After a year of your kid crashing your Zoom meetings, figuring out how to homeschool, and being trapped with tiny humans who require approximately 500 snacks a day, it’s normal to feel emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed, and drained. But here’s the good news: It’s possible to get some rest this summer as a family.
As we prepare to re-engage with the world, we feel this tension between our renewed freedom to be out and about and the surprising joy we discovered in slowing down and being together—even if that meant your living room looked more like a disaster relief zone (because let’s be honest, it was!).
Though we haven’t quite returned to the “normal” pace of life we maintained prior to 2020, surprisingly, most of us still identify with a need for rest. Not necessarily like in past years where we needed a break from the hundreds of things we were a part of, but more so, we need rest from the emotional exhaustion of not knowing what was coming next.
So yes, most of us recognize that we need to get some rest. But what is rest, really?
Real rest is not the absence of something—work, school, stress, consciousness—but the presence of Someone. Real rest is actually a holy practice that centers and challenges us to be present with ourselves, with others, and with the God who made us in His image.
Rest is a beautiful thing, but it’s not the easiest to attain in a culture that values the “Go! Go! Go!” mentality. So, how do we actually get there? Here are three guardrails to help you and your family get some rest this summer.
3 Ways to Get Some Rest
1. Create family expectations by establishing family rhythms.
The quickest way to derail something is to avoid defining where it’s headed. Laying out some simple expectations for your family and your collective schedule this summer can help you sidestep that pitfall.
Start by answering some questions to help shape the blueprint of your family rhythm. Questions like:
- When is our family vacation?
- Are we doing summer camps?
- Where does our relational focus need to be?
Determining how you want to spend your time proactively helps you avoid spending it reactively. In other words, answering these questions and setting expectations ensures you don’t waste so much time standing around saying, “I don’t know … what do you want to do?”
2. Highlight the things you do consistently.
What are some weekly habits, routines, or commitments you have as a family? What about daily practices?
Whatever those things are for your family, step one is to identify them. And step two is to emphasize them because they will become the pillars of your family rhythm.
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
- We eat dinner together every night.
- We go to church at 8:30am every Sunday.
- We go on a walk after dinner on Thursdays, or we clean the kitchen together each morning.
3. Follow the Father’s pattern by building rest into your family.
If we are not intentional about our rest, it won’t happen. That’s one of the reasons God makes such a big deal about it throughout Scripture—to the point where “remembering the Sabbath” made it into the Ten Commandments!
It’s a big deal that God not only mandated rest; He modeled it. When He finished the work of creation, God rested. Why? Because He was establishing a pattern—weaving a rhythm into the fabric of the universe.
When we refuse to rest, it’s like dancing completely offbeat. But following the Father’s pattern means taking a pause, settling ourselves, finding our place in the track, rehearsing the movements, and then starting again in sync with the song.
Paul lends insight to the practice of rest in the New Testament by clarifying that it’s not about elevating a certain day of the week, but returning to center and reminding ourselves that we are called to do everything, day in and day out, for God.
What would it look like to use these guardrails in your family this summer? Consider this your challenge to begin the work of establishing family rhythms that allow you all to get some rest. Because even though expectations, consistency, and practicing rest may sound like constraints, you will quickly discover that there’s freedom on the other side of rhythm.