“Being pioneers of rest means resting
in God’s promise to take care of all the little things we may not get to today.”

I was on a walk with a visiting friend a few weeks ago, catching up on how we got to our current life stages— casually reflecting, recognizing graces and mercies, admitting where we’ve seen our shortcomings surface. I was admitting to her my need for “slow.” As I was processing with her, I said, “I’m just so tired of being busy and tired. I want our family to be pioneers of rest in a busy society.”

My friend stopped me by the train tracks we were passing. “Pioneers of rest,” she repeated slowly. “Wow, I love that.”

I wasn’t trying to be a sage of any sort. I was just processing our family’s pace versus the pace we’ve felt pressured to live.

She looked at me and repeated the phrase softly as if reminding herself. I was reminded of the gentle words of Jesus in Matthew, taped to our fridge, resting behind a series of drawings, grades, and receipts:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious … Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25–26 ESV)

If we know that we know—down to our bones—that the God of the universe, the God of the birds and the bugs, is providing for their every need as they rest in their nests and in the fields, then maybe we too can trust God to take care of our needs as we gather for rest and play as a family, especially during this busy holiday season.

When I am feeling the pressure to be all things to all people, even just in my house, and to have all four of my kids in sports, to enjoy a radical date night each week, and to have a grass-fed organic beef burger on the table by six every night, I can look to the verse on my fridge and be reminded: It’s okay if my son’s socks don’t match. It’s okay if my two year old isn’t in gymnastics, and it’s okay if I can’t make it to a football game this week. Caring for my kids includes more important things—my energy must be preserved for advocating for them at school and for reminding them at bedtime that I love them.

I want to teach my kids that rest is a beautiful thing. I hope rest will be something they carry into their parenting. Being pioneers of rest means resting in God’s promise to take care of all the little things we may not get to today. It means taking time to delight in each other, the glory of the food in front of us, and the house we get to call our home. It means laughing and drinking coffee, and slowing down.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It does not say we should guess, assume, or hope that God is God—it says know. The Hebrew for this word know is yadá: to know, learn to know, perceive, see, discern, experience, recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess, consider, be acquainted with.

Our children, as babies, learn to trust and receive our love from their first hour of life. They learn quickly that when they cry out, someone will gather them, make them warm, nourish them. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that our needs carry the same importance to God’s heart as our little one’s needs do to ours. We must learn, know, perceive, recognize, and get acquainted with God’s great care for us so that we, in turn, may offer our rest as a symbol of trust and worship.

We know God’s care for us is great, so we can be pioneers, teachers, and defenders of rest for our families, our communities, churches, and world.