I dreaded Sundays. I wanted to enjoy them, but I didn’t until I learned to focus on my relationship with God.
In his talk “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” President Russell M. Nelson uses the word delight sixteen times. To me, delight meant eating ice cream or watching a romantic comedy; it did not in any way describe my Sundays.
Week after week I struggled emotionally on Sundays. I would go to church and manage to stay the tears for the three painful hours. Then I would go back to my lonely apartment and fall apart. Reasons for my emotions varied. Sometimes it was loneliness. Other times it was homesickness or anxiety. I was caught in a terrible pattern, and I grew to hate Sundays.
So when the Church started to reemphasize the importance of the Sabbath, using President Nelson’s talk as a banner, I was honestly frustrated. It wasn’t my fault that Sunday was a terrible day, or so I told myself. All the good things President Nelson proposed I do to have a delightful day—well, they weren’t possible to do when I was already upset.
But the true reason I was frustrated wasn’t really that President Nelson and the other General Authorities didn’t seem to understand my situation. It was because I wanted the Sabbaths they spoke of and not my dreary day of self-deprecation. I wanted a delightful day. I wanted to look forward to it all week long. I wanted to reclaim my Sundays.
I tried, and I failed. I made plans during the week about how my Sunday was going to be better, but when the day rolled around, I was again in my low place. So I told myself that all I could do was survive the “Sunday blues,” as I called them, and hope for a new and brighter week. If I could be indifferent to Sundays, then that would be an improvement. Thinking of Sundays as delightful was a long way off, if at all possible.
But President Nelson had told me that the Sabbath could be a delight, and I wanted to believe him. So I listened to and pondered the talks that he and other Church leaders shared on the subject. It took a while—many more bad Sundays—but eventually a quote from President Nelson’s talk stood out to me:
“Faith in God engenders a love for the Sabbath; faith in the Sabbath engenders a love for God. A sacred Sabbath truly is a delight.”
On Sundays, I had been spending the days focused only on myself—my actions, my emotions, my circumstances. I thought focusing internally would help me magically get over my Sunday blues. But President Nelson’s quote made me realize that if I was going to make my Sunday a delightful Sabbath, then I had to devote the day to my relationship with God. I needed to make it a day of prayer, a day of reverence, and a day of renewed covenants. Instead of stressing and complaining, I needed to hand over my life to God and renew my faith in him.
And it’s working, little by little. My Sabbath is becoming a delight.
Read “The Sabbath Is a Delight” by President Russell M. Nelson for more about how to enjoy your Sabbath.
—Alyssa Nielsen, Mormon Insights
feature image by sora sagano
Find more insights
Take a look at the lds.org topic “Sabbath Day” to learn why the day is important.
Watch “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” a video showing the need for weekly renewal.
Read “To Hallow the Sabbath Day” from the February 2017 Ensign for ideas on how to make the Sabbath meaningful to you.
I used to feel the same way about Sundays, although probably not for all the same reasons. Joining a YSA ward helped me a lot. Suddenly every new person I met was instantly a friend that I looked forward to seeing at church, and the welcoming atmosphere made me feel more receptive to the spiritual messages that I hadn’t been truly hearing before.
I loved this talk when it came out, and I love this highlight of it. I really felt like it was a message I needed to hear, and I still need it now.
I like how this article gives the impression that this is a work in progress. That’s how a lot of gospel habits are: a work in progress. I didn’t magically come to love my scriptures over night. It took months and years of being obedient everyday for me to appreciate the value of the scriptures. I think you’re discovering the same thing with the Sabbath. It may be a process to come to love it, but once you do, it’ll be even more precious because of the journey it took to get there.
I love how you wrote about this topic, even if you’re not perfect in it yet. I have always had a hard time with Sundays. I’ve struggled with depression in the past, and I’m doing alright now–except for on Sundays. I go to church, but I often feel worse rather than better. I come home from church, and dread the rest of the day. But I’ve also tried to focus more on my relationship with God. Like you, I’m slowly getting better.