As a dad of two kids (one almost-4-year-old toddler and an infant that just turned 1) the one thing I’ve been lacking a lot of lately is rest. I was warned about this season, but I don’t think I properly prepared for it.
Our second child, Greylynn, has honestly been a dream in a lot of ways — but there’s just something that’s unavoidably exhausting about having two human beings you’re totally responsible for keeping happy and healthy.
I knew that having two kids meant rest would be a precious commodity, despite having a cozy home, warm bed and thermo-controlled silk pillowcase, but what I didn’t see coming was just how hard of a hit my marriage would take because of this. Because Courtney and I weren’t intentionally setting aside time to rest and recharge, our relationship suffered.
We went into survival mode, and instead of committed helpmates, we became more like co-workers who traded shifts.
The stress mounted and a few months ago it finally reached a pinnacle where we knew something had to change. This moment just so happened to coincide with Christmas break. Then, something interesting happened.
As we slowed down, recalibrated, and got some rest — a shift began to take place. We started helping each other with the kids instead of shoving our responsibilities at one another. We connected, laughed, and quit rushing from one thing to the next.
During that break, I realized something started to heal inside of our family. We had slowed down just long enough for me to realize how rare it was that we slowed down. As I thought about it, it hit me that we hadn’t slowed down since the previous vacation earlier that year.
For months, we had not been remembering to rest.
Thankfully, this sudden shift put us back into a rhythm that was actually sustainable and we began this year in a completely different place.
I had always thought that resting was a matter strictly between me and God, and since God knew my heart, I could get by without it when I was too busy for it. The problem is, you can’t.
We are are finite beings that require rest. Without rest, we’ll not only self-destruct but we’ll cause collateral damage to those around us.
God, in His all-knowing ways, set it up this way. He’s a jealous God and commands that we put nothing above Him (Exodus 34:14). It’s for our good that rest isn’t optional. It’s not a “nice-to-have;” it’s a must-have.
I know you probably don’t have a lot of free time, but I’m convinced that a lack of time isn’t our society’s problem. It’s not that we don’t have enough time, it’s that we’re intentional enough with the time we do have.
While restful moments are still few and far between for me during this season, I’m realIzing that I often don’t truly rest in the margin I do have. Instead, I’m using it to scan social media and compare my difficult reality against the highlights of many people I don’t even know.
What’s ironic about the fact that we often don’t remember to rest is that we’re actually commanded to. To my surprise, I had forgotten that the 4th commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
The idea of a Sabbath may sound foreign to you, but at the most basic level it’s about setting aside a day to truly rest. To intentionally feed your soul and connect to your Creator.
It’s a discipline that I’m afraid our culture is making it easier and easier to forget. For some reason, (probably because our enemy wants to keep us busy with insignificant pursuits) it’s extremely difficult to stop, rest, and remember our dependence on God.
Corrie ten Boom is quoted as saying, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”
This is a warning we should take seriously because constantly being in a busy, hurried state makes being present and intentional nearly impossible.
When we live life out of rhythm our relationships will ultimately suffer — with our Father in heaven, with our spouse, with our children, and with our friends.
The bottom line is we cannot be who God made us to be without making time to reconnect with the One who created us. You may feel like you can’t afford to rest, but I would argue that you can’t afford not to.