Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. (NIV) Psalm 127:1a
Two primary sentiments are shared whenever I discuss incorporating rest into the family rhythm. The first response is usually, "This is something that we need!" And then the second is, "That sounds impossible!" I definitely can understand the complexity of the response.
Our daily lives consist of many responsibilities and ideas vying for our attention. And this constant call to busyness isn't only relegated to adults. Our kids constantly have opportunities to assign thoughts and energy to all sorts of things. In light of this, we all long for rest in ways that we might not even realize on the surface.
The first step toward finding rest in our family rhythms isn't focusing on "what" we're doing or not doing, but concentrating on the "why." Our discovery may necessitate us adding or subtracting things from our lives, but that is too quickly our first course of action. In doing this, we fail to get to the root issue that creates the busy lifestyle that we've adopted.
Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain." There are two builders referred to in this verse; God and us. In this psalm, we see that building something with good intentions is possible, yet it does not lead to purposeful work.
From a practical standpoint, there are probably many "good" things that are a part of your family structure. But when was the last time you took inventory of the family routine? This assessment is essential, because there are probably some things that may not fit with how you currently desire your family to operate. But, when we determine the activities in our lives that have a solid "why" behind them, we can give the proper attention and energy to them.
It starts with us.
We want our kids to know and believe that God provides their help and sustenance in all they do. That means that the way we lead and live in our family dynamic needs to embody these ideas. We all know that with children, more is "caught" than is "taught." It's possible to say that we are doing things in our lives for God and yet practically seek to pull them off in our strength and ingenuity.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your family is permission to take a day to evaluate all areas of your lives. My wife likes to call this a "Family Summit" that explores the why behind schedules, commitments, finances, relationships, and hopes in our little crew. In doing this, we can know what we are supposed to give our lives to and why.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Serving With Children.