My family is going on a significant vacation this week so the blog post this week is about rest.
Americans are generally unhappy now (see article) with only 14% (in 2020) claiming they are ”very happy”, thats down from 31% in 2018. Compounded by the pandemic and all that it has brought I’ve seen folks just angry, tired and grumpy. I know there are many reasons for this but I believe an answer that will help in a lot of cases is rest. Rest, peace filled, breath it all in deeply kind of rest. This type of rest helps us navigate the waters of our life. It doesn’t cure everything and I can only speak from my experience but generally rest does us good. God calls us to rest with rhythm daily, weekly, seasonally. Rest resets our brain and body and helps us start fresh. Problem is most of us are bad at rest.
I used to cut grass in high school and often I would only have weekends to do that work. I was involved in many after school activities. A sweet lady from my congregation named Helen was a client of mine and she wanted her grass cut on a strict schedule. She was very particular about how she wanted her grass cut as well, edges and trimming needed to be precise, if the grass was long even for a day she would call me. All this to say, I
it took me longer to cut her grass and she made sure it was done when and how she wanted it.
My weekly restrictions and Helen’s desire for a well kept lawn sometime would clash and one faithful Sunday after church I tried to cut Helen‘s grass. She had called on a Friday night, but with a soccer tournament on Saturday I wasn’t going to be around. This was a problem for Helen, as Sunday was meant to be a day of rest but her grass was getting long. While I knew she was right about working on the Sabbath and that I shouldn’t even try to go cut her grass on a Sunday, (rather just do it after school on Monday)my do it all attitude ignored her plea and I showed up and started mowing.
Helen was upset, as you might have guessed. I tried to weasel out of it, claiming little time and a busy week but she just kept reminding me the importance of rest. My 16 year old brain didn’t think much about rest, if I’m upright I can work! But to her point and after considerable conversation with her I saw that we are more than our body and rest is meant for every part of us.
My 16 year old self still drives my decision making sometimes. “I can do that, I can lift that, I can join this or do that. Nevermind everything else I’m juggling.” But we are more than the work we do and we are more than the schedule we pack full, we are God’s children. All the busy-ness, all the important meetings and schedules these things are not our prime intention. God wants us to enjoy being enjoyed by God. To take time each day, each week, within seasons of our lives to focus fully and only on our relationship with God and the renewal of our mind body and soul.
Chasing money and success? Jesus makes it quite clear that focusing only on that leads to death (Mark 10:17-27). Overcome with a situation? Jesus encourages us to take a nap (Mark 4: 35-41). And let’s not forget how Jesus encourages us to keep that party going at the wedding in Cana (John 2).
So next time you are at your wits end, wondering how you’re going to do it all remember rest isn’t just an option, it should be a priority. Now excuse me as I go find a hammock. 😊