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I’ve shared occasionally on podcasts and social media about rest and my determination to make that a priority in my life. But, I haven’t really shared one-on-one with my community about how I make rest a priority and why. Since the new year is still young and fresh starts are still on the minds of many, I feel like now is the perfect time to talk about rest and why you should consider making more time for rest in your life as well.
Rest in my life
For the past few years, I have been keeping a “Sabbath” day. I use that word loosely, because to me it means so much more than a day of rest, but a day to keep holy and spend with family and that is not always the case for me… but I’m working my way there! I decided to dedicate one day a week to rest from work and scheduled plans after several years of studying scripture, as well as reading books on the topic, like John Mark Comer’s Garden City.
Many people think of Sunday as the Sabbath. I have been working nearly every Sunday as a worship leader for the past five years, so Sunday has never exactly been a Sabbath day for me personally. A day filled with worship, yes, but rest? Not so much when I’m up at 5:30 AM and not done until sometimes 13 hours later! (Phew!) So, my day of rest has fallen on Tuesdays, Fridays, and for the past couple years it has been Mondays. I pick one consistent day of the week, not a different day each week, because I believe keeping consistency is important.
So what do my Mondays look like? Well, I rest from work – which includes product design, custom orders, email, Etsy convos, and all social media. I don’t have a personal Instagram account, but truthfully, even if I did, it would be just too tempting to check up on my work stuff, so I hide my Facebook and Instagram apps on a separate “page” on my home screen. I also rest from scheduled plans. As an introvert, it’s necessary for me to have a day with no obligations. If I feel like making last minute plans that day, I do, but I keep it open beforehand. So what do I do? I sleep in, I spend an hour or two journaling and working on my Bible study lesson for the week, I read, I nap, I indulge in something creative, usually unrelated to work (AKA hand lettering) like knitting or drawing… those are the typical activities, but sometimes I’ll go visit my parents, watch a movie, or hang out with friends in the evening.
The downside to my current arrangement is I’m still sticking to the same routine I did when I was single. I’d love to share a day of rest with my husband, but he’s in school and working, so it’s been nearly impossible to coordinate. I would like to start making rest a bigger priority in my marriage and we can hopefully start cultivating that as a couple once he’s out of school and has a more consistent schedule. Rest as a couple just happens in shorter, more frequent, less consistent periods of time right now. It’s a work in progress!
My main focus is keeping the spirit of the Sabbath and remembering Jesus is Lord over the Sabbath. It’s not about keeping legalistic practices or holding myself and my marriage to a standard of perfection in this area. That’s not rest. It starts with making the commitment to a day of rest. As we seek the Lord in our time of rest, He’ll reveal to us how we can rest in Him more fully – a rest that is peaceful and restorative as described in Psalm 23.
Practical ways to prioritize rest in your own life
Now, I am totally aware of my unique circumstances. I’m self-employed with no kids, so I realize in many ways it’s easier for me to set aside an entire day of rest, but I will say, whether you’re single, married, have children, are employed by someone else, or create your own work schedule, keeping a day of rest is a sacrifice, a challenge, and something that takes continued practice and discipline to do well. But, as you begin settling into a rhythm, you’ll start to see what a blessing rest is, that it wasn’t just a command from God, but one of the greatest gifts we’re given!
So, keeping in mind that jumping right into a full day of rest might be daunting for some of you, here are just a few practical ideas to help you start making rest a bigger priority:
- Daily quite time with Jesus – prayer, journaling, reading your Bible, working through a study.
- My Bible study recommendation: I personally love the “Be” series of commentaries by Warren Wiersbe! He breaks down scripture in an easy to understand way, but takes you deep. There are also questions at the end of each chapter to answer. They’re great books for personal or group study.
- Picking one day a week to go social media free – or if you feel comfortable, turn your phone off completely for the day!
- Read this post if you want to read more about why I think this is so important.
- Scheduling one evening a week for dinner and a night in with your spouse and/or kids.
- Watch a movie, play a board game, get outside, or go out and do some other fun activity!
- Leave distractions like phones, tablets, laptops, and homework in another room.
- At the table have everyone go around and share words of kindness about each family member… verbalizing appreciation for your loved ones might be uncomfortable for your family at first, but there is rest and comfort in hearing words of affirmation from those closest to you.
- Help your children get into the habit of getting their homework done by Saturday night, so they don’t have to do any homework on Sunday.
- This will not only help them learn time management and help them see the value in rest, but will also give you a break from helping and reminding them to get their tasks done! Everybody wins! (I may not be able to relate on the parenting side of this, but remembering how much work my parents put into helping with homework and putting up with the protests and tantrums from my sisters and me, I know both kids and parents need a break!)
- Try starting with committing to a half day of rest. Pick a time to start and end and stick to it!
- Think you’re ready for a full day of rest for you, you and your spouse, and/or your family? Go for it!
- Discuss what day will work best for your family, work around the most important commitments, let some go, and start experiencing the gift that is an entire day of rest!
I hope this post, if anything, got you thinking about rest and how you might start keeping this spiritual discipline. We live in the midst of a hustle culture in America. Busy = better and rest = laziness. I used to struggle with that lie when I first started prioritizing rest, but I work six days a week and even our God rested on the seventh day! Maybe you work five days a week and have one day for getting errands run, chores, kids activities, etc. But, set aside a day – or, at the very, least a regular extended period of time within a day – for complete rest. Don’t worry about being perfect! Take baby steps and begin discovering how regular rest positively impacts your trust in the Lord, your physical health, mental well-being, relationships, work, and all the other unique aspects of your life.
How are you already prioritizing rest in your life? In what ways do you want to improve? What are your favorite scripture passages about rest? I’d love to hear in the comments! And of course, if you want to stay up to date of future blog posts, I welcome you to join my mailing list community! I’ll let you know about new blog posts, shop updates, and upcoming events, and I’ll even send you a little gift just for joining!