The Heart and Art of Rest

The Heart and Art of Rest

And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug if for a few minutes, including you.” Anne Lamott

Introduction

The waves danced at my feet and I could feel myself sinking into the soft, white sand.  This was a feeling I’d grown to love, a feeling I hadn’t had for a long time.  And  I delighted in every tiny grain of sand, every ebb and flow of the waves as I walked along the Gulf shore, airpods in ear, listening to one of my favorite playlists, and feeling the kiss of the sun on my face.

I hadn’t had a beach vacation in years, and I had been looking forward to sitting at the water’s edge, wiggling my toes in the sand and, as terns and sandpipers skittered by, listening to God speak. The beach was  always a place of renewal and rejuvenation for me.I didn’t realize how much I needed it.  Hadn’t realized just how exhausted I was. Hadn’t realized how much the busyness of my life had depleted me of energy, motivation, focus.

The Lord had spoken to me before I’d left Cincinnati that this time away would be a time of recalibration.  So I was intentional to unplug – no social media, no emails, no texts messages, no phone calls.   I was also intentional not to fill my vacation days with activity. I didn’t want to get sucked into the “Vacation Vortex” and need rest from my vacation rather than find rest in it.

Each morning I’d wake up, grab my I-pad, my journal and pen, a cup of coffee and sit on the balcony of the condo. Breathe. Wait.  Listen.  Write. It was in the stillness of those morning hours – away from my familiar, away from distraction, the fog dissipated, and I rediscovered those “unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28 The Message)

I spent the first days of my vacation retraining myself to relax.  I, like so many, didn’t always give myself permission to press pause. And when I  finally did, it took a little time to power-down so I could rest.   We live in such a fast-paced world. 24-7 everything. We fill our days and weeks with activity, bite of more than we can chew without choking.We burn the candle at both ends, boast of our ability to function on little or no sleep, wear exhaustion like a badge of honor. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) will not allow us to unplug. We overload our mental circuits so that even when we lay down to rest, we can’t shut off. We wake tired.  We, as a society (and sadly, in the church) have lost the art of rest.

rest: noun
1. peace, ease, and refreshment as produced by sleep
2. refreshing ease or inactivity after work or exertion
3. a period or occasion of inactivity
4. peace of mind; mental and emotional calm

Rest –  Hebrew: shabath – to cease, to desist, to come to an end, to pause,
an interruption

Rest – Greek: anapausis – pause, cessation from labor, relaxing,
letting down the cords or strings that have been strained or drawn tight

Rest is a God thing. God wired us for it and set time — day and night — so we could get it.  He incorporated it into the lives of His people.  He promised it as part of covenant. Adam began life in it. Jesus made it a priority in His own life, and He invites us to come to Him to find it.

Rest is God’s gift to us. He invites us to cease from our day-to-day labor, to pause, to take an intermission, to be still and enjoy life and delight in Him. Somehow we have come to believe that we honor Him more through our activity than in our rest.  And yet, God is the one Who says, “Be still and know that I AM God. . .”

God had promised me recalibration and it began in a place of rest.  During those days in Clearwater, Holy Spirit reminded  me some wonderful truths about the heart, the power and the worship of rest.  I knew that I had to change my thinking and behavior to honor Him by living in and from His rest.

And I invite you to join me in finding a deeper, richer place of physical, emotional and spiritual rest.  Over the next few weeks I  will mine the Scriptures to see what God says about rest and the trap of busyness so together we can rediscover the art of true rest.

In this moment, thank God for the gift of rest.  Pause. Make time to play, to recreate, to simply be.  And know that in so doing , you honor the God gives you rest!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?  Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.   Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

 

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Excellent post, why is it so hard to rest? We start feeling guilty, and that isn’t God, He gives rest to the weary.

  2. I received Rest now! Rest is a gift from God. Thank you for this reminder.

  3. Life will teach you to schedule rest. We become so inundated with life’s rhythms that we forget to honor ourselves. It’s not a sin to honor you. Ignore it, and your health will reveal it to you. Ask yourself, which would you rather have show up; feeling guilty or being healthy?
    Choose life, and celebrate you. You’re worth it. Schedule you.

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