Sunday Rest: It’s Not Really About The Soup (Part 3)

This is part 3 in a series. Catch up with Part 1 here and Part 2 here! In my last post, I shared that the rhythm of Sunday rest was something I wanted to keep up, but everything began to feel more complicated.

Pastina Soup made for our weekly Sunday Rest.

It was early in 2023, and suddenly it felt like every weekend had obligations. In the first ten weeks of the year, we had birthday parties, Zoom calls with missionary friends across the globe, school competitions, enrichment activities an hour away, tickets to a show in Nashville, illness, recitals, more illness… you get the picture.

Even on Sundays when we didn’t have to go somewhere, I felt like I “needed” the day to play catch-up from the busy Saturday we’d had.

I did my best to keep dinner time on Sundays pleasant and calm, even if we didn’t eat soup. We also continued to have our scoop of ice cream to celebrate before we started preparation for the coming school/work week. (The kids really love that part.)

But I could feel it in my heart and spirit. It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t enough.

I needed a reset.

Who Wants Soup?

In March, when I wrote Part 1 and Part 2, I was trying to figure out how to do a reset. Especially with spring weather warming up, and my family still not loving every single soup we tried.

A gif from Gilmore Girls shows Paris Geller frowning as she says, "Soup I don't even like!"

I read a few more books* on the subject of Sabbath and Sunday rest, and listened to a great 4-part podcast series by John Mark Comer on cultivating a Sabbath practice.

And finally… I realized (or remembered) that it’s not really about the soup. The soup was always just a sensory cue to put us all in the mindset that this portion of this day had been set aside for rest.

As spring sprints toward summer, I’m learning about broadening my vision for what a day devoted to Sabbath would look like. Why not spend time exercising my creativity, or enjoying more of nature, including my little backyard garden?

Michelle's garden in springtime - the leafy vines of bean plants climb an arched trellis.

I decided that even if we have a busy weekend, and the pressures of our social and educational obligations eat into part of our rest time, I can still view as holy the smaller amount of time I have.

Practicing Imperfect Rest

I think all-or-nothing thinking is an enemy when we are trying to nurture new faith practices. We are travelers on the journey; it’s perfectly fine that we haven’t completely mastered every spiritual discipline.

In the coming months, our family has big changes afoot. A high school graduation, a middle school graduation, and an elementary school graduation are on the horizon. We’ll be feeling the pressures of the “lasts” and experiencing the upheavals of summer. And then, we face all new family dynamics when we send J. off to college.

Through it all, I want to remain grounded in the truth of God’s provision and sufficiency. I want to recall the goodness of rest, because productivity and hustle can’t guarantee anything in this life.

And the best way I have found to do that is to observe a Sunday rest.

*In future posts, I’d like to share my hopes and vision for expanding our Sabbath. I’m also working on a list of resources that have helped me. Do you have questions about New Soup Sundays, rhythms of rest, or anything else covered in this series? Drop a comment below or email me anytime!

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Meet the author

Michelle, a white woman with brown hair, faces the camera with a smile. She wears glasses with clear frames and a shirt that says, "Those Goals Look Good On You."

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write about my faith, family, organization, and adventures in fiction writing. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

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