About 8 or 9 months ago, I started feeling convicted about how I use my Sundays. Like many people, I spent the day catching up on housework, trudging to the grocery store, and generally trying to do everything on my To Do list that hadn’t been done during the week.
This is not a restful way to spend the day.
I’d been feeling frustrated about always being tired, always being behind, never having the chance to truly relax. Then I started re-reading my collection of Grace Livingston Hill novels. I’ve loved that author since my teen years, but it had been a while since I’d read more than two or three books in a row. This time I decided to read as many as I could get my hands on (I lost count, but I just finished number 40-something), and quickly remembered one of the reasons Hill’s stories are such a favorite: they promote a sweet, purposeful life with an emphasis on homemaking and making Sunday a day of rest and peace.
When I returned from Japan in September, I decided it was time to reclaim my Sundays. I wrote out what I wanted the day to be, how I wanted it to feel, and started figuring out how to make it happen.
First, I joined a church. Although I grew up going to church, I haven’t had a home church since college. Over the years I’ve visited several churches in town, and out of town, but they weren’t quite the right fit. Ironically, I never visited either of the churches that share an alley with my house. After feeling prompted for several weeks, I finally decided to visit one, the Episcopalian Church, and instantly felt at home. Growing up in Evangelical churches, this was quite a surprise, but it’s been a few months now and I still feel such peace there.
My next challenge was restructuring my week so that I felt like I could take Sunday “off”. This requires some focus, and a little extra discipline, because it means all of my necessary work from the previous week, and to prepare for the coming week, needs to be completed by Saturday evening. This includes any writing assignments, website projects, business matters, workouts, food prep, and housework. I’m still working out the ideal cleaning schedule to accommodate this, but doing a few tasks during the week followed by cleaning the whole house and doing all the laundry on Saturdays seems to be the answer.
Now in addition to doing the bulk of my housework on Saturday – because I want it to be clean and restful on Sunday and in preparation for the next week – I also get to spend Saturday evenings with my 11 nieces and nephews. We’ve been having Sissy Nights (that’s what they call them) at BigBro’s house, so at least I don’t have to clean my house again at 10PM on Saturday after they leave. However, it does mean that I need to wrap up my work for the week by about 5PM on Saturday, and I need to prep supper for 12 (I gotta eat, too!) and whatever activities we’re going to do so I can take it all with me.
What I’m saying is that Saturday is busy! I feel like I can improve on this by finding ways to do some of this work throughout the week. For example, creating a menu and stocking the freezer with meals for Sissy Night so I’m not trying to come up with an idea for supper, get to the store, and prep it all on Saturday afternoon. Deciding on activities and putting everything we need into a bag earlier in the week would also help.
(Which reminds me, I need to go to the library today and choose our next book to read aloud after supper.)
A complication here is that every third weekend I’m on “newspaper duty”, meaning that I cover community events and breaking news for that weekend, with stories due Sunday night. I’m still figuring out how to best incorporate this into my plan to reclaim Sunday, but so far having everything else done means less stress when I sit down to write.
So what does my ideal Sunday look like? I’ll tell ya!
- Sleep in a little bit – 8 o’clock or so
- Enjoy a cup of tea while perusing a magazine or Pinterest (these are treats that I pretty much reserve for Sunday)
- Go to church
- Have a leisurely lunch
- Listen to classical music
- Take a nap
- Do some planning for the week (a rested mind is a creative mind)
- Go for a walk
- Visit my happy place
- Go to bed with a sense of rejuvenation and and anticipation for the week to come
Notice what’s not on the list? TV, computer time (except Pinterest), strenuous activities, rushing around, etc.
My goal here is to have at least one day per week devoted to peace and rest. It’s a process, and there are still tweaks to be made, but so far, reclaiming Sunday is not only giving me a chance to relax once a week, it’s creating a more tranquil home, increased my productivity throughout the week, and is putting me on the path to a more intentional life.
It’s a win-win.