Week 35: rest

“I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

I do not rest as well or as often as I believe I do. Most “rest” is still activity in some way. 

Then there are the days we have no choice; we are forced to be still. When our bodies are weary and won’t let us rise. When work is impossible because of the weather. When you have a day off but it’s cold and rainy. We can choose to busy ourselves needlessly during these rare moments of reprieve, or we can take the hint (whether it’s from our body or from the weather–or from God). After providence, the universe, God (whatever you’d like to call it) grants us an invitation to rest, we must choose to respond with our attention–whether it be silence or just a brief recognition. 

Our rest takes effort. And during the most normal, mundane, busiest of days, our effort is greatest. Can the banal be beautiful? If we look close enough, yes. Rest does not always mean solitude, hiding, silence, isolation. Sometimes this is impossible. A family, a home, a career, a ministry–these rightfully demand our attention and commitment and responsibility (rest is not laziness). At times our rest will only be found with great awareness in the midst of business, or in small, brief ways in between. 

And sometimes it’s getting out of bed half an hour earlier, or going to bed 15 minutes later; turning off Netflix or the TV or the movie or the video game (often a facade for rest); turning off the phone; closing the book; turning down the invitation for a night out; leaving the chore for another day; keeping the bike or skis in the garage. All for the sake of rest (or spiritual rest, you could say). If we do not see it as a necessity, we will never commit to it.

Find your sabbath, in your own way (I don’t just mean Sunday or a church service). It will look different for all of us; but all of us need it.

When your body, mind, or heart says “slow down” or “stop,” listen and respond. 

When God whispers, “Come and be, just you and me,” don’t hesitate. It’s here we find what we truly need. 

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

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