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5 Things I’ve Learned About Rest

Sunday is my day of rest. Or is it? Lately, I’ve been wondering if I remember or even KNOW how to rest. Clearly, Jesus wants to offer me something different from what I find everywhere else. I’ve tried to find rest in “good things,” but sometimes good things just add to my weariness. So, am I just waiting for Jesus to return or is there hope for rest before that?

Here are 5 things I’ve learned so far about making time for a TRUE day of rest:

1. Be intentional. It won’t just happen. And if I am going to take a day of rest, I need plan ahead so my “must-do’s” get done before my day of rest. It’s a balance because I’ll probably never finish everything on my list. But choosing what has to get done helps me give myself permission to set the list aside for one day. Jesus modeled this often. There where still sick people to be healed and many who needed to hear His message, but He still took time away to rest and called His disciples to do the same (Mark 6:31).

2. Be on the same page. Talk to your family ahead of time so you are all on the same page about what “rest” means. It means something different for each of us. Talking with my family ahead of time gave us a chance to talk about why rest is important, what feels like rest to each of us, and what to expect on our “day of rest.” During our conversation, I realized I needed to compromise my ideas of rest with my kids so we could plan a day that included rest for each of us. (Side note: sometimes rest means not planning but it helped us get started.)

3. Disconnect from everyday life. For me, this means putting my phone away and turning off my computer. If I’m checking email and voicemail and texts, I can’t rest. It’s just going to add to my “list” of things to think about and address. Those tasks will still be there at the end of the day. Resting means I agree to take a break from all the normal distractions.

4. Time to just “be” with God. It’s the richest part of my day of rest. At first I thought, “What does that mean?” It’s making time to be mindful of His presence. (He is always there, but often I am not thinking about it.) I am welcoming Him and listening, which means I can’t do all the talking. At first, it felt awkward being quiet, but now I long for it. I didn’t think that would be possible.

5. Be patient with myself. At first, a whole day of rest seemed overwhelming. It was too much of a change. So we started with half a day. Now I am enjoying rest so much that a day a week isn’t enough, and I’m finding ways to mix rest into each day. Over time, you will start to figure out what things are most restful, and some things that aren’t. Listen and make adjustments. Electronics are not restful for me, but they are restful for a couple of my kids. We have created time within our day of rest for electronics and time without them. Honoring each other this way has added to our rest.

There is rest. Rest isn’t something to endure – it’s the thing we’re all craving and don’t even realize it. As you think about taking a day of rest each week, what would feel restful to you?