What is the weekend for?
If I had answered this question 2 weeks ago, I would have said work and managing unmet expectations.
But I’ve been focusing a lot this past week on Making Over My Mornings (more like making over my thinking). It has been proven true that having a before bed routine will set up my next day for success.
This morning I was thinking about my next week and writing out my goals, and it occurred to me that the weekend is sort of similar to an evening routine in that I can use it to set up my next week for success.
In the past, I had viewed the weekend as a chance to make up for all that my week had lacked.
Scrambling to finish housework, cramming in extra outings and activities that didn’t fit into our week, and stretching the hours in Saturday well past my bedtime in order to include some special relaxation.
Operating this way, I was so unhappy on Sundays. I had piled up weeks of unmet expectations for how I thought the weekend should have gone. Frustrated from mentally holding my breath all week just waiting for the weekend for the work, demands, and messes to pause so that I could actually sit and take a break – during the day. That’s what I thought Saturday should look like for me.
Over the first 5 years of marriage, my unmet expectations of the weekend revealed my attitude toward my husband. I didn’t realize that what I needed from the weekend, I was unconsciously expecting him to fulfill for me. How is that even fair? It was my choice to work non-stop Monday through Friday – dawn to dusk – pushing and punishing myself that the work of managing a home was never complete.
I dishonored myself by disregarding my natural limits, and I harbored bitterness toward my husband for taking time to rest when I wanted him to work for me so that I could rest.
Then God allowed a season of intense trials in my life to teach me self-control and break me of self-centered efforts.
I was a single parent for 7 months, and I had no idea how it was going to change me – being the only adult in the home, caring for children.
This most difficult season in my life bore the most rewarding fruit because it was ordained by God to teach me the deep and enduring lessons of self-control. I understood on a daily basis what it was to come to the end of my strength.
I had never before felt so inadequate.
Yet because of the limits, I was free to stop trying to perform. I could embrace that I was only human – full of flaws, shortcomings, and unmet expectations of myself. Once I accepted this the new birth happened almost instantly – I was filled with grace, forgiveness, and acceptance of who I was because of who I belonged to.
Recognizing my limits brought me face to face with my true identity.
I saw that it was perfectly OK for me to not be able to do it all. I also saw how much pride I allowed to run me ragged and nearly cost me my relationships for the way I constantly pushed myself and expected others to do the same. I had a lot of unmet expectations to repent of because they were simply selfish to begin with. I repented of my bitterness for regarding myself as more important than the needs of others.
Bitterness was such a sneaky foe. It began as pride – “I’m so important” and continued into “my husband should notice all the things I do” then turned into entitlement “I deserve a break from all that I do” which doubled back to pride “but he should recognize that I need a break before I take one or he’ll think I’m weak” and when he didn’t perform according to my secret-selfish-script that’s the moment bitterness’ roots grew deep.
And designing an evening routine reminded me of all this because I’m still battling my pride, entitlement, and bitterness by actively learning self-control through limiting myself.
Setting up a healthy routine for how I will spend the last 30 minutes of every day has taught me that I had been working aimlessly with a complaining spirit. A healthy routine revealed that I had an attitude of laziness – I was masking with non-stop movement, and it was leaving me feeling exhausted and unaccomplished.
30 minutes has had the power to change my whole outlook on the day behind and the day ahead.
I listened to the advice of a woman I consider a mentor, and she told me to take time to intentionally order my days so that I live from a place of peace, purpose, and order. Not only so I can simply get more done in a day, but so I may also live well within my limits.
So that I can bless my family not only by my efforts but also by my attitude.
So that I can repent of the sin in my life and live to share the rewards of faithfulness with others.
I almost didn’t accept the challenge to learn again. I mentioned that my pride wanted me to believe I was doing all right on my own in the post I wrote Wednesday. I realize this morning that sometimes intense seasons of trial makes me very vulnerable – the lesson learned goes very deep.
Taking this time to commit to relearning and remembering the season of intense self-control training has together made an impact on my heart and life.
I want to see the weekends as a time of both reflection on the work I committed myself to and as a time to give thanks for all that lies ahead. It requires faith to rest. It tests my self-control to know when to say stop. It realigns me to my husband in our partnership and support of one another.
And it reminds me again that I can’t rely on my husband or anyone else to limit me – I must be actively engaged in redeeming the time, in stewarding my talents, and in submitting to the Spirit.
Weekends can be for learning to say no, gracefully. Weekends can be for learning to say yes to owning my life.
Join me on the journey of learning to live with intention by checking out these 2 resources that have greatly impacted my life: Own Your Life: Living with deep intention, bold faith, and generous love by Sally Clarkson Make Over Your Mornings: A 14-day Online Course by Crystal Paine - The Money Saving Mom.