I’ve got to be honest about this…
Okay, so I’m going to be honest, the commanded STOP doesn’t mean that REST is just a given. And if the way Shabbat is being spent in our home doesn’t change I’m going to scream. Or perhaps I will just leave for those 24 hours and let the family duke it out! Actually, it’s probably because I say something about it that causes the friction. If I left for the day or didn’t say a thing then the family would probably be content in how Shabbat is being spent.
Shabbat has been great in the past. But I am seeing so many issues gaining hold on our Shabbats right now. For starters trying to enter the Shabbat rest in the same place we’ve been living all week is super hard! Isaac drags himself home right at sunset from being gone all week which causes huge amount of anxiety for everyone for many reasons. Not to mention the fact that we come into Prep Day not even knowing if Isaac will make it home for Shabbat, but instead be stuck out on the road somewhere. In which case, we have to figure out quickly what he will do.
We wake up Shabbat morning without the normal work week schedule guiding us (I believe that having no schedule to Shabbat is actually an invitation for problems). The piled up stress from the week crashes down on us like a wave –– not to take us for a lovely swim, but to drown us. Throughout the day entitlement creeps in and destroys any chance of breathing because it is completely self-focused and self-absorbed. No one wants to do the same thing. The dishes pile up and the house becomes a disaster because “we don’t have to work.” All the activities revolve around self, because “I deserve a break.” The day revolves around food and what “I want” twisting the whole idea of what Shabbat is about.
Where did Shabbat go?
Shabbat is becoming such an elusive thing especially as the girls get older and more and more opinionated and Isaac’s work takes him further away from the family. There are times when Shabbat is a grand day (mostly when all communication flows perfectly, all tummies are perfectly full, mom is serving everyone else by not bringing up anything controversial, making activities happen and not making any suggestions that require too much change). Other Shabbats selfishness, stress from the week and other dark spirits creep in and totally steal it away.
Sometimes, I think it would be better to just go back to church and deal with those demons instead of these.
When the girls were little
When the girls were younger and we were fresh into Feast keeping Shabbat was more of a joyful day than a painful day. But things have changed. Now it is more of a painful day than a joyful day. The girls don’t like the old traditions we used to do.
It’s true, lately Shabbat seems to be more work than it’s worth. Of course, that is said “tongue-in-cheek” as Shabbat is commanded and I know it is our responsibility as Hebrews to figure it out, but I’ve got to be honest about the reality of it first before I can find a solution.
Core to this walk of obedience
The reality of the situation is that our Shabbat experience has got to change! Shabbat is core to the Hebrew way of life. It is core to obedience. If we don’t get this down how can we stand before the King and say we kept his Law with all our hearts? As it now stands Shabbat is making me heart-level sick. I know what it could be, but my reality is so far from that. My family comes away from Shabbat exhausted –– not refreshed; more self-absorbed not more other-centered.
What needs to happen….
I fully know that Isaac really needs a physical rest on Shabbat. He puts in hard weeks all alone on the road. I know that Maggie needs rest from the pressures of school. Hadassah and I need rest from the monotony of our weekly routine in the apartment. But the way to get this Shabbat Hell to stop is to stop serving ourselves on Shabbat or we are going to die from breathing the same air we exhale. I wish we would pray and read together on Shabbat. I wish we would stop thinking we are entitled to Shabbat; change our location and get out of the house; communicate better; plan it better; care about the other person’s rest more than our own; go “visiting” (see people) or have people over; go help and think about someone else while we also have a different-in-pace-day for our own bodies and hearts. Mom’s naturally serve and think about others. It’s part of our nature, but how do you invite the family into serving on Shabbat — especially if the spirit of entitlement whispers into our ears, “It’s YOUR Shabbat!” “You DESERVE a break.” “That’s work.” I would literally would have to drag my family. I have done it and I’m too exhausted to continue doing it.
The other solutions I see are pretty epic. We need to start or find a fellowship to join (this has been a HUGE issue as there is no Melchizedek fellowships around here). Perhaps we need a “Shabbat Challet” to go to for the day. Or best of all, we need to be in Israel on Shabbat (like when we were in Israel in 2017 for the Feast, pix above). Just imagine all the things that we could do on Shabbat there? Oh! I think I’ll just dream about that for a moment. That is a happy thought.
Today started out good, but turned to Hell, Papa! I can’t do this again! How can I make Shabbat change without your Ruach doing the changing on my family’s hearts?