Her response wasn’t surprising. She was probably more surprised at being asked the question.
It was one of those random telemarketing phone calls that seem to always occur when you are just about to eat dinner or watch your favourite TV show.
She was polite and asked if I had a few minutes to answer a couple of questions.
‘Why not’ I thought. I have been in the situation of doing surveys door to door and the struggle of all those rejections.
So off she went with some questions about my financial situation and retirement planning. I of course told her the answer here bosses didn’t want to hear, but she was happy.
Then I surprised her with a simple little question.
‘Can I ask you a question?’
‘Yeah, sure, go for it.’
‘What do you most struggle with?’
‘Too much to do and too little time.’
I thanked her for her response and continued into the evening.
Our world is a busy place. Commitments here and there, deadlines, expectations and then the dog gets sick and you have to …
I am sure we have all experienced the feeling at times that we like a mouse running in a hamster wheel and the wheel just keeps on spinning round and around.
When in this crazy life do you rest?
That time when you just stop and restore.
How is you sleep going? Do you wish dreamily that you could have a few hours of just stopping the hamster wheel and catching your breath.
I invite you to find a Rhythm of Rest. A pattern in your lifestyle that invites you to stop and restore.
Why don’t we rest more?
Perhaps we are captured by the need to feel in control of the outcome. We live by the motto ‘If its going to be then its up to me’.
In our ‘pursuit of happiness’ we miss the point that happiness is often a by-product of the rhythms we have synced ourselves to.
Having a rhythm of rest invites us to stop, reflect, give thanks and refuel for the next moment.
This is the invite of Christ.
I am whispered to by those stories of Jesus slipping away from the relentless needy tide of humanity to the desert, mountain or seashore. At times he would invite his disciples to step aside from the rush to rest.
As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. Luke 5:16
Jesus walks into your life and sings to you, ‘Come away with me’ in Nora Jones tones. What would you do? Where would he take you? What would he speak into your soul?
Would you take up this invite or would you make excuses.
- ‘Sorry Lord but I have too much to do’
- ‘Later Lord, can’t you see I am busy doing your work’
- ‘Lord I want to, but I can’t let go of my need to be in control’
How to Embrace a Rhythm of Rest
1. Recognise your need before it’s too late.
That little red light next to a picture of a fuel tank on the dashboard of my car shouts out to me to get more fuel. I have to stop and refuel that near empty tank.
Do you know when you are getting low on resources. Perhaps others close to you know better than yourself?
2. Plan to have rest nibbles, snacks, meals, and banquets.
A nibble might be a 30 second pause to give thanks. A snack might be that slipping away from your activity to have a cup of coffee or tea.
A rest meal might be those times of quietly sitting with a good nourishing book at the end of the day.
A banquet could be having a full day off once a week where there is no hurry rush or pressure.
3. Ruthlessly plan for that rest to be rest.
In the biblical story of the Israelites crossing the desert, God would miraculously provide food for them six days out of the seven. Manna, a light fluffy bread substance, would appear like dew on the ground. Their work would be to go out and collect it. On the seventh day there would be none.
However God told the people to collect more on the day before the seventh day. This was so they would be provided for on the seventh day. The people had to prepare in advance for the day of rest.
So lets put this in practical terms for us. If you were going to have a really restful day, what would you need to do prior to that day to make it restful (full of rest). An example would be to cook the meal the day before so that you did not have to have the work of cooking on the day.
4. Accept the deep value of sleep.
For many years I went with those having Mental Health struggles to see their doctors. The doctor would go through a verbal checklist which would always include questions about sleep.
How much sleep are you having? What is the quality of sleep like? Do you feel rested when you wake up?
Sleep provides the body a time to rebuild and refresh itself.
5. Give thanks and acknowledge the goodness of what you and God have created.
In the creation story of Genesis we find God having a rest day, a day of stopping from the joyous creativity they were involved in. There was however an activity they did do. They looked at all they had done and said it is good. They looked and they said.
Rest invites us to reflect on our activity, looking at what we have created and to speak out thankfulness.
Could you make it a rhythm of your day,week, or month to journal out the positive good things you experienced and then turn these reflections into prayers of thankfulness and praise.
What I focus on gets me.
Focus on the negatives / challenges will always take me down.
Focus on the positives/ good things will always give me hope.
6. Invite others in your ‘coming away’ restful rhythm.
I read an article some time ago by Eugene Peterson about how he would have a Sabbath rest each week. He and his wife would have a day of rest on the Monday. On this day they would slip away from the home and enter the wilderness to hike the trails, watch for birds and to enjoy Gods creative beauty.
In this time of ‘come away’ they would have times of togetherness and times where they were by themselves communing with God and a journal.
7. Accept that God is at work and is not solely reliant on you.
Martin Luther was one of the influential leaders in the reformation of the church. I was deeply challenged a few years ago, amidst the busyness of my life, when I read these quotes.
While I drink my little glass of Wittenberg beer the gospel runs its course and overthrows empires. Martin Luther
I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip [Melanchthon] and [Nicholas] Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything. Martin Luther
Perhaps our busyness and drive might be a hindrance to the work of God. That God would want us to get out-of-the-way of what they are wanting to do.
The Rhythm of Rest invites you to come away, rest, restore and ready yourself for the next moment. So have a little beer and enjoy a rhythm of rest.
Quotes to Consider
- When you rest in the Father’s embrace, unexplainable peace fills the center of your soul. Larry Crabb
- There is something about being gracious and accepting and gentle with ourselves at least once a week that enables us to be gracious and accepting and gentle with others. Ruth Haley Barton
- Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. –Charles Dickens
- If we do not regularly quit work for one day a week, we take ourselves far too seriously. The moral sweat pouring off our brows blinds our eyes to the action of God in and around us. Eugene H. Peterson
Questions to answer
- How would you respond right now if Jesus came to you and invited you to ‘come away’ and rest.
- What would have to change in your life if you were to plan for rest?
- How is your sleep?
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Read the other posts in this series