A counter-cultural sabbath rest – Month 1

Sabbath RestLast month, I introduced you to our family’s “sabbatical year” in 2013 from commitments that we cannot do together as a family, such as competitive soccer (“A counter-cultural sabbath rest”). Over the past few weeks, it’s been fun to receive feedback from other families who are doing similar things (and others who want to adopt the practice).  If you’re wondering, not a single one of them has any regrets or negative things to say about their experience. To the contrary, to a person, they say that it was one of the best decisions they have ever made and their family has grown much closer together since slowing down. And, not surprisingly, slowing down likewise has strengthened their marriages.

Several of you have asked me to give periodic updates on how the sabbath rest is affecting our family, good and bad.  Since I aim to please : ), here is a little glimpse into the Darke home since starting our sabbatical a little over one month ago.

IMG_3054Month one has been everything I’d hoped for and more.  Though we have still had arguing, whining, fighting, and all the other things that go along with a family of 7 (with five kids ranging from 11-22 months), we have eaten dinner together as a family virtually every evening and have actually had devotionals and real conversations with each other during those dinners (most of the time – after all, we do have five kids).

We went to the park (and played soccer) together, went bowling together (even Justin, our 22 month old, got in on the action), read together, and watched movies together.

Becca and I have gone on a weekly date (yes, just the two of us), which already has produced much fruit in our relationship and is very important for our kids to see.

IMG_3049The kids have had time to do their schoolwork and chores, hang out, and have playdates and sleepovers with their friends.

We’ve had time to share numerous meals with our friends, new and old, without feeling rushed and without having to “book a date” a couple months out.

And this is just a glimpse.

To sum it up, while it definitely has not been perfect, slowing down has resulted in a lot of fun together, a lot of laughter together, deeper relationships, substantially less stress, and much fewer arguments (with quicker resolution of the ones we do have).

Granted we’ve only done this for one month, but I couldn’t recommend this practice of slowing down and intentionally spending more time together as family more to you.  Just try it out . . . give it a couple months . . . I would be really surprised if you have any regrets from the experience.

If your family has taken a similar sabbath rest, if you want to take such a rest, or if you think we’re crazy for taking this rest, leave a comment sharing your story so that we can learn from each other.