I have to tell you that I am really excited for our summer to start- and it is just about here! The kids’ last day of school is tomorrow. And in a few days, we are off to vacation where we can enjoy some sunshine and togetherness. This vacation is much more than a vacation for us though. It kicks off the
beginning of a new season in our life.
For several years, we have been guilty of overworking ourselves and our children. We work and go to school all day, then we run all over South Jersey to various appointments, activities and events at night. Then over the weekend, we follow it up with more of the same. Sunday evening comes, and we try to hurry up and get some ‘rest’ while the kids shower and we prepare for another week to start only to rush through it all over again.
Well, that all changes starting tomorrow. We cancelled the summer sports and activities for the kids and removed any unnecessary projects for us. Then in September, the kids will be starting a new educational journey in a Christian school setting where they attend a school some days and homeschool the others. We will build activities back in the schedule once our ‘summer of rest’ is over and God confirms that they are in His will.
Until now, resting is so odd for my family that we often don’t know what to do when we have the opportunity to do it. Our kids get confused and bored when we have no plans or activities for an evening. They often try to fill up the free time by asking to hang out with another family or go here or there. Honestly, I find myself doing the same thing!
Resting, however, is a huge part of God’s plan. He even inserted it into His own creation timeline by giving Himself rest on the seventh day as an example to us. In Genesis 2:2-3, it says: “And on the seventh day, God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that He had done in creation.” Note that Scripture repeats the phrase “resting from all the work He had done.” God often repeats the concepts that are imperative and that we need to take action on.
This whole concept of rest isn’t just for those who lived under the Old Testament Law. In Hebrews, the author (most likely Paul), tells us that keeping a Sabbath is still important. In verses 9-11, he says: “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” We need a holy rest so that we can hear from God! Or else we begin to drift away and ultimately fall into disobedience. Notice, however, that Paul says, A Sabbath, not THE Sabbath, meaning, rest doesn’t have to be scheduled on a Saturday anymore, but rest still needs to happen.
Our Creator knows that we NEED rest to renew our strength and spirit for the work ahead and to hear His voice. Our modern American culture goes completely against the concept of rest. Keeping up with the Jones’ isn’t just about accumulating more shiny things than our neighbors anymore. It evolved into our children being signed up for more activities than others, posting more special moments on social media, adding more letters to the end of our name, the list goes on and on!
I know that this stuff shouldn’t be important to me… but it is. Even though God is working on this in my life, it continues to one of the biggest distractions I have keeping me from being able to rest. Alas, God knows my fragile state – He even has a verse for it:
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret
because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man
who brings wicked schemes to pass.” (Psalm 37:7)
Rest is essential to renew our strength and know the will of God in our lives. While working hard unto to the Lord is a holy and righteous act, we cannot ignore the rest that is also needed. It is not a chore, but a reward!