Rest doesn’t happen often enough.
With the level of our kids’ activities controlling much our time, it can be difficult to find a day to spend relaxing at home. There are soccer games, travel teams, gymnastic meets, piano recitals, music lessons, and play-dates structuring our weeks and stealing from us the opportunity to really, truly relax. And while all of these things have value, downtime matters too.
When God offered us direction through the commandments given to Moses, he included a day set aside from work to rest and rejoice in our God. And, if the Creator of all things tells us rest is important, we need to listen well. Even in life's busy seasons. Even when all of our activity feels so important. God knew what we would need as people, as families, as His dearly loved children on earth. He designed us with a need to rest.
But somehow we still fill our days with places to go and things to do and errands to run, and really, it is wearing us down. We recently found ourselves with a weekend free of games and activities. My husband and I discussed filling the time with some bit of family fun. Instead, we planned nothing at all. We chose to offer our family the space and time to be, to relax, to unwind. It was not an easy decision, but it was best for us.
As the weekend progressed, my sons spent entire afternoons playing together, building Legos and laughing out loud. My quietest child contentedly bounced a ball off the stairs outside for enormous spans of time. My daughter dressed, undressed, and redressed all of her dolls and sent them to work at hospitals to be doctors and nurses. All of my children spent time with books, ran in the yard, walked the dog, and even sat doing nothing at all. They explored the wonder of choosing to do what interested them and they loved having time to relax. We ate dinner late, sat at the table talking and did not rush or worry. It was a gift.
I spent the weekend in wonder. Having the time, sharing the time, is something that was new to us. In a culture that idolizes busyness it can feel indulgent to sit still. I found myself reminded of the importance of observing the Sabbath. Even in this busy world. Especially in this busy world. Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." How often do we listen to this instruction? How willing are we to be a family that steps back from the running and rests in God's presence?
If we can find a bit of time to set apart each week, we can enjoy the gifts God intended. We can worship with our church families, relax with those we love, and spend time resting in God's presence. As we spend time connected to God and one another we find that time can be a gift that strengthens us for the challenges in the week ahead.
There will always be a lot to do. There will always be people and plans calling us up and out. But finding the time to pull in close, to trust God’s word and to follow His lead can offer us what we truly need: rest and renewal. These valuable gifts are often lost in the hurrying to the next, important thing, but God calls us to better. We are called to be still and acknowledge our God.