The Fear Behind Rest


The school year is officially over and the much-anticipated summer months are here! I’ve counted down the weeks and the months since the start of the fourth quarter gearing up for the freedom summer brings…… only this year is different.  We are in a busy state of activity in our lives……not really ours per se but that of our children’s. As parents, our lives are at somewhat of a resting pace while the lives of our older children are revving up. I think it’s safe to say as my husband and I look over their calendars compared to ours that something is amiss.

I know these are the times (before driving on their own occurs) that are absolutely insane. I mean who can keep up with it all! We find ourselves treading with one foot set in the loony bin. Maybe it’s even safe to say in some cases having a bed reserved! I can testify to that! I can’t help but wonder though as I look at the filling calendars of my children if I’ve neglected to teach them the value of rest. I do want my children to enjoy their interests, friends, sports, etc over the summer months but I don’t want them so consumed with doing that they forget the most important discipline of resting and just being still.

The world is filled with false messages of do more, be more and you will receive or achieve more! It screams rest is for the weak or for the faint of heart! We become fearful of our children falling behind, not being the best, left out, or average (gasp!). The false messages the world screams at us come into and resides in our parenting.

If you just did this like this person…..

If you do this then this is more presentable on this……

If you would do this better than maybe this person will notice you…….

If you do more of this or that then you will be the best…….

Doing more isn’t always good nor does it bring about the results we desire especially if based on fear, comparison or guilt. More often than not they cause burnout and hardened hearts not only in our children but us as parents too. My heart aches of all the times I’ve faltered and pushed my children a different direction all because of fear. 

Growing up, my mom would make the 20 mile drive to town once sometimes twice a month for us to swim at the city pool and see our friends. We would then end the afternoon at the local Dairy Queen satisfied with the popular cherry ice in hand! I know we gave our mom fits about not being able to see our friends all the time or talk to them (long distance cost money back then) but what a treasure our hearts received as we each shared what we had done since we saw each other last. What precious memories! As I watch children become overwhelmed and drawn into responding to threads, texts etc. and the anxiety it brings the more I understand the need for rest from it. There is great value to time alone and being able to withdraw and reflect on all things. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and thankful for what you have and cherish in friendships.

I think sports are very important however just as absence makes the heart grow fonder in friendships the same is true here. Our bodies are not made to do sports all year round. Our muscles, and joints become tired and more prone to injury. They need to rest and rejuvenate too. This is so hard to do and is a great struggle for me!  I want my kids to be a part of a team, work together and do their best but I’m realizing they have to want it too.  Actions always speak louder than words. Where’s their passion? Where’s their heart? If they aren’t putting forth the efforts required even with all our pushing it’s time to have a heart to heart talk. Let go of the desires you hold for them and be honest with yourself in your reflection. Is it their desire or yours? If it’s your desire for them, release them to try something new even if it takes you outside your comfort zone.

One area I think most important is the connection you have with your family. It’s harder in the school year to get together with all the activities outside of Christmas and Thanksgiving. This past year we have lost a precious great-grandparent and are dealing with sickness in several grandparents. Be intentional together with your children to connect and spend time with them. Don’t let them feel the sting of not knowing the stories, lives and hearts of your extended families. Tomorrow is never promised is just as true for them as it is for us.

I think we all know deep down that there is a time for everything. We should recognize the things that consume our kids during a busy school year are just as important as the time for rest, reflection and restoration from them during Summer. There is great value and reward in rest once we get past the fear behind it all.


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