About the Episode
What exactly is true rest? Is it self-care, soul-care, or spiritual-care? Is there an absolute in the way we’re supposed to rest? Or is it whatever we feel like doing? In this episode, I’m going to cover the 5Rs, or five components, that I believe are part of Sabbath rest.
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You’re listening to episode 39 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.
So when I first started digging into this idea of Sabbath and rest, I remember that there seemed to be a tension wherever I looked. It was either: rest is self care, naps, doing things you enjoy, just relaxing, Get your nails done, that kind of thing. Or it was about soul care, do the things that make you feel like you come alive, you know, true rest is found when your soul can breathe. Or there was the position of, well, especially when you’re talking about Sabbath rest, that true rest is found in Jesus. And so if you are tired or exhausted, you need to seek him and he will give you what you need. So an emphasis on spiritual care.
And I remember there being a tension between these in every book I read, every article I read, um, podcasts I listen to. Even when asking my friends what they thought rest was, the answers were so varied and so different. And it was always this tension between these three things.
And I felt the tension pretty deeply for myself too, because, on one hand I had just started really diving back into writing and making sure I had time to write. It was a practice that I had that aside. And for me who had gone to college to be a writer who had been writing and wanting to write books for the longest time, setting it down was one of those first steps into allowing the hustle and hurried culture of our world dictate my schedule. Because by setting it down, I was saying, “who I was created and designed to be does not matter, these things matter more.”
And I also resonated with the self care aspect of things because I was. Uh, mom of littles and sleep-deprived. So a nap sounded good when people talked about it. Um, and I wanted to go get my nails done and we were kinda in time of financial difficulty and so getting my nails done, seemed frivolous, and that wasn’t something I was going to do, but it was something I wanted to do… and getting your nails done might not be your thing, but whatever it is, you can probably put yourself in my place. There’s probably something that you would like to do, you know, haircut, getting new clothes. All the things.
But I also recognize the spiritual need for things like, uh, finding contentment in Jesus and finding joy and strength in our everyday through prayer and spending time with him.
And so I was feeling this tension between these three as well. And couldn’t quite figure out which one of the things was true rest. And it, you know, of course the answer seems to be like, well, it’s gotta be spiritual. Right? True rest is found in the spiritual. And, um, I just remember being so conflicted about this.
And I remember being in the Bible study that first kicked off this search into Sabbath for me. We were doing a study on the 10 commandments at our church. And in our small group, we were discussing it further, right? We are discussing with the pastor I brought up on Sunday. And, um, and I remember being disappointed by the pastor’s sermon on Sunday because he didn’t give like an absolute answer for what it meant to keep the Sabbath holy. He just kind of painted broad strokes and I get it because it’s kind of a complicated topic in our culture. And it’s really hard to get into at times, And so I don’t, I don’t hold it against him, but I will be honest. I was like, well, that wasn’t helpful.
And then fast forward to our small group couple of days later, we started really getting into it. Like, what does it mean to have a Sabbath rest? What does it mean to rest each week? And I remember one of the other gentlemen in the Bible study or in the small group. Sorry, um, saying “well, to me, resting is sitting and watching football with my kids after church, just relaxing and enjoying that time.”
And, in all honesty, I was like, that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. And I am not proud of that moment of judgment on his explanation of what rest was to him. But to me, I am not a big sports person. And I find watching sports on TV. Very, very, um, It’s just, it’s not my thing. I don’t like it. If not restful, to me, it just feels like a waste of time. It’s not enjoyable to me. I will watch the Superbowl. But I watch the Superbowl for the community for the party aspect of it. Not because I’m invested into a game.
I just think it’s funny, I am so anti sports and my husband loves sports I just think if God has a sense of humor.
But looking into it now, now where I’m at in my life, I can look at that moment and go, oh, I know why that sounded stupid to me. Because sports for me is tied to striving and it’s tied to hard work. And the reason being is because I was in gymnastics and ballet at the same time between the ages of like seven and I think 11, 10 or 11.
I would watch the gymnast on the Olympics. I told my mom I want to be in the Olympics someday. And she’s like, well, you know, you could probably be in the Olympic in, I forget what year it was. I think it might’ve been 2020. And, um, or no, it wouldn’t have been 2020. Cause I would have been way too old. Year 2000? She was just being, you know, how moms are they like to help you dream? And she’s like, well, you know, sure, if you work hard and whatnot, And so they put me into gymnastics and then I did ballet too. And so I was doing both of those things. And suddenly our lives were all about being in the car, going to these things. And I was spending less and less time with my family and more and more time at the gym and in the studio being told over and over and over again, that I wasn’t getting it right.
And for me and my personality, which can tend toward the perfectionist side of things, that was soul crushing.
And I remember my mom and my younger siblings would go do these fun things together. And. I don’t know how often this actually happened. I’m probably remembering it a lot more than it really was. Of course when you’re 10, you can’t necessarily articulate everything that you’re feeling. And observing, but all I knew was my family was doing things that sounded fun and enjoyable. And they were doing them together. And I was in the gym getting told that I wasn’t doing things right, day after day, week after week.
And so I decided to quit both. So you can see how, like, for me, I went from being super into sports. To super not into sports. And so it has carried throughout my whole life. So, when this guy told me that watching sports on TV was restful to him, I thought it was stupid. And I thought that cannot be true rest. He is not resting the way that God intended. I can guarantee you that.
And I was super, super judgemental and, um, and I’m not proud of that. But I’m being honest with you to say that as I have wrestled through what constitutes as rest, there have been times when I have judged things to be not restful. And I had never added on “for me” onto the end of that, because in my mind it was very black and white. There has to be like a kind of rest that we engage in. Right? It can’t be like individualized. Like that would be weird. Like it should be absolute. And so, after that Bible study, I started digging into, okay. There’s gotta be an answer here in scripture. So I started looking into scripture. I started reading different books on the Sabbath, different trains of thoughts on the Sabbath and I started looking into the traditions that the Jewish people have had over years and years and years.
And I started really digging into like what do they say rest is, what does scripture say rest is? What does this theologian say rest is?. And I realized.
And I realized that Sabbath rest was made up of all these different components. Components that took care of your self care. Components that took care of your soul care. And components that took care of your spiritual care.
And I realized that what that gentleman was saying to me in that Bible study. Was not necessarily about sports. It was about relaxing, doing something he enjoyed, and doing it within a community of people. He loved.
So I started thinking, okay, well, how do you capture that? Like, what is the word for that? Like, what is it that he’s doing? Like, how can we describe what rest is in a little bit more concrete yet flexible way?
Where that tension gets removed. But yet it allows for the individuality that is inherit in our being? And what resulted was what I call the five RS. These were things that I saw as components. In scripture, in traditions, um, in what different people said they thought rest was. And I came up with these and I came up with these five words to describe what I think rest is. And I use them to structure our first attempt at our Sabbath practice. I said, well, okay. If our Sabbath includes these five things, then I think I’m hitting what God intends Sabbath to be.
And so we structured and we continue to structure our Sabbath around these five concepts. Around these five core concepts.
I wanted to share those with you today because I realized I have not shared those with you. Um, I’m going to keep it high level. I’m just going to tell you what those things are. Couple sentences about them. But if you want to dive into them a little bit deeper, each, each one of these components. My friend, Angie Gibbons, who I actually interviewed in episode 23 of this podcast, she has created, what’s called the Dawn app. And it’s really about bringing this idea of rest into the everyday moments. And she’s created this beautiful app that gives you the ability to practice, rest in these small little ways, and the app guides you through that. Um, but there’s a podcast component to the app and she’s asked me to share about Sabbath rest and what it is. And so in that series that I did for her, I go into each one of these components a little bit deeper.
So, if you are interested in hearing my thoughts more about each one of these components, you can actually go to Angie’s page and I’ll link to it in the show notes here. And download the app and it’s, you will have to pay for the premium version in order to get the podcast series, but it’s like $2 a month.
So it’s very, very nominal fee. Um, for that, I mean, I think it’s like $20 for the whole year that like, You know, that’s going to Starbucks a couple of times. Like, like that’s like nothing. Um, but it’s so worth it. The content that is in there is so well curated and it’s so good. And so I definitely highly recommend that to you that you go check that out.
So the 5Rs, what are they? And what are the 5Rs? So the 5Rs are remember, reflect, reconnect, relax, and rejoice. Remember. Reflect. Reconnect. Relax. And rejoice. And if you notice, I didn’t use rest in any of those. I am saying these are components of rest. These are the things that make up rest.
So let’s start with Remember what do I mean by remember? So I would say, remember your provider and his provision.
When we look in Genesis and we look in Exodus, both times where there’s the command to remember the seventh day or to keep the seventh day. The command isn’t necessarily, I don’t think, is not necessarily on the rest part. It’s on the remembering part. It’ not necessarily that you are to remember to rest. You are to remember the seven day or remember that God delivered you from the bondage of slavery. It is a command to rest to remember. And I think that there’s a slight difference, right? Like there’s a slight difference between a command to rest. And a command to remember. We rest because we’re remembering not necessarily we’re resting because we’re supposed to rest. We’re resting because we’re remembering and what are we remembering? We’re remembering the fact that God is our sustainer. He’s our provider. He provides all that we need and he sustains our very life.
He created humanity, breathed life into our lungs. We owe him our very lives. That’s what we’re remembering on the Sabbath. We’re remembering his faithful provision and sustaining of our very lives. Remember who created you, who has provided for you, and who continues to sustain you. And the way that we do that, we, um, we’ve done it differently over the, over the years, but the way that we have done it is in simple things like incorporating our, um, you know, going to church. As part of our Sabbath practice. We’ve incorporated doing a devotional. Some of the things that we say as a family. Remind us of that faithful provision, not only in the creation of our, our being. Not only in the faithful way that God has continued to provide for us, but also the provision he gave in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
And so our Sabbath is structured with this idea that we acknowledge, and we remember, God as provider.
The next is Reflect. And I would say that you reflect on the challenges and the joys of your week. If you ask any good party planner what the key to planning a great party is, they will tell you that reflecting on what went wrong in the last party is the best way to plan the next party. And I think the same is true in our lives, that when we stop and reflect what has happened this week, it rights our view, especially when we’re inviting Jesus into that practice when we’re saying, Hey Lord, can you give me eyes to see what you want me to see from this week? It rights our perspective and it allows us to see… sometimes it can feel like you’ve had a really hard week. But then when you start reflecting on it, you’re like, oh my gosh, a lot of good happened this righting and there was really only a small moment where I was struggling.
That’s writing your perspective. That’s making a shift in your, and your posture for the week. And it also allows you to see the moments where God has provided for you and allows you to, to further remember the way that he’s provided for you. So I think reflection is a really key thing for your Sabbath practice. And the way that we do that in our family is we just ask the simple question. We go around the table during our, one of our meals. And we’ll ask. Okay. What was. What was the challenge of this week? What was something you enjoyed this week? And, you know, we have little kids and so things are kind of more surface level with those but it’s, it’s been pretty impressive to see some of the observations that they’ve made as they’ve reflected on their life. And then for me, I have a journaling practice where I reflect on , reflect on my week and you can find that journaling practice in my guided journal Rest & Reflect and I’ll link to that in the show notes as well.
The next thing: reconnect with God and each other. I think this is what, um, that gentlemen in our Bible study was talking about. He was reconnecting with his family members through a shared interest. Through something that delighted them. And I think that is something that we, we forget when it comes to rest, especially in our society. We think about it in a very individual terms.
But we forget that it’s also of community-based and there, there is a sense of connecting with reconnecting of God and with others within the practice of Sabbath. We reconnect with God in the fact that we remember he’s our provider and we reflect on the ways that he’s shown up in our lives this week.
And then we reconnect with others because we’re doing this life within a community we’re not alone. And so when we Sabbath with our family members, when we hear how their weeks have gone. The things that they’re learning, the things that they’re struggling with, it connects us that it reconnects our hearts to one another.
It puts us in a posture when we are spending time together and enjoying things together. It puts us back into that position of just enjoying life together. And there’s connection that happens in that there’s bonding. I mean, we know this. This is why we go on family vacations. When we make memories together, there’s a bonding and a connection that happens. And so that happens during Sabbath because Sabbath gives you a space to make memories.
Next is Relax. Relax in ways that meet your personality in your interest. This is I think, where that soul care comes into play. Um, I think a lot of what we just talked about with spiritual care, um, And this is about the soul. But it’s also a little bit about the self. Because those two things that soul care and that self care, doing things that you feel are relaxing, that you feel are energizing, that you feel like makes you come alive. That is. A return to a garden like state. So when God placed Adam and Eve into the garden, He had them working. It wasn’t like they just spent every day just relaxing. But he had them working in a way that was within their design.
And he was dwelling with them and enjoying life with them. So they were working in enjoying life together in a way that was conducive within their design. And so when we live on this side of the fall, and there’s brokenness, we don’t get to experience that very often.
That just pure enjoyment in the way that God has designed us with certain giftings and skill sets and interests or the way our personality is driven. That all can show up in Sabbath that gives us a space for our souls to breathe. And it gives us the space to just play, because I think that we are supposed to work and use our giftings in our work, but we are also supposed to play and salvage gives us space to really enjoy things.
And the last thing I would say is to rejoice.
And I added this in there because. I don’t know that in our culture, we fully rejoice in the concept of rest. That we just delight and enjoy the day. But yet, if you talk to anyone who has been practicing Sabbath for awhile, they’ll say that they’ll say it like, my favorite part of the week. Is Sabbath is just getting to enjoy life. I get to delight in my life.
I get to look and see the way that, which God has provided for me and been faithful. I get to reconnect with my family and with God, I get to enjoy things that I enjoy that make me feel like I. It just makes me feel like I’m alive again and reminds me that not everything has to be so crushing.
And I get to just rejoice in that, like I just get to enjoy it. I don’t think we, we value that aspect. We tend to think of rest as like a thing you do to recover. So you can do the things that you have to do. Or we think about rest in terms of like the Sabbath day, the Lord’s day. And it’s supposed to be this very pious and holy thing. And it does not sound delightful. And you know, if you are a mom of young kids, I’m sorry, but getting to church. It’s not fun. It’s not enjoyable. And you like settle in you start listening to the sermon. You sing some songs, you listened to the sermon and then it’s over and you have to gather the children again. And it’s, it’s a big production. Is a worthwhile of production. It’s a good production, but as the production.
And it’s not restful. And so I think that, especially for those of us, with young kids, we’re like, ah, Sunday. Is here. And that’s not the way. And I’m not saying you have to practice Sabbath on, on Sunday. Which you guys know that you can listen to my other episodes. But the point here I’m trying to make is that we, I think so often.
Don’t approach this idea of Sabbath rest with just pure joy and excitement. And so this is a reminder that that is supposed to be part of our day. We’re supposed to rejoice in the fact that we get to dwell with God. In his creation. That we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor throughout the other six days of the week.
There you have it. Those are the 5Rs of rest. So I’m going to leave you with this one question as I do each week. And you know, I just wanted to say before I leave you with the question that if you have a friend who’s like, I don’t know what rest. I just feel like I’m not getting enough rest of my weekend and I’m not really sure where I should put my attention to my focus and they feel a little bit. Just scattered or they just feel like. It just seems harder than it should to get some rest in their lives. I think sometimes we make it a little bit more complicated in their head than it really needs to be. And so. If this would encourage a friend of yours that, you know, I would really appreciate you sending it their way.
So here’s the question I’m going to leave you with this week: which of these 5Rs do you incorporate into your Sabbath and which of these do you need to incorporate more of?
Which of these 5Rs do you incorporate into your Sabbath? And which of these 5Rs do you need to incorporate a little more?
I’ll see you next week.
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.
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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.