Rest | Practice #7

The practice we will consider next may surprise you. It follows very well on the heels of sabbath keeping though. You might think, I am at home all the time and all I do is hang around and rest. But I know for myself and hear from so many others, that sleep is interrupted and they are feeling a level of anxiety and dis- ease, even though they aren’t doing their normal “schedule” and routine. We need rest, a deep and true rest. A professor from Fuller seminary years ago named Arch Hart said, “People in a hurry never have time for recovery. Their minds have little time to meditate and pray so that problems can be put in perspective. In short,” he says, “ people in our age are showing signs of physical and psychological disintegration because we are living at a pace that is too fast for one’s bodies.” While we may recognize that truth, there is a truth when we stop the pace, or are forced to do so because of this pandemic, we still can’t find a true rest. We busy ourselves, or our mind and spirit are flooded- with questions, worries, whatever. And so we will look at a spiritual practice you may think you are doing be default, but it takes intentionality.

Spiritual Practice: Rest

Scriptures: Psalm 116:7; Deuteronomy 33:12; Psalm 62:1; Matthew 11: 28

Practice Includes:  Intentionally setting aside time, unhurried time to be rested and refreshed rather than work- Sabbath keeping; stopping do activities that drain you or demand something of you like- cleaning, taxes, work; setting margins throughout the day- breathe prayers help us remember to rest with God; keeping company with Jesus- giving Him your time, your hurry, your busyness, your propensity to work; developing a rhythm of rest and work in your day to day life; resting every day, every week, every year with intentionality- planning for it; patterning your life so that your spirit, body and emotions can push ‘pause’ to just BE. 

Potential Fruits: Being with Jesus; Asking Jesus to help you and look for His invitations to truly rest- like being yoked (see Matthew 11); taking time to delight~ delight in God, delight in your family, delight in the season, delight in God’s creation, delight in the taste of your food; your mind, body and spirit get a ‘reset’; truly resting with God helps us see ourselves and our true identity- as God’s beloved, not because of what we do but rather because of who we are.

A few questions to ponder about the practice: What makes you tired or exhausted?; do you work past your limits?; where  and when do you most deeply rest? who/what helps you rest?; if you were to write down what a perfect day of rest looks like, what would it include?; can you intentionally place yourself in the presence of God and then do something you delight in- go for a walk, listen to some music, take a nap, read a book, etc. how does that feel like rest for you? Can you plan for that a few times this week? Is the spiritual practice of “play” (see spiritual practice #5) related to the spiritual practice of “rest”?

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