Rediscovering Recess in a Time of A Pandemic

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

Rediscovering Recess in a Time of A Pandemic

By Jasmin Patterson

COVID-19 has swept the world and we’ve spent the last few months sheltering in place. Normal life has been put on pause. It’s got me thinking a lot about recess in elementary school. Do you remember recess? The break in the school day where you would get a reprieve from the day’s work and have some time to play outside with friends?

Its purpose is similar to why we take lunch breaks during a full day of work or study breaks if you’re a student. Pausing from the day’s work allows us to rest, refocus, and recover. When we head back into the normal pace of the day, we are refreshed and able engage better than we would have if we had just powered through.

I believe God is giving us a recess of our own during this time of quarantine. As I’ve kept up with culture news the past couple months, I’ve heard pop stars like Joe Jonas and Jennifer Lopez say in interviews that they call friends and family more now that life as normal has been shut down for a bit, and they want to continue that habit once the quarantine lifts. Christian musicians like Matthew West and Love & The Outcome have been doing virtual concerts and devotions to build people up in their faith during this time of uncertainty. And lots of people are enjoying old hobbies or discovering new ones like cooking, painting, or reading!

Businesses and public places are starting to open back up and we are slowly starting to return to normal life. And I’ve found myself asking what practices and values God has brought to our attention in this quarantine season and how we can carry those over into life when this season is over? You might find yourself asking the same thing.

I’ve noticed a theme in the lives of these cultural influencers, in my own life, and in the lives of friends: we are reconnecting with rest, relationship, and recreation.

Rest. We live in a culture that values the grind. We glorify being as productive as possible and having a go-getter attitude. Unfortunately, we can take this to an extreme sometimes. Psalm 127:3 talks about how useless anxious work is because God desires rest for His beloved ones. The Bible both encourages us to steward well the responsibilities God has entrusted to us and encourages us to rest from work.

I think this time of slowing down has caused a lot of us to realize we’ve not valued a balance of work and rest in our lives the way God has called us to. What if we came out of this season having learned that it’s good, right, and godly to build times of rest into our schedules that allow us to be refreshed?

Relationship (with God and others). When we rest, we can make space for intentional investment in our relationship with God and with the people in our lives. It’s so easy to put relationships on the back burner and even take them for granted in the busyness of life, but relationships with God and people are everything.

What would it look like to prioritize connection with God and others as a normal practice in your life? Maybe it’s watching one less hour of Netflix each day to spend that time reading God’s Word and talking to Him. Maybe it’s making the extra effort to connect and grow spiritually with others in a small group. What if that random FaceTime call just to check in or that invite to hang out with friend or family member became your new normal?

Recreation. Lastly, rest creates space in our lives for recreation. God has given us all kinds of good gifts to enjoy that make life more rich, fulfilling, and beautiful. What are those things for you? Cooking? Reading? Arts? Nature? When you pursue the things that God has designed your heart to enjoy, they become a God-given source of refreshing in your life.

Take some time to process with God what these areas can look like in your life, now and going forward. The concept of recess doesn’t only have to be a season; it can become a lifestyle.

Find out more about Jasmin by visiting