Three Ways Busy Families Can Find Rest This Summer
How are you doing? – I’m busy. Really busy.
I hear this conversation over and over again on a Sunday morning. Or for that matter, anytime I talk to someone and ask how they are. For some, people seem to wear this as a badge of honor — “Look at me, I’m important. I’m someone because I’m busy!”
We all know it. Our families are busy. Insanely busy.
Is this the abundant life?
Busyness Is Choking the Life Out of Our Families
So let’s learn from Jesus, who “would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16). If Jesus had to withdraw from the crowds that pulled him in different directions, away from his thick-headed, bickering disciples, then we need to as well.
Busyness is one of the most significant, if not the most significant, threat to and killer of our spiritual lives today.
Remember the thorns? When I think about how busy people are or the draws on our family, I’m reminded of the thorns in Jesus’ parable of the four soils. Busyness is the soil where the cares of the world, deceitfulness of riches and worldly desires can choke the life out of our souls (Mark 4:18-19).
What are some signs that our family might be too busy? Ask yourself these diagnostic questions:
- Do you always feel frazzled or like you’re leaving things undone?
- Are you often anxious?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do friends say that you’re doing too much?
OK, so you’re too busy–where do you go from here? The following are three ideas you can incorporate into your life to find a healthy lifestyle or work and rest.
Take A Sabbath
This is probably the single most helpful principle for me and my wife in pursuing a healthy family schedule and rhythm. Rest is actually good for us. We are human beings not human doings. Taking a Sabbath is not only biblical but forces us to manage our time better (thought it may take a few weeks to get into a rhythm). My wife and I have found that this even makes us actually more productive, not less.
Jonathan, what will I do then? I’ll be bored.Well, boredom would not be the worst thing. But, here are some ideas to help you get started in how to spend your Sabbath (besides corporate worship and fellowship of course!):
- Take a nap
- Read the Bible as a family and pray together
- Play a family game
- Go on a walk or bike ride together
- Visit a nature preserve
- Read a fiction book
- Pursue a hobby
- Be with family
- Host some friends or neighbors
- Serve with friends or family
Get To the Root
Merely changing our behavior won’t calm the tumultuous storm of our hearts. Augustine reminds us that our hearts are restless till found in Him.
In his book, Crazy Busy, DeYoung offers 7 P’s of Pride may lay behind all our busyness:
- Pats on the Back
- People Pleasing
- Poor Planning
Like an excellent doctor, we must go to the root cause of the symptoms of the busyness in our lives to find the gospel cure. Christ alone can heal the brokenness in our hearts, give us lasting acceptance and free us from the need to prove ourselves.
Spend Time with the Lord
Let’s be honest, this is often the first thing that goes when life gets hectic. But you would be surprised how things change when we meet with the Lord, repent and let his reality break into our own.
God is everything. When Christ becomes everything to us, the rest usually falls into alignment.
At the end of the day, if you do these three things it does not mean your life’s problems are going to be solved and you will never be busy again. Following Jesus is not like going through a checklist. Life is hard and complicated.
If we’re honest, so much of our busyness is because we are performers. We’ve bought the lie that who we are is what we do. Christ calls us to take up his light yoke and find rest (Matt 11:29-30). Are we willing to trust? Jesus beckons you, weary and heavy-laden one; he will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28). There is a Sabbath rest that God intends for you now, even in this fallen world. “Whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:10).
For more resources check out Kevin DeYoung’s book, Crazy Busy.