celebrate it, get dressed up and fancy. We do that for the most part. We get dressed up and we use regular plates and we have nice glasses and my kids are a little older, though we do still stick, you know, non breakable things in front of the five-year-old because he is a little rambunctious and so things get knocked off the table.
You could go that route or you may go [00:08:00] the route of, “you know, what? This is our, this is our special family meal that we get to rest together as, and so every week we are going to wear our PJ’s and we’re going to use paper plates.” It can be that too. It is totally up to you, whatever you think your family would reconnect over. Do that, you know, but the idea is that you’re celebrating together. You’re celebrating the week that has passed. You’re celebrating the week that’s coming up. You’re celebrating the fact that God has been good to you. You are celebrating the fact that you are there together enjoying one another enjoying God’s provision together, you are celebrating.
So make it that way. When people gather together and celebrate something together, they connect. It’s a shared experience that they get to connect over.
Tip #3: Reflect on the Week Together
Tip number three, reflect on the week together. If you listen to last week’s episode, when I talked about reconnecting with your husband during your Sabbath, taking the [00:09:00] time to ask the simple question of what was enjoyable this week and what was challenging is such an eyeopener.
The conversation is not, um, it’s not resting in that space of what do we have to do, or what do we need to get done? It’s resting in that space of what did we experience? And it gets kind of to that, that, um, heart, you know, it gets to that idea of what have you, as a person experienced this week? How have you moved through this space this week and how have you seen God working in your life this week? And it’s a really great jumping off point for some conversations, especially when your kids are little, they might say things to you that you didn’t even realize… There’ve been times when our kids have told us this was a challenge this week, and I didn’t even know it was a challenge for them.
And I’ve been able to ask the question, “Well, why was it a challenge?” And practicing [00:10:00] this dialogue week after week of reflecting on your week, what was enjoyable, what was challenging? Where have we seen God working? Having that regular rhythm of communicating that with one another is so good for connecting and it opens up the space for being able to share truth with one another and it opens up the space to be able to share some biblical foundational values and truths with your children. And, um, it’s just, it’s such a unique way to connect with them. It’s such a really great way to connect as a family to understand what each of you is going through. And a little bit more too, about their personalities, because when they tell you what they enjoyed that week, their little personality shine through.
But it’s also good for them to hear that from you because they don’t necessarily know what’s going on in your world. [00:11:00] I think we operate a lot outside of our children’s knowledge. And so being able to share what you enjoyed this week or what was the challenge for you this week opens up their eyes to your world in a way that they don’t get access to.
Tip #4: Play Together
Number four. Play together. I would suggest that you designate a certain hour of your Sabbath practice as your like family hour, at least one hour. We tend to have a time where we do a family activity. So our, um, well let me explain this. Our Sabbath practice happens at on the evening of Saturday to the evening of Sunday. On Saturday evening, after our Shabbat meal, if it hasn’t taken up too much of our evening, sometimes it gets away from us a little bit and we’re like, oh my goodness, it’s almost bedtime for these kiddos.
Um, so if we have time, we like to do like some kind of family activity that might be watching a show together, or it might be playing a game or putting a puzzle together, [00:12:00] coloring. We’ve done all sorts of things throughout the years. So we like to do that. And then we also like to do something after church on Sunday, and that activity tends to be a little bit more active.
It might be going somewhere. Um, it might be going for a walk, going on a picnic, it’s just a little bit more, it might be doing multiple different things that the kids have asked us to do with them. So we might go play Legos for a while and then we go play cars and then we go play dolls. Um, so it’s just doing those kinds of things.
We’ve kind of designated those as are our times for doing things together as a family. you don’t have to designate that much time, but you might want to designate that much time. The key here is, is that you designate when your family time is going to happen within your Sabbath practice. And remember your Sabbath is only 24 hours. So like, and part of that, you’re sleeping. If [00:13:00] you’re doing it from evening, the evening. The point is, is that you just spend some time engaging with your kids. One of the benefits of this is that it can be really busy throughout the week, and sometimes my kids will be like, Hey mom, like, I feel like we haven’t really gotten to play any family games or anything this week. And it’s like, well, yeah, this week has been really busy and we’ve been doing this thing or we had to do this thing, or this project came up and mom had a focus on it. Or dad had to work late this week. We are able to say, you know what, you’re right. We haven’t gotten to connect really as a family, let’s make sure during our Sabbath this week that we do the thing that you’re asking to do.
And so just knowing that you have time set aside for that just helps your family to look forward to it, but it just also helps you to make sure to make that reconnection happen. And one more thing, I’ll say about playing together: truly play together. Like it’s hard [00:14:00] sometimes when you’re so tired, but there is something about the joy of childhood that it’s just, there’s a little bit of refueling in it. Like take your cues from your kids, let their silliness and their goofiness be your guide during your Sabbath time of reconnecting together as a family. Let there their youthful playfulness, let it be a beacon that kind of guides you out of that forest of work into a field of play and enjoyment.
Like I think that that childlike desire for fun we lose that as adults and Sabbath is really about capturing that again. I think that’s an aspect of Sabbath is that playful enjoyment of the world around us.
Tip #5: Be Together
All right. Number five, and my very last tip for you: Be together.
Be [00:15:00] together. You know, nothing else is demanding your time. And, and I do believe that you should have an hour or so to yourself for soul care. And we talked about that in another episode. I do believe that you should have some time with your spouse to reconnect with them. Just the two of you.
But for the rest of your Sabbath, be together, make it kind of a priority that everybody is at Sabbath. I know as the kids get older, it can be kind of harder to make that happen. But I also have heard of parents who Sabbath with their kids and they say, I don’t mind if your friends come over and join us for our Sabbath, but this is what we do as a family on this night, and so you need to be there. Or they said things like our family meal at the beginning is really important. And so like if they practice Friday night to Saturday night, our meal is really important and our Friday evening us being together it’s really important. [00:16:00] On Saturday from one to three, you are free to go do whatever it is that you want to do. And if that means hanging out with some friends, that’s okay. You know, so it’s really, it is what it is. You make it what you want it to be. But I would really encourage you that the majority of your Sabbath is spent together.
Ways you can make this happen is having one-on-one time scheduled and it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. It could be 15 minutes with each kid. It could be 30 minutes with each kid. It could be an hour. It can be whatever it is that you want. But yeah. Knowing that you’re going to have a time of connection with each individual child, I think is really helpful and important, and that reconnection can happen with just you and the child, or maybe it’s you and your husband and that child. That’s how we approach it in our house. Our kids have one-on-one time with us as a parent team.
It’s been so good for us to be able to say, you have our undivided attention for the next 30 minutes and we will do whatever it [00:17:00] is that you want us to do. We can talk about whatever you want us to talk about. Our time is yours and there’s just something so beautiful in what happens for that child and connecting with you.
So, yeah, so one-on-one time is a way to make that be together happen during Sabbath. The other thing that you can do to help that cultivate that being together is to adopt the attitude of “each and every.” So you’re going to designate a physical space and time where each person is doing their own thing but everyone is together.
Growing up with this looked like for me, we didn’t have a official Sabbath practice, but we did know that every Sunday after church, everyone was pretty much in the living room doing their own thing but we were all together. And there was just something about physically occupying the same space that was refreshing and refueling and reconnecting.
[00:18:00] So I would suggest you take kind of the same approach that your being together doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re all doing the same thing at the same time, but you could just physically be together. So designate a physical space and a time within your Sabbath where each person is doing their own thing but everyone is together.
So I hope that was really helpful for you, those five tips. I’ll repeat them for you real quick: number one plan together. Number two, eat together. Number three, reflect on the week together. Number four, play together. And number five be together. So I hope those help you reconnect together as a family and Sabbath.
Question for this week:
I will leave you with this question. This question to ask yourself: out of the five tips that we’ve talked about today, what is one tip you want to implement in your next Sabbath practice to encourage reconnection as a family?
I’ll talk to you next week. [00:19:00] Bye.
Hey, I just want to say thank you for joining me for today’s conversation. I know many things demand your attention. I don’t take lightly the privilege it is to share your time. I want to make things as easy and simple for you. So I’ve linked to all the resources mentioned in the episode in the show notes, and you can always find the link and more helpful information on my website, www.simplysabbath.com.
As we say our goodbyes, let me remind you that what we’re talking about in this podcast is not just another thing to add to your to-do list. This is not another expectation for you to live up to. It is a gift out stretched from the hand of your creator. An invitation to press pause on walking alongside Jesus in all the things He’s called you to do. And instead the down, across from Him and just be with Him.
It is an invitation to Simply Sabbath.
Ask yourself this question: Out of the five tips that we’ve talked about today, what is one tip you want to implement in your next Sabbath practice to encourage reconnection as a family?
Want to practice Sabbath but don’t know where to start? Grab this free guide: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath
By subscribing, you allow each episode to be downloaded straight to your phone which makes sure you never miss an episode!
Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help busy moms add a simple, rest-filled family Sabbath to their week. If that sounds like something you want for your week, but don’t know where to start, grab this free how-to resource: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath.