In high school, I turned down a good job I'm pretty sure I would have been hired for because they said they would require me to work an occasional Sunday. I was a Christian, and Christians don't work on Sundays. Even occasionally.
Oh, how times have changed.
By the time I was in college, I was regularly working Sundays. Pretty much every week, in fact. And while I only worked Sunday evenings - not mornings so I could still go to church - the idea of setting Sundays apart as a day of rest quickly went out the window.
Well, now, I'm trying to change that.
As a busy work-at-home mom of three little ones, setting aside an entire day for rest and worship is trickier than ever, but it's also more important than ever. Not only because God deserves it, but also because I need it! And you do too.
Is Keeping the Sabbath Still Necessary?
While honoring the Sabbath is listed as one of the 10 commandments, you may be surprised to find that the New Testament says relatively little about the practice.
In Acts, we do find the early church meeting together regularly to break bread and take a collection. But then Colossians 2:16 says not to let others judge you based on whether or not you keep the Sabbath and Mark 2:27 says the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Personally, I'm not sure if keeping a day of rest is absolutely REQUIRED, but I do think it's vitally important! Like eating fruits and vegetables. Sure, you probably could live without eating any ever, but you probably shouldn't.
Anyways ... If you'd like to create a more worshipful Sunday (or Saturday or whenever), here are six tips to help you do just that.
1. Block Off Your Calendar
What do you usually do on Sundays? If it doesn't actively encourage you to be more Christ-like, cancel it. Yes, we are called to worship God in everything we do, but Sundays aren't meant to be just another day; they are a day we should set apart.
Does this mean you can't do ANYTHING on Sundays? No. It's perfectly alright to fill your Sundays with activities that allow you to rest and worship. But don't try to just fit God in the cracks of your everyday life. Start with a blank slate and then fit in only the activities that truly bring you closer to Him.
2. Prepare in Advance
Creating a more worshipful Sunday is absolutely nothing like running a marathon, except in this: If you want it to go well, you need to prepare in advance.
Sure, you could just randomly wake up one morning and decide to take it easy. But if having a truly worshipful Sunday were that easy, you would have done it already, a long time ago. So prepare.
Make a casserole in advance so all you have to do is put it in the oven after church. Or throw ingredients in the crock pot so all you have to do is turn it on.
Set out your clothes the night before, so you can make sure you have everything you need and that it's all clean and ready to go.
Pack your church busy bag and/or diaper bag if you have small children.
Make sure the house is all clean the night before.
Figure out what you're going to do all day. First church, then what? Get together with friends and family? Read your Bible? Complete a service activity? Nap?
Make sure everything is done for Monday too. This means homework, permission slips and lunch money forms are completed and in backpacks, work projects are ready to go, shoes and coats are where they belong, etc.
3. Eliminate Common Distractions
Next, figure out what obstacles are standing in the way of you having a truly worshipful Sunday and eliminate them. You may not be able to anticipate them all in advance, but as you start being intentional about your Sundays, notice which activities, attitudes and distractions frequently pop up and get in your way.
Are you constantly running late for church? Maybe you need to set everything out the night before, start getting ready earlier, make your kids a picture chart so they can get ready independently, make a simpler breakfast, or set a "get in gear" alarm for five to ten minutes before it's time to go. One family I know even changed the clocks to be 15 minutes fast because they were always running late!
Do you struggle with your attitude? If you find yourself perpetually annoyed, irritable, grouchy or tired, take steps to cheer up! Start your day with coffee and Scripture before the kids wake up, start your morning routine earlier so you won't have to rush, create routines so getting everyone ready is met with less resistance, etc.
Do you struggle with motivation? Worshiping God shouldn't be a boring obligation! Put on upbeat praise and worship music, read a fantastic Christian living book, schedule a fun night with your small group, or purchase tickets to see a Christian concert or comedian. Obviously you might not be able to do this every week, but it's great for those first few weeks.
4. Post Reminders Around Your Home
Honestly, sometimes the hardest part of setting a day aside for God is simply remembering to keep our focus on Him all day instead of getting distracted by all of the small things we find in and around our homes (like work, laundry, and the same old television shows).
One great way to keep your focus on God is to place visible reminders around your home in places where you will see them regularly.
5. Find Accountability
Even with the best of intentions, it's all too easy to fall off track and resort back to old habits. Thankfully, having some form of accountability can help.
Having a specific accountability partner is your best bet, but if you aren't comfortable with that or don't know anyone, it isn't your only option. You can also download a goal tracking app or a free printable goal-tracking calendar to keep yourself accountable for how you're doing.
6. Give Yourself Grace
Lastly, give yourself grace. While it's certainly commendable to want to make every Sunday as worshipful as possible, the fact is that you ARE going to fail sometimes. Your kids are going to make you late to church, you're going to wake up grouchy sometimes, and you are going to forget things that HAVE to be done at the last minute. You're only human, and being perfect is God's job, not yours.
Yes, God does expect us to aim for perfection, but don't get legalistic with it. Don't fall into the trap of approaching Sunday worship as just another check box to cross off or another routine to go through, without stopping to take the time to actually worship from your heart, or you'll miss the entire point altogether.
God doesn't want your day planner; He wants your heart. And if you do a poor job one week - or if you've done a poor job for weeks on end - you can always get back on track next week, with His help.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Equipping Godly Women. It has been republished here with permission.