As I sit on sandy shores soaking in the sun, listening to the ocean, and watching little boys build sand castles, there is space for thoughts that have been tucked away to peek their heads out. Ever since I can remember, the beach has been a place that made my heart sing. My growing up was always vacations spent by the ocean, and even still the being near it feels a little like light and life to a part of me that still believes in dreaming big dreams.
Beach life also gives me permission to slow down my hurried pace. The rhythm of life at the beach says “Relax, take deep breaths, clear away rubbish that has been suffocating your heart.” The beach signals rest, at least to me, but I can’t always have a beach to make me pause. I need to be mindful of the rhythms of rest that I regularly need to observe individually and lead my family to do the same.
Much like everything else in life, our bodies and minds have rhythms of rest. We need these long or short pauses where we intentionally slow down so our bodies can be stronger, our minds sharper and clearer. Unfortunately, I often run along full steam, ignoring these rhythms until I’m on the edge of burnout. I don’t even notice my state until I’m ready to give up half the things I’ve been working on—surely if they all went away I would be so much more relaxed! But we know that’s not the case (well, maybe sometimes!) and that the Lord gives us permission to release our worries, cares, even our work, over to Him-- what a precious relief!
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127 tells us it is the Lord who builds a house, watches over a city, gives us bread to eat. We are to work, but we are also to REST at the appointed times. The Psalmist reminds us it is God who provides, watches, and builds, and it is for us to be faithful stewards of what he has given us to do. He wants us to pause our activity to allow Him to show us He's the one truly in charge.
As a wife, mother and entrepreneur, I see the need for the Lord to lead and provide in many areas where stress and busyness can easily envelop me. I need Him-- although I forget this frequently-- to enable me to fill all the roles that He’s given me by the working of the Holy Spirit in and through me. If I am not taking time to rest and observe spiritual disciplines that are for my benefit (reading the Bible, praying, meditating, fellowship, solitude), then I am easily working in my strength and more concerned with what I can make happen. I ignore the rhythms of rest that I need to keep me tethered to a right relationship with the Lord.
So, when do I pause?
Daily - For me, it is helpful to take at least 15 minutes every day that is just time I can sit with a cup of tea, without interruption and noise, to refocus my heart and mind. Chocolate also helps here. There are, of course, days when this doesn’t happen because life with littles is never predictable. But it’s good for me and them if I’m able to have a few quiet moments during the day to recharge and slow down.
Weekly - Sabbath rest is essential, but it doesn’t have to be Sunday. Because my husband is a pastor, Sundays have traditionally been busy days for us. We call our Sabbath Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. The specific time will fluctuate occasionally, but it’s a space we like to set aside for hospitality, napping, family time, reading, etc., and where we are not working.
Yearly - Getting away from the everyday is good for building family memories, gaining fresh perspective, and disconnecting from distractions. We would love to do this once every quarter, but it isn’t always possible with everyone’s schedules, so we have started taking a few days or even a week to go somewhere different. A longer pause will often help me realign when I feel burnout creeping up.
When we first moved to India we didn’t go anywhere but to a one-week youth camp in the mountains for our entire first two years. Two years in the same city and same apartment without a break. It almost drove me insane, and it wasn’t healthy for any of us. Since then we have become much more intentional about our times of rest, hence why this little family jaunt to the beach. Just us without any plans except to make family memories and maybe take a nap or two.
IndiAanya, it seems, has acquired her own rhythm of rest over the past three years. It has always felt good and right to break for a time in the summer and begin again in August. So that’s exactly what we are going to do-- pause.
Because our writers are new mothers, old mothers, traveling singles, writers, entrepreneurs, teachers, new wives, students, and loads of other titles you can think of, we need time to pause as well. July is our time to rest and prepare for another year, so if you’re reading for the first time, we’ll be back in August. And if you have suggestions for future topics, feel free to leave them in the comments below, we love hearing what you want to read more about.
What are some ways you create space in your life for rest?