Learning to Rest

Last year our vacation at a cottage

Resting is so hard. At first glance, resting seems easy doesn’t it. You just sit back on your couch, grab some food and a drink, and watch some reality TV. There you’re resting…But is this truly resting?

I think that truly resting, soul-resting, “sabbathing” is much more difficult.

This is the type of rest that isn’t a result of exhaustion, but actually re-energizes you. This type of rest isn’t just about zoning out for an hour, but being aware of all the gift and grace around you. This type of rest isn’t just about not looking at emails, but mentally and emotionally leaving behind all the work baggage as well. This type of rest is spiritual, it is deep, it is important, and it is actually ordered and modeled by God in the Bible. We aren’t supposed to just work, create, and seek progress. We are called to reflect, to pause, and to truly rest. This type of rest isn’t easy but it is not only worthwhile, it is Godly.

Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “Labor is a craft, but perfect rest is an art”

And later this week I’m going to try to perfect that art. I’m going away for a vacation, a sabbath time. Next week for me won’t be about zoning out for a night, but really “zoning into” connecting with my son, my family, and most of all, with God. I’m going to put away my distractions, my emails, and I won’t be blogging and instead I’m going to intentionally seek to create space in both my thoughts and life to connect with my God and my family.

This type of rest is hard, but this is the type of rest that matters. It’s an art worth perfecting because I don’t want to be a pastor, a father, a husband, or a friend for the short-term. I want to be a close friend, committed pastor, loving husband, and connected father for a lifetime. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a long haul. So I will pause, reflect, and rest. The truth is I try to work very hard, and put a lot of effort into my calling. But what type of model would I be for my son, my church, my friends, if I didn’t put that same type of effort into resting, connecting, and reflecting?

So before I get away I have a simple question for you: are you resting? The true deep type of rest I’ve been talking about. Are you taking a sabbath weekly? Are you slowing down to appreciate all you have? Does your life show that you value life / family / and friends or work most? These are hard questions, but important ones, because as Christians we are to look and act like Jesus and God. In this case that means resting.

So this week take a day and perfect the art of sabbath, of resting. Work at it. And I’ll be doing the same…

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