A Time to Rest
I was reminded this last week of how important it is to take time to rest…. because I didn’t. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the day to day I often have to make myself stop… stop working out, stop running around doing errands, stop doing chores, stop and focus on what really matters in life. “The enough you’re chasing will never be enough. The enough you have already is” is how Mark Powley puts it in the book Consumer Detox.
I’m currently in the middle of reading Consumer Detox and I highly recommend it. I will be quoting this book a ton during this post (just a heads up).
Powley continues, “It wont matter how many experiences we collect. It won’t matter how many of the earth’s resources we use up or how low we force the wages of others; it will never be enough. There’ll always be more we could experience. We’ll never transcend this, never mature out of it-the only limit will be the day of our death.” So after reading that I stopped making my bucket list. I decided to stop focusing on cramming everything I could into the week and just be in the here and now, because I know there is more to life than this life so I don’t have to cram everything in quick before I die. I do have time to rest after all! Phew, what a relief.
In fact, “…resting is essential. When Genesis 1 states, that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, part of what it means is that He planted this pattern in the very heart of the universe.” (Powley) “Consider what happens when we don’t rest. To go without sleep is torture, literally.”
A couple of weeks ago I had trouble stopping to rest. It was one of those weeks where my to do list just wouldn’t end. Okay, if I am truly honest with myself I don’t think I have ever checked everything off my to do list. There are even some days I add an item to my to do list that I did already just so I can check it off and feel somewhat accomplished. On this particular week, there just were not enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted and needed to do.
Sunday rolls around and the laundry has piled up, the house is a mess, and I haven’t done any preparation cooking for the week ahead (I like to have premade food in the freezer for quick healthy lunches and snack options (like turkey meatballs). So I didn’t take any time to rest. That Sunday I caught up on everything I hadn’t finished the week before and as I tolled away I knew in my heart that I was making a huge mistake. Yet I didn’t have the power in me to stop. “Sometimes it takes more power to stop that it does to start.” (Powley)
In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means to “stop”. About a year or so ago my husband and I felt convicted about the way we were spending our time. We decided to start TRUELY honoring the Sabbath. We actually sat down and discussed what we felt it meant for us as a family to “stop”, to rest in a way that honors the Lord . We didn’t want to get too legalistic about it but we wanted to take the time to stop and rest, that God had intended for us to have.
We decided that on Sunday:
- We would attend church as a family (something we already were doing).
- We wouldn’t work out at the gym (we had usually taken Sunday’s off of working out but now it was a priority).
- We would save most household chores (within reason) for other days. I still sweep up messes and do dishes but I don’t tackle any major cleaning and my hubby doesn’t mow the lawn or even look at the “Honey Do List”. And NO laundry!
- I don’t cook! (my favorite) We have leftovers or easy stuff like yogurt or premade food (example: a salad and turkey meatballs taken from the freezer). And I don’t do any food prep for meals for the rest of the week. I either get that done on Saturday or wait till Monday.
- We do family fun (yet restful) activities. (example: play board games or watch a family movie and eat popcorn)
- Also every Sunday we eat “banana ice cream” which just makes it an extra fun day for the kids.
How one decides to rest may look different depending on the individual or family. This plan was just something my husband and I felt convicted to do. Pastors or children’s ministry leaders/helpers, nurses, and the like may have to work Sundays or different shifts each week so their Sabbath may look different than ours. One may not even have a whole day available each week. However, I do believe that God intended for us to take time to stop. Stop the rat race and focus on Him and His glory.
Norman Wirzba writes:
“Sabbath observance thus gives us the time and the space to take a considered look at what our work is finally about. Our temptation is to think that we live through our own effort and that the goods we enjoy are ours because we have earned and deserve them. A moments reflection can quickly dispel that illusion… We are simply too busy with our own agendas and our sense of self-importance.”
And that’s exactly what had happened to me last Sunday. My agenda had become too important and I was trying to do it all myself. I re-learned (the hard way… when I started snapping at my loved ones) that I can’t do it all and I certainly can’t do it in my own strength. And just showing up at church isn’t enough to get me through the week.
I need my God. I need the one who created me, the one who gave me any abilities and talent I may have. I need the one who knows me inside and out. I need His plan, not my own. I am a child in need of direction, guidance and strength. If I don’t slow down, I can so easily forget this. I can forget where I came from, where I am, and where I’m headed. My God is bigger than __________ (you fill in the blank, no matter what you put, it’s true.)
I was originally mad at my husband for taking this photo of me sleeping on a road trip but now I think it’s a perfectly appropriate photo for this post. 🙂