Day 14: Rest, Part 2

This post is a part of The 15-Day Relationship Challenge. If you’re just now tuning in, click here for the whole series.

Rest, part 2. We’re going to be ok.

Good morning. Welcome to Day 14, another day of Rest! 

Last week on day 7 we began addressing the topic of rest, where it comes from, and why we need it. Today, I want to shift focus from individual rest to relational rest. Our relationships need the space that only rest can provide. 

Relationships need rest from the strain and stress that come from two strangers living together. Relationships need rest from the high expectations we demand of them. They need time and space to grow, not under the hurried anxiety of what our selfish gratifications require. They need rest to remember that it’s going to be ok, and that we are going to be ok. 

I often talk about a marriage as the first baby of a couple’s union. It starts off all cuddly, and small, and needy. It needs lots of attention, and out of this newfound love we give it all that we have. As it matures, it starts showing the signs of imperfections given by the caregivers. As the days and years go on, the marriage shows the fruits of the neglect or the fruits of care. 
Rest for relationships is what allows for healing. To recoup from the previous week’s work, stress, parenting, and life.  

The 13 days of this challenge thus far have involved a lot of hard work to remember your story, grow in grace, bless and celebrate the highs and lows, face your responsibilities of failure, and the redemptive healing work of forgiveness. If any relationship needed a rest, it’s the one that just did all of those things. 

Today’s challenge of rest is about playing together.

Remember, play is the enjoyment of something that does not require someone to win and someone to lose. Play is what kids do in a sandbox, and it’s what adults forget how to do  (outside of sex, which is a great form of play). Dancing is play. Taking a pottery class is play. Cooking is play. Driving on new roads is play.

Play together. For a day, forget the silliness of life. Forget that there is cleaning to do, chores to accomplish, and work to be done. Revel in the sunny day, cast off your worries together, dance in the street. Scare your kids with how removed from your adulting-trance you are today. Wander, and wonder. Together. 

Reflection Questions

  • What did I think about my spouse in reading today’s material? Was it kind? Was it thoughtful? Was it loving?
  • Did I have feelings, thoughts, questions, or stories that came to mind?
  • What is something I can do for them today?
  • How can I welcome and receive what they have done for me today?

What kind of rest does your relationship need today? The rest of play, of relaxation, of space, of new activity together?Plan a day of play with your spouse. 


Hello! Welcome back. Great to see you again. How was your day? Tomorrow, we’re going to wrap up our 15-days together, and shift our focus from inside, to outside. To this point, every day has been what is going on inside you, or inside your marriage. Focusing on what to do with all that growth will be your launching pad tomorrow.

Take 10-15 minutes tonight with your spouse to talk through your day. 

  • What were the highs and lows?
  • Where were you surprised? 
  • Was there anything different about your day because of the assignment(s)?
  • From this mornings reading, what stood out to you? 
  • If you’re willing, share your answers to the assignment. 

Assignment Connection
Discuss how you can find rest once a day for 30 minutes, once a week for a half-day, once a month for a full day, and once a year for a week. 


Day 7: Rest

This post is a part of The 15-Day Relationship Challenge. If you’re just now tuning in, click here for the whole series.

Rest. Let all things be.

In the creation story found in Genesis chapter two, it says this: “By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work.” 

Rest is scarce in our culture today. We’re bombarded with advertisements competing for our attention (some estimate the average adult sees between 4 and 10 Thousand ads per day). We’re almost constantly available to social media, the internet, and to friends/family/colleagues. Work has replaced family and relationships as a primary focus for both men and women, and the average amount of time adults spend in front of their screens is staggering. It’s no wonder that depression and anxiety are on the rise, and our overall mental well being is so profoundly suffering. 

We know how to vacation (vacate), but we do not rest well. My experience in the idea of rest as a Sabbath day has led me to give up on it for long stretches of time. Quite frankly, rest is often too much work. I like feeling productive. I like accomplishing things. I like being able to get my own food, drink, or whatever else I “need” at the moment. It’s not natural to practice rest except when my body forces me to do so via sleep or getting sick. And even when I’m sick, it’s still hard to rest and not try and accomplish something. 

Rest is difficult because it challenges us to stop doing, and practice being. We’re human beings, not human doings (even though we spend more time doing than being). Rest is also a concept of play, which most of us adults don’t practice any more. If we do play, we require there to be a winner and loser, which turns play into work (competition). 

It was important enough for God to spend an entire day with rest. Perhaps this is an invitation for us to do the same. 

Chick-Fil-A might be the best example of a rhythm of rest in our culture. They are the number 2 fast food restaurant and they are always closed on Sundays. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. And this makes me wonder how successful we all might be if we shut our work down for an entire day each week.

What creativity would come about if we had time to pay attention, and listen? What relationships would prosper if we put down the screen, and played? What new growth would be discovered if we stopped working?

Reflection Questions

  • What did I notice about me in reading today’s material? 
  • Did I have feelings, thoughts, questions, or stories that came to mind? 

Spend some time reflecting on the questions from the last paragraph above, and then answer these questions: 

  • What does play look like for you?
  • When have you felt like rest was a part of your regular routine in life?
  • How can you integrate rest into your life today?


Hello! Welcome back. Great to see you again. How was your day? Was it restful? 

Congrats on finishing your first 7 days of the challenge! 

This morning we talked about rest and play, which are two difficult categories for us important adults. Rest does not have to be a huge production. It doesn’t need to be something we broadcast to all our social channels, but it does involve those closest to us.

Take 10-15 minutes tonight with your spouse to talk through your day. 

  • What were the highs and lows?
  • Where were you surprised? 
  • Was there anything different about your day because of the assignment(s)?
  • From this mornings reading, what stood out to you? 
  • If you’re willing, share your answers from the reflection questions.

Assignment Connection
We’re wrapping up the first week of this challenge, which has mostly been focused on you as individuals. Take some time to reflect over the past week and share some highlights of what you discovered about yourself, or your spouse. 


Holidays and Rest

Christmas is upon us, and I wonder how you are doing in it all.

Rarely do I interact with people about the holidays and they share stories of rest as a main experience. Most say quite the opposite. There’s not enough time. Time is flying by this season. It’s so hectic. How am I supposed to get all of this done? 

There have been countless others that have written about the idea of Sabbath rest (these are three of my favorites: Heschel, Allender, Buchanan), so I won’t say what they have already said. But I do wonder what kind of rest you need today, or tomorrow, given how challenging this season can be for some. 

Family gatherings are stressful, and beautiful. Travel is full, and the destination offers something hopeful.

Work slows down for some, and speeds up for others. The weather is getting colder, and days are getting shorter. 

There’s so much happening around us, are you taking time to notice these things? Are you aware of the birds, squirrels, and geese as they flutter and bounce about in front of you? 

Perhaps five minutes is all you can spare in your day, and that’s ok. Take the five minutes, breathe, rest, and pause to listen for a moment. And then take 5 more minutes (unless there are cookies in the oven). It’ll be ok, there is plenty of time to get what can be done.

Have you gotten lost in the chaos of gifts, parties, and expectations? 
Have you lost your way?
What do you need help with, and from who? 
Are you well? 


Gardening and Life

Several years ago I attempted to grow a vegetable garden in our backyard. It was mostly an utter failure. We may have gotten 3 tomatoes and a couple of green beans. But let me tell you what, those were the best tomatoes and beans I’ve ever had! Though the production failed, what didn’t fail was the process of illuminating areas in my life that needed attention.

The following year, we changed a lot in how we prepared, planted, and cared for the garden. Every day I would visit the garden after work, pull weeds, prune, and take care of the plants. Gardening is a lot of tedious work, and I grew to enjoy it. There are a few life lessons that I learned and from my daily 5-10 minute ‘garden walks.’

Gardening is about patience.

I noticed one bed that didn’t appear to have anything growing in it besides a couple of patches of clover-like weeds. Thinking that we did not plant the seeds right, I replanted the entire bed. After telling my wife what’d I’d done, she lovingly smiled and told me I’d mistakenly pulled the clover-like sprouts. They were actually the lettuce we’d planted.

I’d gotten impatient and pulled up something I needed to have given more time to grow. In my haste to see plants grow, and reap the harvest of my hard work, I sabotaged what was steadily and slowly growing. I fell victim to what many of us do on a daily basis: instant gratification. Gardens are not microwaves, nor is life or relationships. Often I will want something from my marriage or in life that hasn’t had time to grow.

Tending to what’s seen.

I sometimes looked too hard for what’s going to be the next problem, weed issue, or area that will require my time. In doing so, I miss out on enjoying what’s in front of me. Yes, prevention is part of the problem, but if I only ever focus on the problems, I’ll miss out on the fruit.

Those of us who struggle with anxiety tend to be on the lookout for what’s “next” on the to do list. In relationships, this can take the shape of trying too hard to work on something that’s not really an issue (or yet to be an issue).

I remind myself to take note of what I’m aware of today, and not go digging around looking for the roots of other problems that might pop up tomorrow. Today has enough worries of it’s own. Let tomorrow happen tomorrow.

Take a break, an intentional rest.

Working in my garden every single day had a way of blinding me to the growth that was happening. Hyper focus is good in spurts, but not sustainable long term. We all need space and time to let things that are planted, grow. We need a rest from work, from screens, from the monotony of life.

Rest one hour per day, one day per week, one week per year. Turn off the screens and other stimulants that crowd out life. Listen to the silence.

Life is a process, not a finish line.

Even if my garden doesn’t produce edible fruit, it’s already been a raving success. The process of planning, building, and planting it has already accomplished growth in me. I’m seeing things about me that are making me smile, and causing me to pause and reflect. If I were to view this project as only a means to an end, you wouldn’t be hearing about it and I wouldn’t be growing from it.

Cicero once said if a man has a library and a garden, he has everything. I’d add human relationships into that. Gardening is a great metaphor for life. It’s a process filled with seasons, beginnings and endings, digging things up, replanting, and ultimately, growth. It takes time, patience, and space to see and experience the growth.