Friday, November 18, 2011

The Most Urgent Thing We Can Do: Rest!

The moment I’d been looking forward to all day was finally here.  I was just sitting back to put my feet up and listen to some soft music when the doorbell rang.  It was a repairman, who arrived to install our new hot water heater at JUST the moment I was planning on spending a 10 minute mini-retreat to focus on God’s presence.

I felt exasperated as I answered the door and showed him to the bathroom. Should I wait until the installation was over to take my mini-retreat? Or should I sit down and listen to my soft music anyway, despite hammering, drilling noises in the background?

I went with the “now or never” philosophy and decided to sit down and turn on my music.  Even with the noise coming from the bathroom I was somehow able to read a few Bible verses, close my eyes and enjoy God’s presence. 

As it turned out I never had another free moment the rest of the day.  My kids came in and out of my bedroom, the phone rang, and I had to do errands.  Even those brief moments had been a small oasis of rest in my day.

Why I’ve been thinking about REST:

Last week I was at a conference where speakers challenged me to seek a new level of intimacy in my relationship with God. I came home ready to try a baby step commitment: besides my morning quiet time, I want to set aside ten minutes two afternoons a week for time with Jesus.

One of my favorite scriptures is Mark 6:31: “He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’

Why do I find it find it hard to answer that call?

  • Busyness: I’m so used to never ending activity that it takes my mind a while to switch off and quiet down.  It’s difficult to sit down for ten minutes after I finish home school before continuing my busy afternoon.  My mind races ahead to my agenda.  However, a brief time of resting in God’s presence leaves me feeling at peace, loved, and ready for the next thing.
  • Guilt: Our productivity oriented culture makes us feel guilty about rest. We feel we should be getting something done.  Last Sunday evening, after a busy weekend, I spent a few hours at home doing nothing in particular.  I read. I talked to my kids and my husband.  It was a great, peaceful start to my week.

When to rest?

Let’s face it.  For most cross-cultural servants, Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but it is NOT a day of rest.  Last Sunday morning, I prepared worship with my son, baked cheese pastries and opened my home for our fellowship before going to hear a Christian speaker at another church.

Many of us need to schedule other times for rest. When my children were small, we took a day off during the week, but now that I am home schooling, that doesn’t work.  I have to think in terms of hours: one evening a week at home, a few hours on an afternoon, a Saturday when I purposely don’t schedule much, 10 minutes to sit down during a busy day.

Rest means different things to different people.  I like to:
  • Do nothing
  • Spend time with God
  • Spend time with family or friends
  • Reflect and plan
  • Create or write
  • Take a walk
  • Read

What is restful for you? When do you find time to do it?


Alida said...

Like you we have to carve out times of rest. Rest to me is the chance to sit on the porch with my Bible and a cup of hot tea. Or lie in bed early in the morning and enjoy the birds singing.

OliveTree said...

Sounds heavenly, Alida!

Kris Thede said...

Read this in an on-line article [Staying Spiritual During the Holidays] this week and have been thinking about the Truth it holds ever since-"When your output exceeds your intake, your upkeep is your downfall." Tonilee Adamson's Dad.

I'm very thankful to the Lord for moving us to a location that makes it easier to spend the time I need with Him as well as teach my children.

OliveTree said...

Thanks, Kris. I'm going to look up that article.