On Keeping the Sabbath

We are taking a few weeks to revisit some of the foundational posts from the early days of Run Hard. Rest Well. This post continues our look at stress and cortisol. We started last week with ways to tweak the way we interact with stress. Read along and then join the conversation – tell us about your default in the comments or on Facebook.

The work of surrender is mine – surrendering up the hours of my days and weeks.

The work of transformation is his.

No doubt about it.

We find this promise of God’s workmanship in our lives in Ezekiel 36.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited. Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it. Ezekiel 36: 26-27, 33-36

The promise is trustworthy. The transformation will be visible.

Our lives will be rebuilt, cultivated, fortified, replanted.

White flags are easy to come by, but hard to raise.

Do you have the strength it takes?

Don’t worry, God does for “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” (Philippians 1:6)

The power of this week’s theme is not in the words I’ve shared, but what you and God will do behind closed doors or out in the open with a very close friend.
Start with Daniel 9:4-19.

Finish up with Ezekiel 36:26-38.

Knee pads are recommended, but not required.

Is This Your 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 must follow conviction

conviction - confessionConfession

When it comes to embracing the rhythm and rest of Sabbath Keeping, conviction is likely the first step, but the next step is always confession. It’s where the rubber hits the road.

Confession means agreeing with God.

It’s a very simple, powerful, God-directed interior redesign. We make it hard, however.

When we are confronted by the fact that we fall short of God’s best, we often sidetrack confession. Instead of starting on our knees, we make a plan for making things better. Feeling convicted and guilty we want to right the wrong. We want to save face. Amend our ways.

Jesus followers are not really accustomed to grace. It makes us squirm. We talk about it, but we try to live without it.

The prodigal son did just that. Hungry, gaunt and broken he recognized he made a wrong turn. Instead of simply walking home to where he belonged, he made a plan (Luke 15). “I’ll work for my father. I’ll feed the pigs. Surely he’ll comply.” We like to be in control, especially when we come up broke, with egg on our face.

When I was first convicted of my “9 Commandment” form of following Jesus, I bypassed confession and moved right into rectification. I was going to make things right. Do Sabbath the way I should. Boom. Bang. All set. Case closed.

I moved into my Sabbath Keeping with conviction, but also confusion and loads of disappointment. There are a number of reasons why my first 108 days of remembering the Sabbath were miserable, but a critical first mis-step was bypassing confession.

I failed to fall on my knees. Instead I justified, blamed and planned.

By God’s grace (in the arena of Sabbath Keeping and many other areas) I’ve learned when conviction sets in, I need to name it and claim it.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

When it’s an issue that has a vice grip on my heart, I need to share it with another person. I need to say it out loud.

There’s something powerful about an out-loud confession (James 5:16). It releases the power of God into my transformation. An out-loud confession invites me to be honest. It’s painful. It lays me low. It’s a place of vulnerability and deep surrender. It is life-giving.

God meets me, arms opened wide. He pulls me into an embrace on his terms, not mine.

The generosity and extravagance of God’s love redefines me, the moment, and my future.

Is the Lord shining a light on your Sabbath Keeping? Does he want something more for you through it? Does he want something more for himself because of it?

Like a chunk of your heart and the focus of your affection?

When the time is right, find the prayer in Daniel 9:4-19 and make it your own. Don’t measure your ability or desire to change your ways. This moment is not about the future. It’s about meeting God with the white flag flying. Come empty handed – recognizing and confessing that you have forgotten to remember, honor, delight in a day God made for you and him to enjoy together. This is where the rubber hits the road. When it does, you’ll find yourself standing on Holy Ground.

Is This Your 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.

How to Help

RestWhen people learn how to rest well, they learn how to live well. Rest fills our bucket with the best God has to offer. The result? We have something real and substantial to offer the world. Death by overload is a miserable way to die. There’s a better way and people are hungry for it. In the last 90 days, people from 23 countries have been to the blog to learn about resting well.

Run Hard. Rest Well. Inc. is an IRS recognized nonprofit. We have our first employee (not me) and a remarkably gifted, passionate team. We also have a legal advisor, as well as medical, educational, and research advisors all with MDs or PhDs. God has said GO and we are running the race together with much joy. But this team needs to GROW.

Here are 3 ways you can help:

Pray. Your prayers have carried me, my family, and the RHRW message to the foot of the Throne for years. That must continue. It is the greatest gift you can give.

Share. Do you know people running on empty?  Invite them to join the journey. Word-of-mouth sharing has long been a powerful tool for growth and now with the added muscle of social media it really is an incredible way to help spread the RHRW message. Every time you tell a friend or share one of our posts our efforts are amplified a little more.

Give. As a non-profit ministry your gift to RHRW is tax deductible. It’s challenging, but I find it exciting to invite God’s people to work together to help RHRW gain traction to move full steam ahead. We’ve been given a $10,000 matching gift and so far we’ve reached 62% of that goal. If you are able to give a gift by March 31 it will be matched, dollar for dollar, helping RHRW to go where God chooses to take us. There are 2 ways to give:

  • Visit our giving site  This is a secure, reputable, and easy to use site. You will immediately receive verification of your tax deductible gift.
  • Send a check:
    Run Hard. Rest Well. Inc.
    1596 S. 150 W.
    Albion, IN 46701

Our 2015 goals:

  1. A team launch that is founded on core values reflecting the heart & mission of God.
  2. A world-wide website resource ministry that will grow from 1,000 to 5,000 people.
  3. A new website with new resources!
  4. Introducing 200 leaders in  Indiana to Vantage Point through six retreat conferences this spring and fall. (Vantage Point is an innovative model of wellness – biblical and transformational –  targeting leaders of non-profit ministries, churches and faith-based businesses. To learn more, visit the website soon.
  5. Secure two significant, exciting grants for 2016.

My friends, with joy and in the power of the Holy Spirit, may we run with perseverance the race marked out for us!

Fondly,
Brenda and The Team!

Remember the Sabbath

A peek into God's Word gives us a peekGod says, “Remember the Sabbath.”

I forget.

I forget a lot.

Even though this commandment gets little attention, it’s an easy one to “keep” by most standards. You to church and 60 minutes later the duty is done, Sabbath is kept.

Most of us don’t even know what we’re missing.

To combat my propensity for forgetfulness, I’ve discovered some insights that help me remember: truth, confession, focus.

Truth

A peek into God’s Word gives us a peek into God’s heart.

Last words carry some weight, some clout.

When Moses came off Mt. Sinai (the first time) after his 40 day encounter with the Living God, take note of God’s final instructions to Moses.

12 The Lord then gave these instructions to Moses: 13 “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.15 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. 16 The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. 17 It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed.’”’” Exodus 31:12-13, 15-17

Remembering that Sabbath is Commandment #4(*) – Exodus 20. The first three commandments speak about our relationship with God. The final six speak about our relationship with people. Number four is the bridge. Sabbath keeping impacts our walk with God and our walk with each other. My children will attest to this fact. Mama’s a whole lot easier to live with when she’s rested and refreshed.

When it comes to Sabbath keeping, God pulled out his highlighter. More than once. He added exclamation points in all five books of the Torah and throughout the entire Old Testament. Outside of idolatry, it seems to be a commandment near and dear to the heart of God.

Moses seemed to get the point. First chance he got, Moses shared what was most pressing on God’s agenda and his.

Then Moses called together the whole community of Israel and told them, “These are the instructions the Lord has commanded you to follow. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord.…” Exodus 35:1-2a

The truth is – God takes Sabbath quite seriously.

Reflection

  • Where does Sabbath fall on God’s priority list?

  • Where does it fall on yours?

  • Allow the Spirit free and full reign.

Don’t jump ahead to the “how in the world would this work?” Just focus on the Word. More on this topic will be coming your way in 3 shorter posts, instead of a single long one. I want this exploration to be insightful, practical and user-friendly in every way.

(*) When most Christians number the Ten Commandments, Sabbath Keeping comes up #4. Lutheran and Catholic believers recognize it as #3.

Is This Your 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.

14 Ideas to Combat Cortisol

We are taking a few weeks to revisit some of the foundational posts from the early days of Run Hard. Rest Well. This post continues our look at stress and cortisol. We started last week with ways to tweak the way we interact with stress. Read along and then join the conversation – tell us about your default in the comments or on Facebook.

duty-delight

The Definition of Insanity has played a part in altering the terrain of my life and heart on a number of occasions. Have you ever heard it?

The Definition of Insanity is doing what you’ve always done, but expecting different results. (Taken from the Basic Text of Narcotics Anonymous 1983.) It’s given me pause more than once—especially in the arena of cortisol overload.

Last week we spoke of easy tweaks. This week we need to roll up our sleeves and dig in, but you will find most of these suggestions deal with delight more than duty.

Try

  • Take Five. Go outside intentionally. Five simple, quiet minutes outside enhanced the well-being of people fighting depression, across the board. It was an astounding finding. Set a timer. Go. Step outside. Look for the moon. Watch a bird or a bug. Listen to the wind. You won’t be disappointed. Every day—eight weeks.

  • Give yourself a bedtime – for one week. If you’re a guy, start the process 10 minutes ahead of time. If you’re a woman, make it an hour. Assess and repeat.

  • Drink all the caffeine you want – before 1 pm.

  • Make sure all snacks have some protein. If a snack is all carbs, the sugar slump will lay you low. (Same goes for meals, especially breakfast.)

  • Take a 10-20 power nap. Do some deep breathing while you’re at it.

  • Daniel prayed 3 times a day. Do a Daniel. We too easily forget that God is near, attentive, Almighty, compassionate. His Presence makes a difference.

  • Cuddle. The warmth of sustained contact puts us on the fast-track of cortisol reduction.

  • Read the Serenity Prayer twice every day. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” (Reinhold Niebuhr 1892–1971)

  • Don’t forget to breathe. Do it now. Breathe out through your mouth. In through your nose. Use your abdominal muscles. Keep your shoulders low. Don’t let them rise.

Train

  • We were made to move. Exercising 20-30 minutes most days is a tremendous reducer of cortisol. Tremendous. Walking is a great place to start. Don’t have 30 minutes? Walk for 10 minutes morning and evening. Invite God to join you. He’s been known to do that (Genesis 3:8).

  • Learn the art of massage. Give them. Receive them. Back rubs. Hand. Feet. Ears. Scalp. Face. Touch is a powerful thing.

  • Are you discouraged by how little you get done each day? That fact increases cortisol production. Chunk your time in order to tackle a project. Allow no digital distraction. No email. No phone calls. No facebook. No twitter. Some larger engineering companies recognized that productivity was waning among workers, yet hours-on-the-job were increasing. Mandatory “silent/no tech” times upped productivity and lowered work hours. Give it a try.

  • Are you carrying a heavy load of past hurts? Do what you need to do to set healing into motion. Unhealed wounds fester. The cortisol damage is insidious.

  • Evenings. Create and guard quiet nights at home. Mark them on your calendar. Feel no guilt when something else surfaces. Simply reply, “I’m sorry, I have a prior commitment – to SANITY!”

Sleep

Cortisol wreaks havoc on our sleep. 60% of Americans wrestle with insomnia occasionally or regularly. Does the shoe fit? The lack of sleep is devastating. People who get less than 6 hours of sleep at night have a 50% increase of cortisol the next day. Working HARD at getting 7-8 restorative hours of sleep most nights will place you light-years ahead on the road to rest and restoration. Prioritize sleep – for you and everyone in your family. Check out the website below. It’s a wealth of compassionate care, insightful truth and helpful resources.

www.insomnia-free.com

Cortisol.

What is a manifestation of insanity in your life?

Are you ready to try cortisol reduction?

Will it be duty or delight?

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.