Choose your rest

Note: This post is part of our original series on rest. We are reposting some of our favorite articles because we believe they’re just as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh new way. 

clarity comes from quiet times off the beaten pathWhy Rest?

In the last months of her life, I met a woman named Kathryn, wife and mother of two lovely young girls. Kathryn was fighting colon cancer. We were both newcomers to a Sunday morning Bible study. Her family was new to Indiana. My family was new to the church. I found Kathryn’s approach to life captivating. I wanted to get to know her, but I was hesitant. Wouldn’t she be guarded with her days?

Kathryn, could we have lunch some time?”

Oh Brenda, I would love to! For the first time in my life, I am a person with time.”

My surprise over the use of her words, “I am a person with time” must have registered on my face. She smiled warmly and placed her hand on my arm. “I finally have time for everything that really matters.”

Are you a person with time, time for everything at really matters?

Run hard. Rest well. is a ministry designed to encourage people to explore the use of time.

Time for rest.

Time for work.

Why rest?

Clarity. My friend Kathryn understood, with clarity, the purpose of her life. That understanding brought energy, delight, and focus to her days. These gifts can be ours, but too often guilt gets in the way. It’s a roadblock of monumental proportions. In the last post I mentioned there are eight roadblocks to rest. We took a look at six. Are you ready for number seven?

Guilt.

Guilt routinely dismantles our rest.

Guilt routinely blurs our calling, disrupting clarity and focus.

As caring, gifted, responsive people we are aware of needs and drawn to opportunities. For some of us, the needs of others and the wealth of golden opportunities before us flash like neon lights. Compelled to respond, we end up pulled in many directions, spread too thin, in over our heads.

Can you relate?

Guilt is a driving force behind much of our exhaustion. A remarkable story about guilt is tucked into the very first chapter of Mark. I missed its message for the first 40 years of my life, but it will act as a rudder for the next 40.

Jesus visited Simon’s home where his mother-in-law was sick in bed. Jesus healed her and the news spread quickly (Mark 1:29-38). That evening the whole town gathered at their door. Jesus ministered to each one late into the night. Waking up early the next morning, Jesus slipped away to a quiet place to be alone with his Father. As the sun rose, a fresh batch of people gathered at the house. As long minutes ticked into hours, frustration grew among the people. A group of disciples was sent out to search for Jesus. When they found him, they announced, “Everyone is looking for you!”

Can you hear their intent to instill guilt? I can.

The people waiting at the house had legitimate needs and a real desire to meet Jesus. Yet listen to Jesus’ reply.

Let us go somewhere else…”

What?! Those were real people with real needs and Jesus was going to turn his back on them?

Yes.

As painful as that truth is, Jesus refused to be guilt-driven. Jesus chose, every step of the way, to be Spirit-led. Jesus’ holy yes to God’s plan for that morning meant an earthly no to real people with real needs.

Were those people disappointed? Yes. Devastated? Likely. Did God leave them out in the cold? No, not for a moment. I do not know how, when or where, but God in all his sovereignty had a plan for their lives—plans to pursue, heal, restore. Maybe that timing was going to unfold 3 hours later, 3 months later or 30 years later. I don’t know. But God did.

Will I trust him? Jesus did.

Why rest? Why slip away to a quiet hillside to watch the sun rise? Why schedule a day with margin in mind? Why take a walk? Why take a break? Because clarity is birthed in calm. This account of Jesus’ life reminds us that clarity comes from quiet times off the beaten path.

This week when a need arises or an opportunity comes knocking on your door consider these three suggestions:

  1. Stop. Refuse to answer on the spot. Reply, “Let me get back to you.” Then pray. Listen carefully. If you are living with little margin, any “yes” will demand a “no” to something, whether you want it to or not. What will that be? Face the truth.
  2. Know your mission for the season of life you are now living. Name it. Claim it. Be incredibly sensitive and prayerful about any “yes” outside its domain.
  3. Following Jesus’ lead, remind yourself that saying “yes” or “no” requires direction from the Holy Spirit. It takes conviction, vision and stamina, but it produces joy, confidence and a work of God that far exceeds the guilt-driven yeses we are often inclined to give.

Why rest?

The call of your life depends on it.

Mine, too.

There is so much more to explore on this topic, but the first step is about choice.

What kind of rest will you choose? 

Guilt-driven?

Spirit-led?

God appointed.

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

That Which Refreshes

Note: This post is part of our original series on rest. We are reposting some of our favorite articles because we believe they’re just as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh new way. 

Roadblocksrest refreshes

Buried in the collective mindset of Western culture and deep within our own hearts is the notion that rest is not an activity for the movers and shakers of this world. Rest is not for the vibrant and passionate, but for the decrepit who live in “rest homes” and for the dead who we encourage to “rest in peace.”

Still, we all can attest to a very real need for rest. It bears down upon us with a crushing force. So we flirt with rest. Entertainment and escape top the list. Entertainment (TV, movies, sporting events, digital gadgets, etc.) is a part of rest, when enjoyed in moderation. Too often, however, it’s the sole beneficiary of our attention. In excessive doses, these activities do not refresh, recharge or refuel.

Escape is another thing. There is a darkness to escape. These activities are often done in secret and we become caught in their grip. In the end they leave us empty and reeling, often unraveling all we hold dear.

Why do entertainment and escape get the best of our attention? Because we do not have a theology of rest so we fall back on the definition of rest sculpted and crafted by the world, a definition focused on entertainment and escape.

What is your definition of rest? Have you ever spent time thinking that through?

If we dig a little deeper, what factors influence your definition of rest?

There are eight heavy hitters. We’re going to take a look at six today:

  1. The Puritan Work Ethic America was founded on a value of work chiseled into the core of our being. Hard work and delayed rewards built a strong, growing economy. This value of work is seen in our ideas concerning vacation. Many Americans are excited about getting away for a long weekend. Many Europeans on the other hand, value vacations lasting two, three, four weeks in length. Different mindsets. Different values.

  1. Home Life Did your parents place a high value on work and accomplishment? Or did they have a more relaxed approach to life? There’s a good chance their values rubbed off on you. More is caught than taught. There’s a good chance, too, that if your parents valued hard work, your sense of self-esteem might hinge on your sense of accomplishment. Is that you?

  1. Your Personality We are wired from birth—fearfully and wonderfully made. Are you known more (not exclusively) for being “responsible and organized” or “fun-loving, relaxed or imaginative?” Both tendencies have unique gifts to offer the world of work and rest. For a deeper look into this topic, visit the drop-down menu called Personality Matters located in the tab Digging Deeper. You have a natural bent. Understanding that bent and the deeply held convictions it breeds is important work on the journey to rest.

  1. The Church The church teaches us to love, serve, forgive, tithe, and pray, but have you ever been taught how to rest? Rest well? It’s an area where the church falls painfully short. Rest is not valued, prioritized or modeled by our leaders and mentors. Few take the road less traveled.

  1. Our Disregard and Contempt for Limits Mindy Caliguire, founder of Soul Care, reminds us that our “refusal to live within our ‘God-designed’ limits is the root of many evils in our lives.” Here’s my favorite quote from her. Do I frequently desire to be more than I am? My calendar reveals this issue in my life. When scheduling I’m not always realistic about the limits of my time or energy. And as a result, my ‘masked’ self (super-human self), who does not want to disappoint others or wishes to appear more capable, says “yes” to too many things. My ‘masked’ self has agreed to something my real self cannot sustain. As hard as it is for me to face, this kind of refusal to live within my ‘God-designed’ limits is the root of many evils in my life (creating for me a life that is) unmanageable at a level far deeper than the appearance of my closets. Amen to that truth. We have to ask ourselves, “Do I consider my need for rest and replenishment a design flaw?” It’s one of the most important questions I’ve had to ask myself and I’ve had to ask it more than once.

  1. The Myth of a Calmer Tomorrow We’ve all said it. We all believe it. “I’ll take a break when…this project wraps up…when the kids are back in school…when summer comes…when summer is over…” We try to convince ourselves that the end of “this madness, this relentless pace” is in sight. But that hope forever lingers on the horizon, eternally out of our grasp.

Rest. A definition I’ve come to live by is very simple. Rest is doing that which refreshes. This idea was planted by God in my heart through Moses in Exodus 23:12 (NIV). It resonates deep within.

What is your definition of rest? What does rest look like in your life?

What roadblocks stand in your way? External realities play a role (no doubt!), but how often are we hindered by internal beliefs and baggage that stand in the way?

Were you able to carve out time this past week to do something that delights you?

Will you commit to doing something this week that will refresh you—10, 20, 30 minutes worth? Anything. Something refreshing.

You won’t be disappointed.

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

What’s Your Price Tag?

Note: This post is part of our original series on rest. We are reposting some of our favorite articles because we believe they’re just as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh new way. 

choose to restThere is a price to be paid for our chronic exhaustion.  For some people it’s apparent in the here and now: fleeting joy, fragmented relationships. Sometimes it comes and goes: bouts of sleepless nights, depression, illness.  Some people seemingly sail through their overload, but in the end 5, 15 or 30 years are extracted from their lives.

What’s the cost of your overload? 

Is it worth the price tag?

Ask Yourself Honestly

Three important questions come to mind when I take a look at the future state of my rest and unrest.

What do I need?

What do I want?

Am I willing to pay the price? 

What do I need?  A lot.  The dentist tells me I need to floss.  My doctor tells me I need to lose 15 pounds.  The government tells me I need to pay my taxes.  My kids tell me I need to dye the gray out of my hair.

Since our basic needs for clean water, food, safety and shelter are typically met, most of my needs are really a matter of wants. My wants are driven by 1) my pursuit of a reward or 2) my desire to avoid negative consequences.

Seeking the reward or suffering the consequence of flossing (or not flossing), dieting/exercising or dyeing my hair have not yet risen to the top of my to do list.  Paying taxes is not a want, but I seek to avoid the painful consequences, so I am willing to pay the price of seeing that it gets done.

The real question behind needs and wants in modern society is: Am I willing to pay the price?

There is a price to be paid for our exhaustion.

There is a price to be paid for our restoration.

Rest does not come free.

It requires a radical revision of thinking and beliefs. It demands an alteration of how life unfolds. The cost is high.  It’s painful to face the reality of our own limits.  It’s brutal to disappoint others and perhaps, even more brutal to disappoint ourselves.  But the consequences of not attending to our basic needs for rest are staggering.  The rewards are out of this world.

The first step I’d like you to consider is a very short inventory and assessment. James A. Garfield once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it might make you miserable.This inventory is short.  Very short.  I hate tests.  I hate the time they take.  I also recognize test anxiety.  When I take a test I know what an inventory is looking for so authentic results can be easily skewed. I’ve kept this in mind in case you’re like me.

Assessment

Are you happy?  (Joy, yes.  But are there things in your life that make you happy?)

Are you healthy?

Are you holy?  (Think fruit. Self-control, patience, goodness, love…)

Are you whole?  (How wide is the gap between your public self and private world?)

The real key to this four-question assessment is to hand it off to someone who knows you well.  It may give you a more accurate (however painful) assessment.  I double dutch dare you.  It might even launch a very intriguing conversation.

Inventory

Place a check mark in front of every question that is 100% true.  This is a snapshot of your life today, not all time and eternity.  It gives you information about this moment in time.

  1. ____ In the last 4 weeks I’ve enjoyed 4 days off—days that were refreshing and care-free…with minimal “work” around the house.
  2. ____ This last week I’ve had five nights of 7-8 hours of sleep.
  3. ____ I experience the Presence of God on a regular basis in personal devotions. (I spend much time talking to God, as I do about God each week.)
  4. ____ I took a full-day of personal retreat in the last 6 months.
  5. ____ I enjoyed 4 evenings this last week with no out-of-the-home obligations.
  6. ____ I took all my vacation time last year.

____ Total check marks

Scores

Score: 0-3  You are running on the fumes of an empty tank whether you realize it or not.  There’s a better way.  It’s found in the rhythm—run hard. rest well.  A paradigm shift must take place in your heart.  Rest is not a sign of weakness.  It is a gift, a grace, a rhythm of life for those who surrender all—including the time it takes to rest.  The vibrancy of your ministry, the well-being of your soul and the health of your family depend on it.

Score:  4  You are familiar with rejuvenating aspects of rest and renewal (well done good and faithful servant!), but gaps remain.  You know how to run hard and you are aware of what it means to rest well.  Now take a look at your physical, emotional, spiritual, relational reserves. What are your strengths?  Where can you improve?  Expand your horizons.  What needs attention?  Explore how “resting well” will bring new realms of vibrancy to an area where you’re serving with a self-imposed limp. 

Score: 5-6  Ah! The life-giving rhythms of rest are established in your life.  You have adopted God’s ways and not the worlds.  The fruit of well-being is yours to enjoy—and pass along to others.  Stay the course.  Your life is a walking billboard.  Be intentional about sharing the story of your journey into the rhythms of rest.  You have a remarkable opportunity to light the way.

Rest.  Do you need it?  Do you want it?  Are you willing to pay the price it demands?

This week, set aside a block of one to three hours to – not work.  Plan for it.  Anticipate it.  Guard it.  The only requirement of this time is to do something that brings delight. Splurge on a special cup of coffee.  Have lunch with a friend.  Make a date with your pillow. Get outside.  Turn off your phone.  Release yourself from all demands.  Step into this time completely, utterly guilt-free.  Why?

Because rest is holy.

The first thing God called holy was not himself, the act of worship or the splendor of creation.  The first thing God called holy was time set apart to rest (Genesis 2:3).

When I choose to rest, I am participating in what God calls holy.

Rest. Taste and see. 

Do you need it?  Do you want it?  Are you willing to engage in that which is holy?

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

The Rest Revolution

Note: This post is part of our original series on rest. We are reposting some of our favorite articles because we believe they’re just as important today as ever. We hope you’re challenged to think of rest in a fresh new way. Rest is near and dear to the heart of God

Rest is near and dear to the heart of God, yet glaringly absent from our lives.

We know how to run hard.

We don’t know how to rest well.

Bottom line – rest is not a reward.

You can’t earn it.

You don’t deserve it.

It’s not a sign of weakness or inability. Rest is a matter of obedience, stewardship and delight. It’s a priority (a call to sanity) that is too important to neglect any longer.

Why?

Rest equips us to the run the race in a power not our own and it’s time for God’s people to engage—guilt-free.

Will you join us on this journey to revolutionize rest?

What’s your greatest challenge with rest? We’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Facebook – join the conversation! 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

Weak and Empty

The thought captivated me.Weak and empty not a crime

“More than knowing Him, God wants me to need Him.”

I know Him. Do I need Him? Do I acknowledge that need?

On a regular basis I need direction, hope, courage, healing, truth, land love. We need all that and more, but there’s a need in our lives we often fail to identify. We are desperately needy. We are finite and prone to emptiness.

Our tanks run dry.

Our bodies fail.

Our souls wither.

We need to be filled, fueled, fortified. Our mountain trek is too hard, too daunting, too demanding. It requires more than we have. Running weak and empty is not a crime. Say that out loud. Running weak and empty is not a crime. In this truth there is no shame. Being empty is a daily, weekly reality. It’s a way of life and it’s a beautiful way of life. Why? Because it causes us to come empty handed to the One who is Infinite and Able. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says it best.

Starting next week, we’re relaunching a series of blog posts, which invite us to a life of rhythm and rest, where running hard is a joy and resting well is a commitment we are no longer willing to forfeit. These posts explore the practical “how to’s” of rest for the 21st century with 4 biblical rhythms: Sabbath, Sleep, Stillness (personal prayer) and Solitude (personal retreat).

2015 stands before us. Are you up for a challenge?

  1. Pray about it. It’s an invitation that will take you out of the desert into the Promised Land. It requires a leap of faith, however. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  2. Make it an expedition, not just a journey. Ask a friend, a coworker, your spouse, your small group to sign up for the blog and join you. Embracing the motto Run hard. Rest well. is a counter-cultural move. The buddy system creates an arena for dialogue, encouragement and accountability…key factors in turning our desire for change into a reality of transformation.
  3. Continue to pray. As rhythms of rest take hold of your life, you will become a natural model and mentor for others, an opportunity that is both a privilege and a responsibility. Learning how to rest well sets us up for a life of treasures instead of trinkets.

Now to Him who is able to to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us us… Ephesians 3:20

Amen!

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.