For some of us “resting” on Sunday still feels like work. Sunday rolls around, and we may have a list of things to get done that we did not have time for earlier in the week, or we may find the day nearly over when we wanted to go on a nature hike. What is the best way to refocus Sunday? Check out the 5 steps to effectively rest on Sunday below!
“We rest from our work and daily activities to remind ourselves that we are beloved children of God—not because of anything we have done, but purely through unmerited grace and immeasurable love. By resting in what God has already done for us, we are liberated from identifying ourselves with our accomplishments and productivity (Deuteronomy 5:15).” Redeemer Practices of Peace Guide Book
5 Steps for Resting on Sunday with Your Kids
1. Remove Distractions
Distractions are everywhere and all the time. And what’s the biggest one? Your phone! Turn off your notifications for Instagram, email, etc., and have your phone only available for conversations with your friends and family. Do your little ones have any devices of their own? In this day and age, they just might! Turning off distractions brings us into the presence of God and those closest to us. The Sabbath moves us from production to presence, and points us to the deeper rest we need in Jesus Christ. So, this is something of which we all need to be reminded because it is easy to forget when we have phones and tablets competing for our attention.
2. Create a Quiet Space
Talk with your kids about what Sabbath means to you as a family. Remind yourself and your little ones that the Sabbath was made for you, not you for the Sabbath. This means the day is special for you to rest with no extra work, fewer chores, and time to get comfy. One great way to bring your little ones’ attention to the Lord is to create a comfy space just for them. Have them gather their pillows, stuffed animals, mini lights, whatever it is that makes them feel cozy, and make a quiet space.
And, for 15 minutes each Sunday, you can do a quiet activity like bible coloring sheets, journaling, or reading from a picture bible. This is the time for them to know that Jesus is there with them in their comfortable place, and will give them rest on Sunday. Psalm 98 is a wonderful passage to begin quiet time with.
1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
3. Find Your Delight
What brings you delight on Sundays? Is there something you love to do, but might not have time for during the week? This is a great thing to discuss as a family. Just because it is the day of rest does not mean you have to stay inside! Spend the afternoon at the park, play a fun game, go to your favorite restaurant or order take-out, no dishes to do! Whatever it is, think about it, so that your Sunday becomes a day of joy! Maybe your little ones love being creative. Why not get creative with some coloring sheets, or get lost in a beautiful picture book?
If you are looking for a fun way to decide what to do, have your kids decorate a jar and write down their favorite activities. Fold up each piece of paper and place it in the jar. When Saturday rolls around pick out one or two activities and head to step number 4 to…
4. Plan It!
This is the second to most important step! Plan it! Finding rest on Sunday doesn’t just happen, it does require a bit of planning and prayer. If you decide to picnic in the park with your family on Sunday afternoon, plan it the day ahead. Get the food from the grocery store and have gas already in the car.
You can plan fun ways to rest on Sunday
- Trying a new craft
- Letting the kids choose
- Getting laundry done
Trying a new craft
If your little ones would like to try a fun craft have your supplies already on hand, so you don’t have to run out to the store. Sundays can easily start becoming stressful when you remember you have errands to run before the rest can begin.
Letting the kids choose
And, if you have lots of kids, each one may have a different idea of what a day of rest looks like. One may want to go for a bike ride, while the other wants to try out a fun recipe, for example. I’ve found that when you take the time to plan it out, each person can find a bit of delight in the day. The idea of “delight” really changed my own Sundays.
Catching up on laundry
For me, I always used to do laundry on Sundays, and doing laundry was such a pain. However, I began to think to myself, if this is the day of rest, then why am I doing laundry? I made a point of doing laundry earlier in the week so that I could find real rest on Sunday, and my Sabbath immediately became more peaceful.
This is the most important step. Some people really enjoy their work, and they find it hard to put down. Other people find time to rest on Sunday and don’t know what to do with the time they are given. Some parents think to themselves; how can I possibly have a relaxing day with all of my kids running around? The solution to this? Pray. God made the sabbath for you because you are his creation, and you are so loved. If you are not sure how to use your day, God will guide you. Sunday is not like every other day, it is not full of routines, meetings, rushing to work, and reading emails. Give your Sundays to God and see how he transforms your day into thoughtful prayer, rest, and delight.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.