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.

Where do you default?

Where do you default-We are taking a few weeks to revisit some of the foundational posts from the early days of Run Hard. Rest Well. Today we’re looking at stress and cortisol. Understanding how they are at work in our lives and steps we can take to maintain a balance are key to establishing a lifestyle of rest. Read along and then join the conversation – tell us about your default in the comments or on Facebook.

Stress.

I hate that word. It rises up and slaps me in the face.

Hard.

It reminds me that I am not in control.

I long to face life with grace, grit and determination. Unhindered. Free. But all too often, whether the world sees it or not, the stress of life lands me on my butt.

That’s OK. Stress is not actually the enemy. Cortisol is.

Cortisol is a hormone produced in our adrenal glands. Under normal circumstances our body regulates a daily cycle of cortisol. It pumps out the highest levels in the morning to prepare us for the day ahead. It hits a low as we get ready to sleep, preparing our bodies for the sweet land of slumber.

Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone.” Our body releases an extra dose of cortisol when a tension filled situation arises (a fight or flight event). A short-term release of extra cortisol makes a positive impact on the body. It improves memory, reduces our sensitivity to pain and increases energy and stamina. In quick, short doses cortisol is a knight in shining armor.

Prolonged over-exposure to cortisol – whether it’s a constant trickle or a relentless fire hose – is a dragon breathing down our back. The effects are corrosive and daunting.  Read more…

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.