Rest is good. Rest is promised. God rested (Gen 2:1-3). God commands us to “consider the Sabbath and keep it holy.” One way we can do this is by resting on the Sabbath. We might have to reconsider, or redefine, what “rest” actually is. Growing up, and even today, the epitome of rest on the Sabbath for me is the Sunday afternoon nap. LOVE IT! Seriously, I could hit the bed after lunch and not get up until time to get ready for Church that night. No one ever explained to me that children outgrow naps, and there actually comes a time where you encourage them to NOT take a nap. Our son is one of those kids. I would MUCH rather he skip a nap and go to sleep at decent hour. Kindergarten is the best thing that ever happened for sleep at our house, lol!
Still, rest is not always sleep. We definitely need sleep, and the blog post here discusses this better than I ever could. So check that out. For my post I am going to talk about rest. Exodus 33:14 says that having His presence with us gives us rest. Isaiah 63:14 and Jer 31:2 both declare He will give us rest. My favorite is Matthew 11:28! How reassuring! Obviously, these verses are discussing spiritual rest, and my whole point in starting to post about this was to consider how to practically get the physical rest we need. Well, what if they go hand in hand?
Consider this, say you cannot get the Sunday afternoon nap, but you can occupy your children for a small bit after lunch. Resist the urge to spend the whole time doing laundry, and take a small amount of time, even if only 10 or 15 minutes to have a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever) and sit, quietly, with His word. Read, study, pray, meditate, let His word sink in… and see if you don’t come away feeling refreshed.
We are in a season in our lives where we have a one year old, who still naps, and a five year old who does not. I do not feel comfortable leaving him awake on his own while both my husband and I indulge in a Sunday afternoon nap. Occasionally my husband and I will take turns with short (1/2 hour) naps, or sometimes he doesn’t want a nap, and he will let me doze longer. Mostly, we cherish anytime we have at home together to really be together. What you do will depend on your season in life, but the following are some practical tips for finding rest on the Sabbath that work for us in our current season.
• Prepare the day before as much as possible. Whatever it takes to making getting out the door for Church peaceful. I don’t know about you, but Satan attacks us on Sunday morning before Church more than ANY OTHER TIME. I strive to have the shopping done and to not have any household chores left that cannot wait until Monday. This is not always possible, but it what we shoot for. I also try to have a plan for a simple breakfast and lunch, utilizing the crockpot, toaster, freezer meals, and cold cereal! We try to have the offering ready and in place in the wallet or purse the night before also, as well as clothes for Church ironed and ready to go. Seriously, whatever you can do to make getting to Church easier will go a LONG way toward making this a day of rest.
• For this season in our lives, we are foregoing eating out after Church, or having company after Church. This is an aspect of Sunday’s that I miss dearly, but our baby girl is VERY ready for a nap by noon, and the time usually isn’t enjoyable anyway and she is NOT a happy camper when she is sleepy. Inviting others over after Church is an important ministry, and I cannot wait until we can do it again, but sometimes we have to cut things out to maintain peaceful, restful atmosphere for our family depending on the season of life.
• For this season in life, we have also, after much prayer, decided not to go to Church on Sunday night. I can hear the uproar now. However, our Church has Sunday night services beginning at 7 pm. My baby is MORE than ready for bed at 7:30. The chaos that ensues trying to get my young children to sit through services at this time of night, and the repercussions the next morning are not conducive to spiritual growth, and my husband and I have prayerfully made this decision with the Father… not in spite of Him. This is NOT forever. We may move and end up at a Church with an early evening service, or when my children our older, our Church’s schedule will not be such and issue, but for now, this is how it is. I am not advocating not going to Church, I am just saying PRAY about what you need to do to best bring glory to the Father.
• We have Sunday afternoon quiet time. My son may not nap, but he can understand quiet time. He can sit quietly with a video (and when he is older, an age appropriate Bible Study) and understand he is not to bother mommy or daddy until it is over. We do this while our baby is napping, and my husband and I use this time to reconnect after the week. This is often the ONLY time we get to watch a show together, do a couple’s devotional, or whatever.
• After quiet time comes family time. This usually involves some sort of “wrestling” or “tea party/ dance party” in the living room floor. As the kids get older it might involve a board game, Bible drills, Bible trivia, etc. The point is, UNPLUGGED time together.
These are merely things my family practice/ try to practice in order to practice the “day of rest” as we believe it was intended. I would love to hear some tips from you guys on this topic. Also, remember, rest and rejuvenation for our souls comes from Him alone, and we should be spending time with Him EVERYDAY… not just Sunday