I’m extra fun with caffeine.

Sundays with family are my happiest days. 

My perfect morning consists of an early morning sunrise, coffee, and quiet time with Jesus. 

I could binge on chocolate, cookies, and “The Office” all night long. 

Grease and Mamma Mia are my jam.

My ideal night is sitting around the fire pit and pool with my girlfriends.

My favorite trip has been to the Big Island, Hawaii, but my dream trip is Copenhagen, Denmark.

I want to say I love living out in the country, but I really enjoy picking up a latte at the Starbucks on every corner.

Get to know Bethie

How to Prepare for Your Sabbath | No. 3

It’s here!! The BG Sabbath Challenge *officially* kicks off with your first Sabbath THIS SUNDAY – June 9th!! So, let’s dive into all the practical details and answer the question — How to prepare for your Sabbath?

The answer: Just Stop. 

If you don’t read another word of this blog, walk away knowing that all you need to do to take a Sabbath is to simply just stop working and let yourself rest for a complete 24-hours. Simply put, that is all a Sabbath is. 

This is the 3rd blog in our 6-part Sabbath Series! In case you missed them, you can check out the first two blogs here: 

  1. Our Experience Taking a Sabbath over the Past 3 Years
  2. The Sabbath Study Week

And if you are just jumping into this whole world of taking a Sabbath for the first time, I would love for you to join The BG Community in The BG Sabbath Challenge

The Sabbath is not something you learn – it’s something you experience. It’s more like a mama bird pushing her baby bird out of the nest – you’ll find your wings on the way down!

Join The BG Sabbath Challenge

Implementing the Sabbath every week can feel foreign and hard to take the plunge, but it’s not so bad when you have a friend & a community holding your hand and walking you through it – baby steps. 

I would love for you to join us as I walk you through it week by week, slowly dripping out my best practices for making the rhythm of the Sabbath beyond life-giving. Think: Sprinkler, not a firehose of information. Because your life is already full enough, you don’t need TONS of extra work or hard-to-implement action items — we need this to be simple & restful. We’re talking subtraction, not addition. 

You can learn more HERE and sign up for the BG Sabbath Challenge below! We kick off with our first Sabbath *this* Sunday, June 9th! 

Okay, so before we jump into the practical steps of how to prepare for your Sabbath, we need to first address the idea of just stopping & all the challenges that come with it.

Cease Work | How to Prepare for Your Sabbath

I remember our first few Sabbaths. We wanted everything to be perfect: Laundry done, entire house clean, bathrooms scrubbed, kitchen sparkling, the entire to-do list crossed off, next week planned, meals prepped, and end it all with a beautiful family dinner to kick off the Sabbath and a peaceful, relaxing night.  

And while there is nothing wrong with that, it just is A LOT of work, very tiring, and it’s not always the most realistic. 

But we did it for about the first month before we realized that we might not be able to keep up at this pace. 

How Our First Few Sabbath Prep Days Looked:

I would wake up Saturday morning and dream about what a *perfect* day of rest could look like. What would need to be done in order for me to fully rest? I would write out a long list and get to work checking it off!

I would be so busy all day and by the time sunset started coming, I was running around like a mad woman trying to get it all done. Upstairs, downstairs, take out the trash, grab the vacuum, dinner was coming off the grill – the house was anything but peaceful… It felt more like cardio.

And then as soon as the very last bit of sun tucked behind the trees in our backyard and the sky turned black— TIME! We would force ourselves to try our best to stop, put everything down, and enjoy the Sabbath with what we got done. 

The first few weeks, we got it all done. Then as each week went by it slowed down before we finally realized we couldn’t keep up with this pace. It felt like we were revving up so much, running full speed only to slam into an instant stop. It was anything but restful; it was brutal.

And after a few Sabbaths, we quickly learned that you don’t have to have everything on your list done to rest. It is the exact opposite.

It’s in your weakness, that God’s strength is shown. 

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, NIV).

Part of the practice of the Sabbath is a trust exercise. Saying “God I trusted you with my unfinished to-dos.”

As Karl Rahner said, “In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we learn that ultimately in this world there is no finished symphony.” 

Jordan Raynor in response said, “We will all die with unfinished symphonies. Our to-do list will never be completed. There will always be a gap between what we can imagine accomplishing in this life and what we can actually get done.” 

So every week as the sun begins to set and the Sabbath slowly begins, you get to pause and trust God with your unfinished symphony, your unfinished to-do list. 

Jordan Raynor continues, “God alone will finish that work and ultimately bring heaven to earth, we can embrace this freeing truth today: God doesn’t need you or me to finish our to-do lists. If the things on our to-do list are on  God’s to-do list, he will complete it with or without us.”

So. Good. God is not reliant on us — it’s the other way around. 

As Christians we get to start working from a place of peace & rest, not working for the reward of peace & rest. 

Jesus said on the cross “It is finished.” Meaning, ultimately there is nothing more we can do to earn our salvation. And in turn, our work becomes a form of worship – a response to such bountiful, undeserving grace. 

Again Jordan Raynor says in his book: Redeeming Your Time, “The Gospel frees us from the need to be productive. The good news of the Gospel is that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) and invited us to work for and live in his kingdom forever. And because we did nothing to earn his grace, there is nothing we can do to lose it. No matter how productive you are in this life, your status as an adopted child of God will never ever change. In the words of the great preacher Martyn Llyod-Jones, ‘A Christian is something before he does anything.’”

He goes on to say, “God loves us no matter how productive or unproductive we are in this life. And ironically, it’s that truth that leads us to be wildly productive. Why? Because working to earn someone’s favor is exhausting, but working in response to unconditional favor is intoxicating. For Christians, the key to being wildly productive is realizing that we don’t need to be productive.”

And on the Sabbath, we get to end one week and start another with that sweet reminder. With every unfinished to-do list, we are reminding ourselves of that truth. 

We trust that God will take care of everything and provide for all our needs. Because of Jesus we already have been given peace, and so we get to work from a place of rest not hustle. 

The Sabbath is a full day to see that we are not in control. To pause and acknowledge that truth and to see that even when we stop working, God keeps the world running. And every sunrise and sunset is a visual reminder of that.

That is where we start with the Sabbath, now let’s talk about how to prepare for your first Sabbath — 

Striving to Stop | How to Prepare for Your Sabbath

Okay, I promise you this is the last bit of Sabbath School studying we have to do before actually hitting the practical steps — 

While our salvation isn’t found in how much we get done. And we can rest on the Sabbath without everything being checked off… The Bible does encourage us to prepare well for the Sabbath. 

Again, if you look at when God brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, He was teaching them how to become His people – set apart as holy. And with that, God reinforced the commandment to ‘Keep holy the Sabbath Day.’ 

God Taught the Israelites *How* to Prepare for their Sabbath:

That was also the same time He provided for them with the manna that miraculously fell from heaven in the night. Each morning the Israelites would go out and were instructed to collect only what their family needed for the day. If they gathered extra manna, it would rot by the next morning. 

But on the sixth day, the Israelites were instructed to gather twice as much manna – enough to provide for that day and the Sabbath day, so that they could keep “a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord.” (Exodus 16:23) 

The extra manna was to be prepared on the sixth day — that way all the cooking and boiling, etc. (whatever it takes to prepare a yummy plate of manna) could be done before the Sabbath started. And whatever was kept on the sixth day would not rot like it did on all the other mornings. (Exodus 16:23-24). 

We see God teaching the Israelites to take the sixth day to make any preparations that need to be done for the Sabbath. 

This is for all the moms — take your Sabbath prep day to prepare for the Sabbath’s meals. Cooking is considered work in the Lord’s eyes and He wants you to have a day to rest from it. 

However, to feed your family and take the day to rest on the Sabbath, you do have to strive to stop on the Sabbath. Enter: The Sabbath Prep Day —

The Sabbath Prep Day:

What it is, How To Do it, & How to Prepare for Your Sabbath 

It’s funny, I did some learning about the Sabbath before we started taking it but no one directly taught about the Sabbath Prep Day. But I naturally labeled all my to-do list: Sabbath Prep Day. 

I remember going through the Easter Story for the first time after taking a few Sabbaths & hearing about how they hustled to bury Jesus before the sunset “Because it was the day of Preparation” (John 19:42) … I understood it with all new meaning. 

In order to Sabbath, the day before it naturally becomes your Sabbath Prep Day. 

Even in listening to other podcasts, they all referred to the day before the Sabbath as their Sabbath Prep Day or the Day of Preparation – made me smile!

Here is what is typically on a Sabbath Prep List: 

… the key is to keep this down to the bare basics. Don’t bombard your list. Make it doable so that you can get it done within a few hours and then close up shop. 

I tend to think of my Sabbath Prep list as the final list for the week… drawing a line in the sand. What do I need to do to bring this week to a close? And what do I need to have in place to start next week? 

And also, look at all your to-dos and ask yourself: Is there anything that can wait until Monday or Tuesday next week? Is it absolutely necessary to have it done now?

If yes, then reassign those to-dos for those days. Check it off your Sabbath Prep List… your mind can rest just knowing it is planned to be taken care of on another day— even if the task isn’t completed!

Easing Into the Sabbath vs. A Crashing Halt

As I shared at the beginning of this blog, our first few Sabbaths went from full-blown sprint to a crashing halt in 0.2 seconds… and that is just too hard on a person. We were not designed to run that fast and then come to an immediate stop. We rev up and we slow down. 

If you don’t, your mind will keep racing and you take that first night (even the Sabbath morning) to slow down your mind, body, and soul. 

It feels almost as if you are robbing yourself of precious Sabbath hours. 

Instead, I would encourage you to start preparing for your Sabbath earlier. 

Walter Breggermann has this great line: “People who keep the Sabbath live all seven days differently.”

And that’s exactly what I’m talking about here! 

Monday & Tuesday:

are spent basking in the after-glow of the Sabbath, slowing ramping up, becoming more and more productive 


I personally, hit my peak productivity. Subconsciously, your mind will start preparing for the Sabbath that is to come. 


You start thinking about what needs to be done to close up the week. What meals do you need for the Sabbath and for next week? Can you do your weekly grocery shopping on this day? This is also the day, I realistically look at my agenda and say these things are NOT going to get done this week – and that’s okay. 


Last work day, start closing everything up, and what can you do today to make your load lighter tomorrow? Tidy the house? A load of laundry? Close your inbox? Plan for next week? Prep a meal?


Your Sabbath Prep Day — simply just closing your week & prepping for anything that needs to be done for the Sabbath & then prepping for Monday. Then run through your Sabbath Prep List: make your Sabbath meal, one final sweep through to tidy everything, wash the dishes, put the last load of laundry away, and set your Sabbath table. Finally, light the candles, and start resting. 

I love how John Mark Comer said, “You have to watch out for the Sabbath. It’ll mess with you. First, it will mess with one day of your week; then it will mess with your whole life.”

Start Your Sabbath Prep early in the week and ease into the Sabbath. Let your mind rest the first night and wake up already well-rested on Sunday morning as you start the Sabbath. 

Believe me, it is so much nicer than crashing in full speed to the Sabbath, just minutes before sunset. 

Stopping Means Stopping 

Okay, last thing… 

As soon as the sun has set, the Sabbath has started. That is your hard deadline. Pencil’s down. Hang up your apron. If dishes aren’t done, that’s okay. Close your laundry room door and forget about whatever is in there. 

Just stop. 

(if you need more of a pep talk on the trust exercise of not finishing your to-dos: re-read the top section of this blog— Cease Work)

Bonus points: if you end your Sabbath Prep list early, enjoy a family dinner, ask everyone what their favorite part of the week was, worship, or have a family Bible lesson, the night before your Sabbath. Treat your family to dessert that night or watch a family movie. 

The Sabbath has officially started — it’s time to rest, worship Jesus, and enjoy being together as a family. 

Action Steps | How to Prepare for Your Sabbath

Here’s your action steps for this week: 

  • Decide how your family is going to start your Sabbaths the evening before– what meal? A dessert? Worship or teaching in some way? Or just simply watching a movie? 
  • Create Your Sabbath Prep List
    • Then go through it and see what can be moved and taken care of next week
  • Run Through Your Sabbath Prep List
  • Enjoy Your First Sabbath THIS Sunday!
    • And then check back in with me and The BG Community to let me know how it went on Monday. I can’t wait to hear about it!

Join The BG Sabbath Challenge

If you haven’t already and you want to have the accountability of me walking you through the Sabbath over the next 4 weeks, it’s not too late to join The BG Sabbath Challenge! You can learn more HERE or just sign up below: 

I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem… 

Let Evening Come

“Let the light of late afternoon

shine through chinks in the barn, moving   

up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing   

as a woman takes up her needles   

and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned   

in long grass. Let the stars appear

and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.   

Let the wind die down. Let the shed   

go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop   

in the oats, to air in the lung   

let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t   

be afraid. God does not leave us   

comfortless, so let evening come.”

-Jane Kenyon

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I'm an open book in my blogs. I share everything that has taken me from living in sickness, anxiety, and depression to having life abundantly. I don't share for pity or as a way to vent, but rather to encourage other women to live a peaceful and simplified life. I'll only address things when I can look back and with clear thinking decide what has helped me throughout this journey. 

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