So you finally get a break! You actually woke up when your alarm went off at that ungodly hour because, miraculously, a child didn’t wake you up in the middle of the night. Time for some you-time!

Or your spouse comes home and says, “I know you probably had a hard day, so why don’t you get away for a while and I’ll make dinner and put the kids to bed.”

After you pick yourself up off the floor, change your clothes and grab the keys, your next thought might be: “What in the world should I do out there?”

In the first part of our series on Creating Healthy Family Rhythms of Rest, we looked at our need for rest and how we were created to work from our rest, rather than resting from our work.

And we saw what happens when we don’t rest properly – we get trapped in a cycle of multitasking and escape, never feeling like we are being productive enough or resting enough.

But what does work/rest balance actually look like in our fast-paced, noisy, busy lives? How can we tell the difference between rest and escape? And if God made us to work from rest, then how can we include God in organic, informal ways?

Here are three types of rest we need in order to stay centered in our identity, available to the people in our lives, and more fruitful in our work.


In a busy, noisy world, silence is as rare as it is valuable. All of us need space to listen to our own thoughts and sort our feelings. As a Jesus follower, I need space to hear the voice of the Father, to be affirmed in His love, and to pour out my heart to Him.

At first this can be challenging because silence can be scary. It forces us to confront our inner-selves along with all the fears and false voices that constantly nag at us.

Whether these voices are amplified from within, through one or both parents, through our spouse, or through our peers and colleagues, they are constantly telling us “the way things really are” and seeking to control everything we do.

But, ultimately, they are false voices urging us to take control of our own lives and run ourselves ragged out of the fear we will never be enough, have enough, or do enough to be happy and fulfilled.

These voices are subtle but powerful, controlling many of our decisions throughout the day and creating anxiety in our hearts. So, confronting them means having the courage to tune out all other noise in order to name them and tell them a different story – that we are loved, we are valued, we are forgiven, we are capable, we are called, we are safe (See Romans 4:7, 5:8, 8:1, 2 Timothy 1:7, Ephesians 1:18).

Even spending 10-15 minutes a day in solitude to get quiet and meditate on these things will go a long way towards keeping you free from placing all your value on your work and performance.

What does this look like for us? We often take prayer walks around the neighborhood for 15-30 minutes either in the morning or at night. Or at other times during the day, we may take a 10-15 minute timeout, secluding ourselves to a quiet space to just breathe deeply, meditate, listen, and pray.

The goal is not to solve a problem, download instructions, or vent our feelings. For me, the goal is to simply be in the presence of God and remember who I am, that I am ok, I am loved, I am protected and provided for. And if any false voices rise up, I silence them with the truth.

Solitude gives us room to confront the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives and reach outside ourselves for beauty and good news in the midst of our pain and brokenness.

Tip: If you can, take a weekly extended personal Sabbath day. As an introvert, I like to get away for 4-6 hours every week to get quiet in nature, away from noise and people.

My extroverted wife, Jen, likes to get away for a few hours twice a week, once early in the morning and once in the late afternoon, usually in a restful, public space where people gather.

Recreation. Sometimes simply getting quiet isn’t enough to break through to Sabbath rest and we need to get our blood pumping!

I remember going to a nearby lake one time and sitting next to the calm shore and reflecting, waiting to hear from the Father. But, for some reason, it felt more difficult to break through than normal.

As I looked out at the lake, I felt like the Lord said, “Go rent a kayak and get out on the water.” My first thought was, “That water looks cold, and I’m in shorts and flip flops. Is that really you, Lord?”

So after deliberating a bit more and realizing I still wasn’t breaking through, I went for it. I walked over to the marina, rented a kayak and went out on the water – and it felt amazing!

 After circling the entire lake, taking in all the natural beauty, and working out my core, my heart was filled with thanksgiving and praise, which began pouring out of me – laughter, tears, confession, singing – like all my burdens were being unloaded one by one into the water, slowly floating away into the distance.

The point is, Sabbath rest can be both playful and prayerful.

I’m pretty sure when Jesus walked miles and miles between places with His disciples, no doubt hiking, camping, and listening to stories around the campfire, He was also speaking to His Father, listening to Him, offering Himself, drawing strength and insight from Him – in other words, worshiping God.

That’s the heart of Sabbath rest – connecting to God in simple ways that bring re-creation and personal renewal in our everyday spaces and places.

It was olympic runner and Jesus-follower Eric Liddell who famously said, “When I run, I feel his (God’s) pleasure.” What makes you feel God’s pleasure? Do those things.


Communal. Once you have consistent rhythms of solitude and recreational play, you will notice two things: 1) You feel amazing and are more rested than ever, and 2) you have no extra time for people outside your immediate family like friends, neighbors, extended family, or co-workers.

This is where creating healthy rhythms of rest becomes both fun and challenging. Because we know intuitively that God did not create us for His sake and our sake alone, but also for the sake of others.

This is why Jesus commanded us to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

But if we are working or homeschooling full time, raising a family, driving kids all over the place for extracurricular activities, going to church, keeping up with hobbies, and intentionally taking time for deep rest, when is there possibly time to engage others with the gospel and help them experience the beautiful Way of Jesus?

The answer: Invite others into your rhythms of rest and play…at least occasionally.

Jesus would invite His disciples into recreational rest (See Mark 6:31, Luke 8:22) and a select few into his solitude-rest (See Matthew 17:1-2, 26:36-37). He also took them to fun public celebrations and parties (See Matthew 9:10-12, John 2:1-12).

Note: Your kids are always your first disciples and they get priority. So I recommend a rhythm of at least one day (or a half-day) Family Sabbath with them every week, non-negotiable. Then, when that becomes consistent, you can choose to invite others into that space with them.

We have often invited our friends and neighbors into our Sabbath rest, from simple birthday celebrations to theme park and zoo visits. We have also invited them into our solitude space for coffee, brunch, or hiking.

The result has often been meaningful conversations, exciting stories, helpful reflection, and (occasionally) encounters with God – all while resting and having fun together!

This is the point: to truly lean into rhythms of Sabbath rest, you have to resist the temptation to compartmentalize your life and instead fight to integrate everything.

If you can win this battle, eventually you will stop feeling the anxiety that comes from being pulled in a hundred different directions in a futile attempt to appease everyone all the time.

Now that we understand how badly we need rest – and maybe we are even becoming excited to try some of these types of rest out – the next challenge is making it a consistent part of your life through scheduling, which is what we will deal with in the third and final part of this series.

In the meantime, here are some questions to reflect on…

  1. Does the idea of solitude sound relaxing or stressful to you? What are some ways you like to recharge?
  2. Which false voices tend to be the loudest in your mind and heart? “You’ll never be enough…You’ll never have enough…or You’ll never do enough.” Where are those fears coming from?
  3. How do you imagine Jesus joining you in rest or recreation? What images come to your mind? 




Pin It on Pinterest

Share This