We have been MIA from this blog for the past week. We took a week off and escaped to the mountains as a family for vacation and rest. And I was reminded once again of the importance of unplugging. I was reminded of our built-in need as humans for rest and play.

Ann Lamott says, “Everything will work again if you unplug it.”

Everyone knows that when you run and run an electronic device such as an iPhone, at some point, it starts to get wonky. It will start freezing up on you or suddenly have weird black boxes in a corner. And what do you do to reset it? You TURN IT OFF. You UNPLUG it and then plug it back in. And many times the problem will resolve itself.

We are much like electronic devices in that we were never meant to run and run without stopping. We need times of unplugging- times where we aren’t producing and making and proving. We need times of rest. We need rhythms in order to have times when we can be completely unplugged to be filled to operate in our fullness once again.

We were never meant to work night and day everyday of the week. However, because of our technology with phones in our pockets or next to our beds at night, many of us are expected to be available at all hours of the day, creating a subconscious feeling of always being on. The problem with this is that our bodies and souls were meant to live in a rhythm of work, play and rest. When we are always available to our work, then we are never fully present in our play or our rest.

We can accidently learn to operate out of a scarcity mindset. We worry: if I rest, I will miss out on work that can be done, I will not stay ahead of the curve, I will make less money, I will get less accomplished, I will lose priority at work, or miss an opportunity and on and on. Ultimately, when we refuse to rest and enjoy, we expose fear that God won’t take care of us and give us what we need. There can even be a subconscious belief that there isn’t enough to go around and so we work and work in an attempt to stay on top.

What we don’t realize is that when we push ourselves just that little but further and don’t set aside time for rest and play, we slowly lose a little bit of ourselves. When we treat our bodies like machines that can keep going and going, only made for productivity, we can lose the heart of who we are, ending up grumpy and tired.

And the ironic part of a scarcity mentality is that when we live in a rhythm of work, play and rest, we end up infinitely more productive in the long run. Creatives who rest and play are filled with new ideas, leaders gain vision, visionaries are filled with fresh thoughts, and innovators create new innovation… Rest and play are like a reset button.   We need to unplug in order to work again.

When we stop and rest, unhealthy patterns or an unhealthy pace of life are also exposed. Taking a Sabbath or dedicated time for rest makes space to take inventory of our daily lives.

For our family, this set aside day of rest has become absolutely critical in continuing to give our lives to following God and caring for others. It’s not a legalistic rule and every once and awhile things come up that get in the way, but we fight to rest because it’s what helps keep us going.

On Fridays (our day off), we choose to unplug. No work is done, just rest and play. The kids are in school in the mornings, so Phil and I have the morning to spend a little extra time in quiet before God and to do what gives life and rest. In the afternoon and evening, we pick the kids up from school and play. It’s so simple and this idea has been around for thousands of years, but taking it seriously has changed our lives.

Just knowing that Sabbath is coming enables us to work hard the rest of the week. Knowing that rest and quality time together will be there at the end of every week, gives us the whole family a sense of security, especially when there is a lot going on.  Our boys know that Fridays will always be a more spacious time for rest and fun and they look forward to it.

When are you OFF? When do you unplug? What times or specific day have you set apart to reset? Are there designated times when you cannot be reached? What does rhythm of work, rest and play look like for you? If you are a parent, you are never fully “off”, but what can you do to make to create time to rest? Maybe it’s switching off passing your kids off with a friend for a few hours or saving screen time for your kids for your Sabbath day so that you can sit down with a book and read.

I don’t know what it looks like for you, but I know this; you have to fight for it. It may feel like you are moving heaven and earth just to get a little time to unplug, but it’s so worth it! So, that is where we were last week. Unplugged and resting. But we are back now and excited to jump back into writing and sharing with you. We’d love to hear from you about what rhythm and rest look like for you!

Jen Wood

Author Jen Wood

Born and raised in Southern California, Jen loves the beach, spending time with loved ones and being active. She believes wholeheartedly in living life to it’s fullest and that following God is the greatest adventure you could ever experience.

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