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Make Family Rest a Spiritual Habit

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Rest nourishes body, mind, and soul. Does your family get enough of it?

by Heidi Indahl


The older my children grow, the busier we get. Even limiting activities to one musical endeavor and one other activity per child, it adds up quickly. Some days it seems as though we run until dinner, eat late, and then immediately start bedtime for the youngest kids, who are exhausted from all of the activity—and they aren’t even actively participating in anything other than the shuttle service!

Yet, physically, mentally, and spiritually, we need rest. I’m not just talking about sleep, but a deep rest. Our bodies heal during rest. Our brains continue working and making connections to solve problems during rest. Spiritually, if we never slow down to listen, how will we genuinely, prayerfully seek and find God’s direction for our lives?

As in all things parenting and family life, we must make a habit of the practice of rest in order to set an example and teach our children its importance.

We can begin making a habit of rest by observing Sunday rest from manual labor. What chores and other activities do you regularly engage in on Sunday that could be done another time? Instead of thinking of Sunday as a day to physically prepare for your week by getting caught up on laundry and homework, consider cutting back to the basics.

Choose a time during the week to rest from screens and technological input. All of the sounds and sights on the screens create a massive amount of input for your senses to process. If your brain is interpreting all of that information, it is not processing from other sources.

In the opening of 23rd Psalm, the psalmist is led on what can only be described as a peaceful and restful journey. The imagery of still waters and green pastures result in a restoration of soul. I’ve noticed that intentionally seeking rest physically and mentally naturally results in a type of spiritual peace, awareness, and growth.

Consider making rest a part of your Lenten devotions for the remainder of this holy season.

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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