Latter-day Saint Life

You don’t just deserve Sunday rest, your soul needs it. Here’s how to find it

Mother with her newborn child
Thanks to the sleep deprivation in our new little family, I have a newfound appreciation for rest—and for the tenderness behind the commandment to take a Sabbath day.
Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

Our extremely cultured five-month-old daughter seems to be a huge fan of poetry. Well, one poetic line in particular: She “does not go gently” into the night. She “rages against the dying of the light.”

“Rage, RAGE against the dying of the light,” my husband recited deliriously, pacing for the third hour in a row with our wailing baby.

She was absolutely exhausted. Anyone who has dealt with an overtired baby knows that it only gets worse: The more desperate babies are for sleep, the more elusive sleep becomes. Plus, babies have few to no self-soothing skills when they’re born; they have no idea how to remedy unpleasant feelings, so they cry.

And cry and cry and cry.

As we alternated pacing with the poor girl, my husband and I mused, Is this how Heavenly Father feels when we refuse to take a break? We come to Him, sobbing for relief, but when He gives us a Sabbath day and says, “Take it. You’ll feel better,” we just keep wailing, “But I’m so tiiired!”

There’s no shortage of lessons to be learned from your own children about Heavenly Father and how He works. (There must be some kind of divine educational genius behind the family design or something.) Thanks to the sleep deprivation in our new little family, I have a newfound appreciation for rest—and for the tenderness behind the commandment to take a Sabbath day.

“For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High … that thy joy may be full” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:10–13).

Rest from work. Worship the Lord. “That thy joy may be full.”

I’ve always thought of the Sabbath as a strict tithe of time, a day designated for all things church. My dad used to humorously refer to Sunday as “the day of all the rest” due to the ironic onslaught of meetings and to-dos. It can be easy to get lost in it all. Against the booked-out backdrop of calendars and lists, simplicity resurfaces through scripture:

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath” (Mark 2:27–28).

Christ, the one who promises us rest, is Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is His gift to us. A gift of rest.

My daughter is eager to grow. She is discernibly frustrated when she can’t crawl, grab things, sit up, or stand on her own. And she seems to fear that, while she naps, she’ll miss out on all the excitement of this colorful, sensational world! She wants to do everything, and she wants to do it Right. Now.

How I wish I could reassure her that all those milestones and more will be met sooner than she thinks! And how I wish I could reason with her that, if she takes time to rest, her body will be able to grow in the ways it needs to.

I’m sure the Lord wishes the same for us and our spirits.

Yes, the Sabbath is a day of worship, a day to go to celebrate truth and study scripture and sing hymns and remember covenants. But it’s also a gift. It’s naptime for your spirit! Like our bodies, our spirits need rest in order to grow and thrive.

“If thou turn away … from doing thy pleasure on my holy day and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and shalt honor him …Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:1314).

This upcoming weekend, it might be worth asking yourself, “How can I make my Sabbath more restful?” Put the textbook down. Close the scheduling app. Leave emails for later. Take a break from the news. Let chores wait one more day. Simplify meal prep. Let yourself breathe. Accept the gift of rest!

If your Sundays are inherently busy due to a demanding calling or job, it is still possible to find and enjoy rest. President Russell M. Nelson encourages:

“Ask [the Lord] to enlighten your mind and send the help you need. Each day, record the thoughts that come to you as you pray; then follow through diligently…. As you let God prevail in your life, I promise you greater peace, confidence, joy, and yes, rest.”

Rest is within reach for even the busiest hands and minds. Peace, confidence, and joy are all forms of spiritual rest—rest from stress, insecurity, and sorrow. As a new, sleep-deprived mom, I’m learning that growth and rest are just two different names for the same mentality: Assurance. A “consider-the-lilies” dash of assurance goes a long way between naps.

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content