If you are feeling a bit run down or run over due to inflated schedules both yours and your child’s then here are five steps to find a few moments of rest together as a family.
Step 1: Schedule It
Self-explanatory? Not so fast. A friend of mine, Carey Nieuwhof, and I were speaking at a conference together, and while we were eating lunch, we started talking about––of all things––our blogs. During the conversation, he asked me if I had read the book “Platform.” I said, “Yes, it was a great book!” Carey then asked me, “What have you done that has been most useful to you from reading the book?”
What? Apparently, there is a difference in the lives of people who read books and call them good and people who read books and put a few things they’ve read into practice. Schedule rest now. Open your calendar, look forward up to 14 days, type the word “Family Rest” one evening from 6:00-8:00pm. Now, on to number two.
Step 2: Say No
I know, “no” is easy to say and hard to do. When life gets busy this week, give yourself permission to say no to a few things. Let me rephrase, give yourself permission to say no to some GOOD things.
Say no to a school event, extra practice for one of your children or even a small-group meeting. Think of it this way: If you keep saying yes to everything, you are saying no to something by default. Generally speaking, the more you say yes, the more it leads to stress; the more you say no, the more it leads to slow.
Step 3: Plan Ahead
I’m not a planner, but my wife, Mary, is. She is amazingly organized. Most Sunday’s we sit down for a few minutes of undivided, undistracted attention and walk through each day of the following week, making sure we are both on the same page.
We talk about when our kids have practices, when they have a game, who is taking them and who is picking them up. We talk about when small group is for our kids and for us. We talk about when we are eating together as a family that particular week and even what we are having for dinner. Plan it, calendar it, balance it, do it.
Step 5: Don’t Worry
If you are thinking to yourself, Why didn’t Craig number these step correctly then this step is for you. Life’s reality is there are things that are our of our control and when we try to control them it leads to anxiety, worry and family distraction. Worry doesn’t allow us to be fully present in the moment. Sometimes we just need to let stuff go. Leave the dirty clothes in a pile and spend time with your family. The clothes will be there tomorrow.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
Step 4: Ban Technology
Just because we have the ability to be connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it doesn’t mean we should always be connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you are together as a family cell phones, tablets and computers can contribute to an inability to focus on each other. Family rest needs to be distraction free.
Keeping technology in a drawer for an hour or two while you are fully present with your family will pay huge dividends in the long run. If you have older children in the home you will most likely put up with a few groans and, if you have a daughter, perhaps a few eye rolls, but hang in there the time spent together is well worth it.
If you need a few additional ideas on how to be fully present when you are together as a family then read my post on 3 Steps To Overcome Frustration As A Parent.
Did you schedule a moment of rest on your calendar?
What day did you schedule it?
How much time did you schedule to be with your family?
What do you need to say “No” to this week?
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 81336751 © Elias Kordelakos