The Hard Work of Rest

I learned many years ago that resting well is not static. It’s a moving target, constantly evolving. For me, that’s what makes rest hard work. It requires attention, diligence and commitment to the ever changing seasons and chapters of our lives. I vividly remember my first sweet “success” at Sabbath Keeping. It became restorative and a highly anticipated weekly event – a celebration in many ways. It refueled me. Recharged. Refreshed.

Then children started arriving. In droves. The apple cart flipped over—in lightening speed. Rest appeared an impossibility, a thing of bygone days. My desire for it never left, but it perceptually landed on the back burner. After a couple years of this losing battle, God in all his goodness and grace allowed me to bottom out. My only crime was fatigue, but the toll on my life and the lives of our children was alarming. In a state of melt-down, Tim met me with a deep compassion. Sobbing harder than our three wailing kids, he pulled me into his arms.

“Brenda, you’re tired. You’re really, really tired, completely worn down. You need a break. It’s that simple.”

With a simple kiss, Tim took off to retrieve my purse, my Bible and the car keys. “Go. It’s time to retreat. We’ll be OK.” Pause. “Don’t come back ’til everyone is asleep.” With that single invitation Tim reminded me to rediscover what I was missing.

Rest is not a matter of convenience, it’s a command and possibly the greatest gift apart from the saving and sanctifying work of God in our lives. My journey back into the rhythms of rest in that new season of parenting was not easy. It was worth the effort, however, in every way. It’s shaped me. It’s shaped our kids. I have come to expect that every new season, every life-transition overturns the apple cart.

Rhythm and rest have to be re-explored again and again with creativity and determination. I am in that place of “apple cart upheaval” once again. My established rhythms are no longer possible. I must create new practices that will allow God to reorient my heart and replenish my reserves. The four-rhythms still apply: Sabbath, Sleep, Stillness (Personal Prayer), Solitude (Personal Retreat) but what these look like at this point in my life will take on a new shape, a new flavor, a new feel to meet the needs this season demands. Grace is required for these in-between times. I have to trust that God will provide for the moment and make a way for rest to be re-established within my life once again . . .

Pray me through.

I’ll do the same for you.

What season of life are you in? What rhythm of rest comes most naturally? Based on your needs and exhaustion, which rhythm of rest, if re-established, would breathe new life into the weary chambers of your heart?

Reposted from 11/5/2013

 

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2 thoughts on “The Hard Work of Rest

  1. Ah, Brenda, rest! How gracious is our God! When I was first a Christian I love the liturgical service. The words and melody drew me closer to God. In time, it became rote, as often happens. I still love the words and melody, but have had to find new and different avenues to work with me. Rest would be the same. If we find God in a place, then we come to worship the place. God is creative and so are we. Let’s open that part up and seek the new places He wants to explore. Prayers always. Rest!

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