“Shalom Sabbath!” Having recently returned from Israel, the whole Sabbath thing, taking a day of rest once a week to honor God, is relatively fresh. In Israel, the Sabbath is super important! They organize their elevators to comply with Sabbath regulations, there’s meal guidelines, work closes down for a day & it seems like the entire nation takes a pause. I found the whole experience to be curious & refreshing.
So yesterday, I experienced kind of a “command Sabbath.” We had a really big snowstorm here in Denver, so my kids were home from school & I rested for much of the day. Since I don’t often pause for an entire day, it was an interesting experience. I appreciated getting some extra sleep, along with forcing my mind to disconnect from work stuff. It was nice to enjoy some quiet reading and even catch a great college basketball game!
The “command Sabbath” reminds me that what I do is never as important to God as who I am. And having a day of rest makes me want to be all the more productive today!! 🙂
The week between Christmas & New Year’s feels like a “not ready” week, maybe because of all the festivities, bustle & frenzy leading up to Christmas, . . . . . And then we pause 🙂
And for such a pause, I’m abundantly grateful. I don’t have to get ready for anything – no dinner guests, no events, no sermons, no parties, no gift wrapping or last minute presents to buy. In this week, it’s ok to be “not ready.” So I appreciate the opportunity to lounge in pjs, take time for reflection, watch birds and squirrels eat berries off the tree outside my window, get my vacuum into the shop for a much needed tune-up, sleep in a little bit and be entirely comfortable with being “not ready.”
Maybe this idea goes back to the concept of Sabbath, when we pause from our work and take a day of rest. I sincerely believe that such a pause is an essential ingredient for growing in our intimacy with God 🙂
I’M SO EXCITED!!!!! We are getting a new bed today & this makes me happy for LOTS of reasons: better sleep, not as stiff, more rest & increased energy. Our old bed is tired, no pun intended. We’ve slept on it for countless years, extending it’s life by flipping & rotating the mattress multiple times. But it’s reached the end of it’s functional life. I know this because I wake up stiff, often tired, it creaks & it’s saggy in the middle.
There’s lots to be said about sleep & rest. Indeed, we spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping / resting, so it’s an essential ingredient God has baked into our practical existence. Here are some things to consider about rest as we head into this weekend:
proper alignment: our backs need to be properly aligned so that we walk without pain & distortion. In the same say, when we rest in God, we can walk in our daily living, with less pain & distortion. Sleep & rest is when our backs & walk have the chance to settle into proper alignment
better mobility: with our old bed, I wake up stiff and sore everyday & it takes some time for my muscles to relax in the morning. When we consistently rest in God, we can have better agility to flow with Holy Spirit throughout the day. Better rest can mean increased agility 🙂
clearer thinking: when I wake up tired, this tells me that my sleep wasn’t restful & this affects my ability to think clearly on any given day. When my thinking is murky, everything takes more work, my emotions are more challenging, I’m more prone to make bad decisions and my perceptions can be whacky. But when I’m well rested in my body, mind and heart, everything is more clear & I’m better able to perceive truth, which is an essential ingredient for effective living 🙂
So here’s to getting a new bed! I’m also hopeful that you’ll make some time this weekend to be at rest 🙂
In the US today, we celebrate a national holiday called, “Labor Day.” The official year that it was started in America was 1882 & laborers had to strike to get the day “off” for a pause or rest from work. And I think it’s the universal human experience that we all need a pause from work. Perhaps we agree on this because of Divine design.
If you think about it, even God took a pause on the seventh day of the Creation week, when He rested. And to reinforce the need for rest, God established the Sabbath as one of the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath is one day a week to rest from our work & set our attention / affection toward fellowship with God.
So let’s celebrate not only success and productivity, but also rest because without rest our souls become thin, weary, unsettled and broken. Happy Labor Day!
A fourteen hour day can feel kind of overwhelming & sometimes we have long days, overflowing with demands & activities. Modern living pressures us to stuff our days to the gills so that the more we get done, the better we feel and the more significant we are. Consequently, the idea of a Sabbath flies in the face of the modern lifestyle.
Nevertheless, God instituted a day of rest in each week as one of the 10 Commandments, so it’s on the same level of importance as not murdering, loving God, etc. And I’m writing this blog, maybe to myself more than anyone else because I’m on a gerbil wheel with overflowing days and more work than time. When we keep time and fellowship with God as our top priority, then the speed of life won’t result in a trainwreck 🙂
Stay-cation is this week’s plan & this far its going pretty well. We solicited input from our kids for various activities to do this week, hence the picture below 🙂
So I wonder what it would be like if we let God direct our activities. This morning I read in Matthew 11:28 that Jesus will give us rest for our weary & heavy laden souls. So when we “stay” in Jesus, maybe the abiding helps us to rest & we can live in “stay-cation” mode, letting God direct our steps.
Congestion isn’t appealing. We don’t like to be congested from a cough or the flu and when traffic is congested, it’s not a pleasant experience to navigate. Congested means too much and it happens when there are too many cars or when our immune system is trying to fight against a virus or bacteria. So what are some possible solutions for congestion?
Here are some interesting ideas for your consideration:
drink more water: when we are congested with sin, the washing of the water of the Word (Eph 5:26) can help to flush out the sinful toxins that are harmful to our walk with Jesus.
rest: often times our lives get congested because we don’t maximize the rest times that God gives to us (Matt 11:28). If you’re in congested traffic, consider using the time to thank God for various things throughout the day.
patience: congestion can make us anxious and stressed out, which only makes the congestion worse. Consider what Jesus says in Luke 21:19, “In patience, possess your souls.” Seasons change and things come to pass but not stay.
May the healing and redemptive power of Jesus help us get past the congested times and maladies in our lives!
I love this picture because it shows me what it looks like when a baby is entirely settled, sleeping & trusting. We caught this moment last month when I was in Cambodia at one of our nightcare centers, with my Saving Moses work. This little treasure was fussy to start, but became increasingly relaxed in my arms until he fell asleep. And I’m. It sure that there’s not much more soothing to my soul than holding a sleeping baby.
In contrast, without our nightcare centers, these sweet little treasure wouldn’t have a safe nor serene place to sleep. He would likely be exposed to many inappropriately adult situations & his night would probably be a staccato of noise, interruptions, instability & maybe danger.
Let’s take this picture to heart, celebrating God’s genuine love that gives all of us rest & peace in our souls 🙂
I tend to run in the red zone. This means that I try to squeeze the most out of my time, energy, money, talents & attention. Generally, I’ve thought this has been a good way to do life. If a person wants to achieve a lot, suck out the marrow of life & choke on the bone, maybe even burn out, then FULL CHARGE ON!!!
But I’m beginning to see the importance of margin, or breathing room. Margin gives us space to think, recover, listen & be with the Holy Spirit. If you think about it, Adam’s first day of existence was God’s day of rest. Perhaps it’s in the margins & rest where we can experience the deepest intimacy & fellowship with the Holy Spirit, just maybe 🙂
It seems to me that most of us don’t like time, maybe because we don’t seem to have enough of it, or we resent the pressure it applies. When I was a kid, I didn’t like time because it seems like an eternity – now it often seems scarce.
Perhaps for these reasons & loads more, God told us to keep a Sabbath, the day of rest & refrain from work. I think that if we don’t structure our energies, resources & time to conform to God’s imperatives, we harm & even break ourselves from misusing & abusing God’s provisions.
Today, I have a pause & I find myself being not just relaxed but maybe more importantly refreshed in this space & time to exhale. Furthermore, the pause let’s me give some undistracted focus to being with God & there’s nothing my soul craves more than this intimacy with my Creator.
Let’s be grateful for time, by using it according to God’s instructions.
At the end of last week, I returned from a whirlwind trip to Bangladesh for Saving Moses. In our short time there, we accomplished loads of stuff because I think that a person should do everything to maximize their time. Upon returning home, I find myself more than a little spent. I feel puny, my sleep is messed up, my emotions are everywhere & I can’t seem to quiet my brain.
Thankfully, I was able to join our entirely glorious Sunday School class yesterday where we took a deep dive into 2Samuel 7 – a chapter about David wanting to build a temple for God. The first verse of the chapter says that David had “rest on every side.” One of the ladies in our class observed how wonderful this would be to have rest everywhere in our lives! In our discussion, we camped on this idea for awhile & it was amazing!! As I thought about this, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that this rest was available to me not only on the outside, but on the inside as well – rest on every side.
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to give us rest, maybe more than any place, on the inside with our emotions, thoughts, desires, etc
I’m writing this in Indiana, as I’m waiting for a driver to take me to the airport. I was waiting earlier for an interview & when I get to the airport, I’ll wait some more to get on the airplane. Seems to me that we often spend time waiting for various things – stop lights, job interviews, school acceptance, for the right mate, direction from God & heaps more.
Sometimes it’s easy to get impatient in the waiting times. So here are some benefits to help you while you wait:
Waiting gives us the space to catch our breath & collect our thoughts
Waiting can be the prep time we need for the next season of busyness, activities & responsibilities
In Isaiah, it says that when we wait upon the Lord, He renews our strength & we all need supernatural strength
I admit that I still like The Go Go’s, a pop band from
the 80s. Listening to them is like eating cotton candy: sappy & lite. They sing, “Get Up & Go”, a catchy tune with mindless lyrics, something about not going slow – a peppy little song.
Alas, I did not get up & go.
Recently I was supposed to go to Angola for Saving Moses but because of some visa problems & health challenges, I find myself at home, unexpectedly. It’s tricky for me because I like to get up & go. I like to be on the move. So sitting down & staying isn’t always my first choice. But there are times & seasons when God knows that what we need most is to sit & stay, even when this cuts against the grain of our personality.
So here are some benefits I’m realizing from this non-Go Go season:
I love the time with my family – listening, watching, cooking, cleaning with them & enjoying their company
More thinking: as if I needed more thinking, and yet this stillness affords me a depth that I don’t enjoy when I’m on the move
Quiet: not only am I appreciating the quiet on the outside, but I’m learning an internal quiet that is very soothing & wholesome
Heavenly Help: I’m learning a new closeness with the Holy Spirit that I’ve not experienced before 🙂
The verses God is speaking to me everyday in this season are Ps 131:1-2. Take a few moments to read these – likely God has some good for all of us even during a sit & stay season ,)
Springtime always seems to ramp up the activity level. There’s fresh air outside that’s not too cold, the trees bloom with fragrant life, the hibernation of winter dissipates and of course there are all of the activities that go with school, Easter, graduations, weddings, showers, etc.
More often than not, Springtime wears me out with the hustle and bustle of demanding activities. So this Sping, I’m endeavoring to strike a better balance, integrating some rest into the mix. Here are some ideas that might help you with finding rest in a busy Spring:
be careful not to fall in the “value in achievement” trap – you’re valuable because God loves you, full stop
consider Spring cleaning your calendar / schedule and not just your house
be sure the way you use your time accurately reflects your priorities
don’t ditch church 🙂
Of course I’m always keen to recommend reading a good book as a form of relaxing & a great book to read in preparation for Pentecost in a few weeks is Heavenly Help
I know that I’ve had a good workout when I’m breathing heavy & it takes me awhile to catch my breath – I like that feeling because my body feels good & spent. So if I’ve worked out really hard, it’s nice to pause for a few minutes & catch my breath before I move on to the next task.
I think God made a great example of this “pause & catch your breath” thing when God rested on the 7th day after having created the world in 6days. Further to this point, let’s remember that God blessed the 7th day, a day of rest & recovery.
Let’s be careful not to ignore or dismiss this important principle of rest & recovery into our lifestyles. It’s good to rest 🙂
Have you had a busy week? Did you get a lot done this week? Are you frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you think you need to?
Take a deep breath with me for a moment.
There’s a balance that we struggle to maintain: the balance between human being & human doing. With this thinking, our culture makes that balance very tricky. Heaps of stuff all around us tell us to get busy, be productive, don’t be lazy, achievements equal importance & significance is through activity. While there’s some truth is these ideas, the operative word is SOME.
Let’s not forget that God’s first day with Adam was God’s day of rest, affirming the truth that we are foremost human beings, lovingly affirmed by our Creator.
In the last 2 weeks, I’ve been in 5 states, 2 countries, through 5 time zone, one boat & 8 planes. Suffice it to say that I feel like I’ve been in a state of perpetual motion. It will be very nice to be still, read on my back porch, breath deeply, cook for my family & snuggle.
Maybe God would like some of that stillness with us as well. Clearly, we all have plenty of responsibilities that require our energies & focus, but let’s also be attentive to all let the engine idle. Running our lives in the red zone for too long isn’t good for anyone nor are we designed by our Creator to live in perpetual motion 🙂
To be still, to engage, hold hands, listen to birds, watch the clouds, center & exhale 🙂
It seems like I spend a massive amount of energy, focus & time for Christmas: food, parties, gifts, cleaning, prep, wrapping, cooking, concerts, etc all squeezed into 2-3 weeks of seemingly frenzied activities. By the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to sing Handel Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus, kind of 🙂
Having come through another Christmas season, on the other side, I find myself in recovery mode: less food, less activities, no wrapping, less cooking & lots of delightful cold, snow, quiet & still. But in my own way, I’m also in prep mode because I’m praying for 2015 and continuing to listen and be attentive with what God has for the upcoming year. We are on the cusp of turning the page on 2014 to begin a new chapter for 2015. Let’s not enter 2015 as a leftover, wrung out rag from 2014. Let’s seize the time, space and pause to not only nourish our souls but also to prepare us for the adventures that God has for us in 2015 🙂
Some prep ideas:
make a list of gratitudes from 2014 – reflecting on God’s amazing work & presence in your life over 2014
consider some places, situations, experiences that need some active forgiveness work (shortcomings, failures, idols, disobedience, etc)
take some time to maybe take a walk & listen to God – not only for what God has in store for 2015, but more importantly to be together
ask for the Holy Spirit to help you know the Helper better in 2015 than you have known in 2014 🙂
I’m writing this post as a total hypocrite on this topic because I’m currently the absolute WORST at this, but the topic of margin is nevertheless really important. When my kids write out a long paragraph, it helps me heaps when they leave some space around their writing so my eyes can get a break from the deciphering exercise 🙂
I think this is also true with our daily living. When we pack each day to the uttmost with events, activities, appointments, responsibilities, demands, etc then it gets difficult to:
see where we’re going & ultimately achieve goals that are genuinely important
rest – even our sleep becomes fitful
listen – the clutter of an overfull life can easily drown out the still small voice from God that we so desperately need
be present & our relationships move into shallow mode – sometimes necessary but not healthy for the longterm
Dear Sarah, please keep some margins in your life 🙂
I’m currently with my family on a vacation, enjoying some downtime. I find that I can chose how restful this vacation is or I can be stressed out about how much work I’m missing, checking my emails all the time, writing blogs, etc. Vacate means to leave the premise or to check out.
I think it’s good for all of us to occasionally leave the premise & check out for our own mental health, for the purpose of enjoying family & to give God the opportunity to engage with us with less competition for our attention. Celebrate the opportunities that God gives us for vacations, rest & pause 🙂
We all have various things that we have to get done by various deadlines, along with schedules that we have to keep with dates & times that must be managed. What I find interesting about time is that God doesn’t seem to see time with our eyes or values – seems logical since God made time.
In our lives, we all have various deadlines of which God is thoroughly aware. And while I must be responsible & steward my time wisely, I must also understand that I’ve give God my days & not just my life. So from time to time, I remind myself that I’m on God’s schedule not the other way around 🙂
When I was growing up, we used the Big Chief red note pads to learn how to write. I still remember that dingy paper & the giant lines in which I was supposed to keep my writing (good luck). When I started using the regular white lined paper, I remember thinking that it seemed like they wasted alot of space on the sides because the Big Chief paper didn’t have the red line on the left – margin. As I continued to refine my writing skills, I started writing smaller & smaller so that I could get more stuff on the page – at one point, my teacher probably needed a microscope to read my writing.
So here are some thoughts on space & time:
margins create clarity – when we try to squeeze everything into a small space or time, everything can get blurry and confusing really fast
while we are designed to be productive and to achieve things, it’s important to maintain balance between workload and breathing room
I’m presently riding home from a brief but very nice mini-vacation in the mountains with my husband. We had a lovely time relaxing, reading & hiking. This get-away has reminded me of the importance of having margins in our lives. My problem is that I tend to run my life in the red zone & squeeze in just “one more thing.”.
So here’s my “do as I say & not as I do” advice for those of us who do life in the red zone: there’s lots of good wisdom with God’s commandment to remember the Sabbath. Making intentional time each week to pause, listen & re-group can help create those essential margins we need to keep from the general engine failure that happens from red zone living 🙂
My kids are officially on Summer Break & oh the joys of no school work, staying home, making pancakes, playing outside, having lemonade stands, being with their friends and so much more!!! Yahoooo!!! I’m also challenging them to read for one hour a week so they keep their reading skills sharp – an important tool for success.
I believe that God gives each of us seasons of rest, but we must be mindful to consider that rest isn’t the same as amusement. For me, rest is constructive. Rest can be creating some space to think, be, listen & connect. Rest can also be the decision to trust that God is bigger than any challenge, hardship, difficulty, darkness or uncertainty. Jesus said that we can come to Him & find rest in Him, the One Who loves the entirety of who you really are 🙂
This morning, I read Psalms 23 and it was super encouraging to my heart! What really stood out to me was the very beginning part when David says that God causes him to lie down in green pastures. This was really soothing because when you look at the verb in the Hebrew, the idea is that God is very much making David to lay down – almost like an enforced pause.
Here’s my thinking on this idea of a pause – I think that many of us run a pretty fast-paced & high-demanding life for lots of different reasons (some good & some lame). Nevertheless, we all need rest, a break, on a consistent basis (more than just the idea of our daily sleep requirement). If we do not integrate a break or rest into our routines (i.e. a weekly Sabbath), then we will find ourselves in a place of “forced rest,” where God causes us to take a pause.
It is super important to have consistent breaks & pauses in our lives for many different reasons:
*a pause helps to clarify our thinking & emotional inputs
*a pause allows us to re-focus our priorities
*a pause provides the space & context for our relationship with God to deepen & grow
*a pause lets us have an opportunity to slow down & listen to God
Three cheers to a busy life with integrated & intentional rest 🙂