By and large, we are living in an age of anxiety and stress because of the speed at which we live our lives. We take pride in explaining to each other about our busy schedules. And to be honest, we feel a little guilty when we relax.
Let me tell you a little of my week. It was our Fall Break here in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s the first place we’ve lived where there’s been such a thing. Bill and I took the Monday and Tuesday off work and kicked butt at relaxing. And still I found myself feeling just slightly guilty at my efforts to attain renewal…and it didn’t take any time at all for the first bout of guilt to kick in. It started Sunday night when I deliberately kept Liam up until 11:00 so I could sleep in extra on Monday morning. Bad, bad mommy…but Liam thought it was great getting to stay up and watch movies:) And lets see, that makes me good, good mommy! Then my annoying body clock still woke me up at the crack of 7:oo, don’t you just hate that! But with a little effort I blocked out the activity out my window and managed to sleep in until 9:00. And then, yes, I did get out of bed and thought “Man…check out this laziness!” Not only that, I made plans to eat lunch out with friends at 11:30. Will the slacking never end? What a great day!
God did not intend for us to live in a state of perpetual hurry! All throughout the Bible it’s clear that God wants us to figure out how to find replenishment for our mind and our body.
Here’s what we see in Genesis about how God talks about rest. It’s in Genesis 2:1-3.
“So, the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day, having finished His tasks, God rested from His work. And God blessed the seventh day and and declared it holy, because it was the day when He rested from His work of creation.”
So, why would the all-powerful God of the universe rest after He created the world?
- I don’t think it was because He was tired. I think He had the stamina to keep going.
- I don’t think it was because He planned for 7 days and just got done early.
- I don’t think it was because He ran out of ideas to keep things going for another day.
Our first clue about why rest is important is because God called it “holy.”
I think that God knew that we would need to take a break from our work to care for our spiritual needs. Work is good, but it has to be balanced by regular attention to soul replenishment!
So, I have to ask…Do you regularly engage in times of replenishment?
What does that even mean?
Here’s a reminder of how we can experience the refreshment of God’s promises: Flip with me to Psalm 23:1-3
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.”
Man…I want some of that resting in green meadows stuff. Here’s how you get it and it’s so simple you’d be amazed!
Here are 3 practical steps:
- Divert Daily…even for a few minutes…set aside some time where you can read, breath, relax. It’s about doing something for yourself that you find replenishing. Me…I love me a puzzle. For someone who likes to do multiple things at one time it’s a little odd that I’d like to do puzzles. I was flipping through the paper and found the Sodoku puzzle. Sat in my favorite chair and worked me a puzzle. Love that stuff. Maybe for you it’s a long walk, hiking for a little while on one of our HopePark trails, having a pumpkin latte at your favorite coffee shop. I have a lot of “divert daily” favorites. Mix it up a little. WHATEVER!!!
- Withdraw Weekly – it’s the whole idea of the Sabbath. Set aside time that is your time for rest. Maybe it’s a morning or an evening. And – you’ll probably have to work hard to protect it. It doesn’t have to be on a Sunday. When I was working on staff at a church I had to work on Sundays…came with the gig. But I had Fridays off and I had to work hard to protect that time. It was so easy to get sucked back into work…because we all know there’s always just a little more to get done that you have time for. Here’s my guarantee – if you’ll protect this time that you have chosen for replenishment, you’ll get more done than if you choose to work 7 days a week. I promise and I wouldn’t lie to you! If you doubt my words…Let me remind you again…”On the seventh day…God rested!” If it’s good enough for Him, it’s good enough for you.
- Abandon Annually – take your freaking vacation! Americans are the worst in the world at taking vacation. And so we work and we work and we work until our heads are spinning and our bodies are exhausted. And what does it get us? Dizzy! Still other countries out perform us and at the same time are known for their siestas and lazy days on the alps:) If you take it as a matter of pride that you don’t take all your vacation days every year, I’d have to say that there’s something you really don’t understand about the patterns of life between work and rest. Everything runs on a cycle.
We’ll end with this…work hard. Give it all you’ve got! But rest just as hard. Never really tried resting hard? Maybe today is the day where you begin something new.
Stay tuned next week for another “What did Jesus have to say” topic.