The Sabbath: Creating White Space

Photo 5721167 / Article © Janaka Dharmasena |

Ever start an article or blog post and all you saw was miles of ink? (Yes, Texas Monthly, I’m talking to you.) Did you wince? Tense up? Bypass it?

We need white space. 

Breathing room.


Do you have any? Do your kids? Are you scheduled to the edges of your calendar?


God commands us to take one day for worship, family, and rest. Exodus 20:8-10 NIV states, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God.” 

Think of Sabbath as the first fruits of the week. A “seek ye first, and then.”

Because relational faith is birthed through—relationship.

Take it from an empty-nester, one day your children will fly from home and the things you long to see won’t include a solid corner kick or a perfected pirouette. You will watch and pray for:

  • A lifelong pursuit of God.
  • A commitment to serve others.
  • A willingness to share with those in need.
  • An active prayer life.
  • A heart tuned to the Holy Spirit.
  • Consistent time in God’s word.
  • Godly friendships.
  • God’s favor as they interview for jobs.
  • Committed marriages.
  • A legacy of faith.

That ain’t gonna happen at soccer practice. 

But it can be sowed around the dinner table. It can sprout during family time. It can bloom during discussions on the weekly message, the last lesson from youth group, or the family devotional.

Don’t get me wrong. I love soccer, and many wonderful life lessons are learned through athletics. But I’ve also witnessed faith sacrificed on the altar of a sports scholarship. 

For those with children in sports, dance, and everything else, I get it. We were a sports family too. Sunday got been hijacked long ago. Often, activities consumed the entire weekend. 

So, what to do? 

You’re going to have to fight for it.


  1. Priorities: What are your family’s long-term goals? Do you have some? If not, now’s the time to talk about them. Do your activities support those goals? If not, eliminate them. 
  2. Re-organization: Shuffle work, school or otherwise, and the to-do list to the other six days.
  3. Meals: When can you eat together? What needs to shift to make that work, not just on your Sabbath, but through the week too? Can funds be set aside to eat that Sabbath meal out? If not, will something in the crock pot help? Breakfast is always a good option. 
  4. Church: Does your church offer a Saturday service? Is a later service better so the family can catch up on some sleep? Do you need to attend church early because of later commitments? Where do youth group, small group, Bible study, or Sunday school come in? Do your kids have a faith community that supports them? Do you?
  5. Family Time: Can you combine devotionals with a meal? How about a question for discussion over dinner? Game nights or movie nights, could they move to afternoon? 


Not only does Sabbath cultivate godly habits, it gives us rest. Think of it as our weekly recharge. There’s a reason we plug in our phones each night. Techy things update and reboot during the night’s rest. Our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits need the same. No one thrives when the Go button gets stuck. 

Model the behavior you hope to see later. Fight for this time—and expect a fight. The enemy prefers to keep you busy. 

That should tell us something. 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33


  1. Get the calendar and do the work. Plan the week as a family. Discuss priorities, needs, and goals. What needs to shift?
  2. Incorporate fun into your Sabbath. Get input from the kids. 
  3. Be intentional. Carve out some time for yourself. Recharge. 
  4. Get creative with the weekly to-do list. My son used to grocery shop with his roommates. Each had a list and a headset. The goal was to be out of the store in the shortest amount of time possible. They got it down to a science and had a record of five minutes. 


  1. Stacey Lemanski on October 4, 2022 at 1:52 am

    This is beautiful!

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