When I talk with women about the possibility of practicing Sabbath, they often tell me they already feel like they are always behind, that they cannot catch up to their endless to-do list. If they took a day off, they fear, they’d simply fall further behind.

They’re afraid they would feel each week what most of us feel like today, because of the three-day holiday weekend: panicky when we realize that although today feels like Monday, it’s actually Tuesday.

But here’s the thing: when you spend Sunday actually resting, it gives you more energy for the week ahead. I find I get more done on Mondays (or on this week, Tuesday) than any other day. I enjoy my work, so I love that the Sabbath rhythm is not one only of taking time to rest, but also, working hard for six days a week. There is a joy in productivity. And a regular habit of Sabbath actually trains me to stay focused during the week, to get things done so that I’ll be able to enjoy a day of rest.

So the question I have for you is, was your holiday weekend actually restful? Was it a short vacation, or was it simply frenzy as usual? Was your holiday a “holy day”?

We spent the holiday weekend with Scot’s family at his parent’s lake home.  Even though two of his siblings were not there, there were still ten people, ages 5 to 80, together 24-7 for three days. It’s not exactly relaxing, especially for an introvert like me. I love Scot’s family but it just requires a lot of emotional energy for me to be with a lot of people constantly, no matter how much you love them.

Memorial Day weekend up at the lake is always a “spring work weekend” spent heaving boat lifts into the water, unpacking all the toys and equipment stored in the boat house, making repairs after the winter. My kids spent part of Saturday digging a trench in the yard so their grandfather could run a new electrical line from the garage to the boathouse.

We also had time to relax. My sister-in-law and I collaborated on some yummy meals (grilled veggies, chicken and fish one night, grilled hamburgers the next–are you picking up on a theme here?). The weather was hot so the kids swam in the lake with their cousins. My son remembered how to do a flip on the trampoline. My daughter crewed for her cousin on his X-boat. We came home tired, a little sunburned in spots, a little sore from the heavy lifting. I., for one, am craving solitude.

For many of you, this is the last week of school for the kids, or close to it. My son will graduate from 8th grade next Monday. My daughter has final exams next week. It’s a busy time of year. And this week, shortened by the holiday, will fly.

So maybe your holiday weekend, like mine, didn’t feel very Sabbath-y. Decide right now to stop, to take a deep breath, to slow down your whirring mind, even as you face the Goliath of your t0-do list. Ask God for help in doing the weekends of the coming summer differently.

The beauty of Sabbath is that every week, you get another chance to try it. To tweak it. And you can adjust your week. Make it a goal to say “no” to three things this week. Plan next Sunday to actually spend some time doing very little. Decide right now to slow down the pace of your summer weekends so that you can breathe and rest–and so that your weekday will be joyfully productive.