By Amy Pentimone
Good planning, anticipation, and adrenaline all help us power through busy seasons, but we need more. Specifically, we need rest, too. We’re only a few weeks into this school year, and I’m already feeling it. A filled-to-overflowing schedule means that more days than not, I find myself wishing for a nap. You, too?
It’s good to work hard, and some seasons of life call for extra commitment and energy. If you’ve just started homeschooling for the first time, these may feel like especially tiring and challenging days. But whether this is year one or eleven in the homeschool books, there’s a lot to do, and you may be feeling stretched thin.
Rest can often feel either less important than the other items on our to-do lists or simply unattainable because of the to-do lists. Regardless of the reason, I sometimes find myself pushing harder and faster when I’m tired, rather than taking time to rest.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to getting more rest when a day is long or full, but here are a few ideas that may help you refresh and reset even when you don’t have time to take a nap.
Remember your Gospel rest
Our physical lives on earth provide so many parallels to our spiritual realities in Christ. Because we have peace with God through the perfect life and sacrificial death of Jesus, we don’t work for our salvation. “For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His” — (Hebrews 4:10 ESV). Instead of working to earn God’s favor, Christ invites us to Himself with these comforting words: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” — (Matthew 11:28). When our bodies are tired, we have a deeper opportunity to remember — and rest in — the soul-satisfying rest that Jesus bought for us.
Incorporate more Scripture
I wrestle with this: when my schedule is full, it can be easy to let go of time in God’s Word, even though I know how important it is. Sometimes this is because my Bible reading can become yet another item on my long list. However, as much as our bodies are comforted by a soft pillow, blanket, and a few minutes to close our eyes, the Words of God are truly a balm for our souls. Right now, I’m incorporating more Psalms into my busy days, along with 5-minute breaks to open my Bible and find moments of rest for my heart.
Have a set-aside “quiet time”
When I was a kid, we had “quiet time” every afternoon. This meant the younger children would nap and those who had outgrown naps had to quietly entertain themselves for the duration of quiet time. This allowed my mom the opportunity to rest, read, or get a project done without having to answer questions, referee arguments (yes, we were just normal kids), or listen to a noisy playtime. I do remember sometimes complaining about quiet time, but I also remember the peaceful lull it lent to our days.
It surprises me how quickly a storybook can calm energetic kids. They can go from “bouncing off the walls” to calmly resting on the couch when a story is being read. If everyone needs a reset, sitting down together for a short storytime can do the trick. Consider choosing a book and enjoy small breaks by reading aloud together.
Do the next thing outside
While I’ve never enjoyed running, don’t know how to play sports, and my gardening attempts end nearly before they begin, there’s something about simply being outside that does me good. Fresh air and sunshine are like pushing an automatic reset button. Can you do spelling outside, take a leisurely walk to the mailbox, or stand in the fresh air for a couple of minutes before resuming your day? Not only are distractions minimized by getting outside, but the beauty of creation is a visible reminder of God instead of our to-do list. The next best thing is opening up the blinds and windows to let some of the outdoors inside.
Whatever your days look like — and your heart feels like — God gives us rest, both physically and spiritually. Let’s not be too frantic (or, perhaps sometimes, too ungrateful?) to appreciate and accept it.