When we go on long road trips, my kids often fall asleep. Especially when it’s getting late, and we’ve had a full day of fun. Despite their heads hanging off to the sides and mouths wide open, they look peaceful sleeping. With no worries or cares, they completely trust us to take care of them, keep them safe, and get them to their destination.
When I look at my kids snoozing in the back seat I often think of the scripture in Psalm 3:5 which says,
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
This is not just a scripture with a sweet sentiment; it is a declaration of protection and provision. David wrote this when he was on the run. He was driven out from his palace, the royal and holy city, by his rebellious son Absalom. David was able to rest because he felt peace and security in the hands of the Almighty God despite his circumstances.
I don’t have trouble sleeping. However, I do have trouble resting. Before I learned how to rest regularly, I was a mess. As a mother of three with work and a family to juggle it seemed indulgent to rest or observe Sabbath. At the beginning of the week I would write out my to-do list for work and home, then get busy Monday through Thursday crossing things off that list, and eventually crash hard on Friday. I was easily frustrated with myself, my kids, and my husband because I was burnt out.
When I incorporated a daily, weekly, end even monthly rhythm of rest into my life, things changed. I felt refreshed, recharged, and was able to invest in my work and my relationships.
Rest is God’s way of taking care of us, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Isaiah 30:15 says,
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,
- Rest recharges you. It gives you the ability to deal with your commitments more productively.
- Rest is an essential building block of your mind. Studies show that you retain information better if you take a nap after studying. Not only that, your ability to problem solve increases after a nap.
- Rest enhances creativity.
- Rest positively affects your body as well. Athletes perform better when they take days off. Also, rest, in the form of sleep, helps you lose fat and feel less hungry.
- Rest is not only beneficial for us, but it represents giving up control, trusting and relying on God.
While my kids have no problem falling asleep on long car rides, they do have trouble doing nothing. During the school year they are busy with back-to-back activities.. Once summer comes, it is hard for them to slow down.
Thankfully, like most behaviors, rest can be modeled and taught. We teach our children the value of rest when we celebrate it as much as we celebrate the things they do. One of the ways we can do this is by making downtime, naptime, and bedtime fun. Introducing the book The Bedtime Book by Mary Engelbreit is a great place to start. It is full of endearing poems, snuggly stories, and precious prayers you can act out together. Instead of sleepy time being something your little ones dread, they’ll look forward to the joy and laughter it brings while spending time with you.
If David could sleep during the turmoil he experienced, we can make rest a part of our lives despite our busy schedules and responsibilities. Teaching our children how to do it invests into the health and wellness of the next generation.
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Do you make intentional time for rest for yourself and your children? How can you start valuing rest more in your everyday life? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!