The past couple of years, I’ve really be concentrating on trying to keep the Sabbath Day holy, as this is something I have struggled with for a long time. I’ve made some progress, but I’m not there yet. I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with this, so I thought I’d write about my own issues and maybe it will help someone else in the same boat.
As I was not active in the Church for many years, keeping the Sabbath Day holy was not a priority for me. When I came back to Church, there were so many issues I had to work on, that I just tried to tackle them one at a time. Maybe I should have started with the Sabbath Day, but I didn’t. Live and learn. Over the past few years, I’ve come a long way. I no longer shop on Sunday. I try to concentrate on spiritual things. I read my scriptures and listen to hymns or other good music. I make telephone calls to friends and family to strengthen relationships. I try to have an easy dinner planned, or something in the crock pot. I spend quiet time thinking and spending time with my husband.
Last year Church was from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and for the first time ever, we did a pretty good job of not eating lunch in fast food restaurants after Church. There were a couple of Sundays when family was in town that we slipped up, but for the most part, we did pretty well. This year we are back on the 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Church schedule, and we are struggling. We managed the first couple of weeks, but last Sunday we had issues.
After Church I needed to be set apart (a priesthood prayer) for my new calling. Then we were asked to take someone home, and he lives in the complete opposite direction from our house. By the time we dropped him off, it was 3:30 p.m. My own hands were shaking, so I knew my diabetic husband needed to eat. I looked over at him, and he was white as a sheet. I found myself pulling into a fast food restaurant.
I gave myself a talking to for not preparing sandwiches to eat in the car, but we wouldn’t have been able to eat them in front of the man we were taking home anyway. By the time we dropped him off, we both needed more substantial food than a sandwich. Then I was mad at myself for agreeing to take him home, but aren’t we supposed to give service?
I’ve been looking for an alternative plan. I suppose we could eat sandwiches in the car between meetings—maybe after Sacrament meeting and before gospel doctrine class. We would be late for gospel doctrine class, but at least we wouldn’t be going to a restaurant after Church. We could tell ward leaders that we can’t take people home after Church in the years we are on the late schedule, but would be happy to do it when we are on the early schedule.
We could tell the Bishopric that we can only do meetings prior to Church instead of after Church. That would not have helped last Sunday, however, because I needed to be set apart as compassionate service leader that day because a ward member passed away that morning, and the funeral was to be the following Saturday. I felt I needed the priesthood blessing prior to preparing for the funeral.
Whatever we decide to do, I know Heavenly Father will help us to achieve our goal of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. When we give it our best effort, He will help us along the way. We are recommitting our efforts to do this.
How do we hallow the Sabbath day? In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12, 20.) With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, “What sign do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear (Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” Apr. 2015 General Conference).
I find great comfort in the above quote. It gives me an understanding of why it is important to keep trying. I do want to give God a sign that I’m willing to follow his commandments. I don’t want to just give up because it is hard. Experience has taught me that the best things in life are hard things—marriage, giving birth, raising children—you can’t get much harder than that, yet all of those things have given me such great joy. If I can do those hard things, I can also do this. I will conquer this! I will not give up! I will give Heavenly Father a sign that I am willing to keep His commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.