Every Sunday night since I married, I've faced the same thing:
The Sunday Night Sanctification Exam
All I ever want to do is crash, alone, with a good book or music. I'm tired, and the week looms big ahead. It's the perfect set-up for some seriously snappy and selfish behavior. Or maybe a pity party. Sometimes both. (After all, I'm also the one who has to be up an hour early to make sure everything is ready to leave in the morning. How is this fair?)
I know the Devil would like nothing more than for my flesh to undo all the work the Holy Spirit has done during the day in my heart by erupting in a self-righteous hissy fit. It's crucial at this time that I extend the same sweetness, grace, and service to my natural family as I have my spiritual family all day.
So now I study and prepare for my Sunday night exam...
- I prep school on either Friday afternoon or early Monday morning, not Sunday evening.
- I make sure I've shopped for easy-to-make, well liked snack/supper food.
- I direct you kids to put away your own Sunday clothes, Bibles, and papers. Often I change to comfy-casual clothes for Sunday evening church so I don't have to change when I get home.
- I have one of you help in the kitchen. I make a conscious effort to sing and joke around so it's a fun time for my helper, too.
- Above all, I pray. A lot. The entire hour or so after church actually, I'm in constant communication with my Savior.
- Finally, after supper snacks are cleaned up (by the whole family!) and the kitchen is closed, I cheerfully and gracefully say "good night" and retreat to the sweet silence of my room to read, listen to a CD, or catch up on internet reading.
I can't begin to tell you what a blessing it is to lay in bed that night, reviewing my day with the Lord, to be able to say, "Thank you for helping me through the most difficult hours of my week with a sweet spirit" instead of "Oh, Lord, I've messed up AGAIN!"
I hope you'll have good memories of our Sunday night routine, but somewhere deep in your neurons is the memory of many where I've failed. Please know, dear heart, that when I succeeded it was all Christ. I have no strength left to be "nice" or "fun" on Sunday evenings. You may not face this exact exam, but I guarantee you'll have one of your own.
Grateful that He's still working on me,