God has given us the gift of rest. Of course, the Sabbath is the day of rest He’s commanded us, modeled after His rest on the 7th day following creation. But also God speaks many times in the Bible about rest. Here are just a few verses.
Psalm 23 – one we all are familiar with, but have you read through it in the perspective of rest?
Psalm 46:10a – “Be still and know that I am God…” – Be still. Rest.
Matthew 11:28-29 – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
And I don’t know about you, but I crave rest. Sunday afternoons with a cozy cup of tea, a blanket or fire, and a good book – heaven! There are so many things that demand our attention, our time, our energy, that carving out time for rest becomes crucial. It can be hard to ignore all the things screaming for our attention, but when we do, it is such a blessing. God knows us so well, doesn’t he? Which is why He speaks of rest so often.
And from The Lifegiving Home study guide by Sally Clarkson: “We all have to take responsibility for replenishing our souls…Whatever sounds enjoyable and within reason, I do it because I’ve come to appreciate God’s principle of rest and refreshment. Without it, we quickly lose perspective; we do not endure well, and we have difficulty seeing God’s handiwork in our lives.”
Rest time is a top priority in our home. When the kids were infants I started laying down to rest while they napped. This was one of the greatest pieces of advice I was given as a new mom. Of course there was plenty to do around the house, but by leaving it and focusing on taking care of myself, I was better able to serve my family the rest of the day.
When the kids outgrew naps, we moved to rest time. Time for them to spend alone in their rooms playing quietly, looking at books, or resting. It took months (years?) of training for them to understand what rest time was all about, but looking back I’m so glad we invested that time.
As the kids have gotten older we still have rest time every day and they primarily play quietly in their rooms. When they are sick or not feeling well, we ask them to get a book to read or a stack of books to look at and crawl into bed for rest time. The kids have grown to love this time to themselves – always having a plan of what they want to do.
I have grown to love rest time too! My body requires a small time-out every day in order to continue functioning on into the evening. I regularly plan my schedule around a rest time, always leaving a little time (even just 20 minutes) to lay down. I rarely sleep but the act of laying down and closing my eyes makes such a difference. In fact, on the afternoons I volunteer at the kids’ school, I have a break where I head to the van, put the seat back, and rest. And a few times where I’ve been busy at retreats leading music and needed a rest, I’ve snuck away, laid the seats down in the back of the van, and actually crawled in to lay down for awhile. Whatever it takes! (This was my sweet husband’s idea; he laid the seats down and threw in a blanket and pillow for me!)
On the weekends, especially Sunday afternoons, we all head to separate places for rest time and so enjoy the time to recharge. As James and Anna have grown into school age now, they both have said that rest time is one of the things they miss most during the week. They now look forward to the weekends so they can have rest time! Amazing. I have memories of both of them as toddlers being quite upset about the baby gate that went on their door to keep them in their rooms for rest time. I’m so happy it didn’t end there and they’ve come to enjoy regular down time.
And it should be mentioned that rest may look differently for other people. Most days I need to physically lay down in bed in order to really rest. The kids like to play quietly. Kenny likes to nap on the couch. Others may curl up with a book, go for a walk, or watch a movie. Sometimes working on an enjoyable project is restful for some. There are no rules! Rest is something out of our ordinary work that refreshes our soul and body.
If you’d like to read more on this topic I highly recommend Monica’s book, Slow Lane.
How do you slow down and rest? What routines or rhythms of rest are in place in your home?