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?


4 comments:

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.