In His Grip,
Most of us run most of our lives like a totalitarian regime. We are dictators of a toxic culture that combines brutal utilitarianism with self-indulgent waste. This is neither a good way to run a country, nor a healthy way to run a happy life.
Since tiredness depletes us mentally, physically and spiritually, effective rest needs to soothe all three spheres:
1. our thinking
2. our doing
3. our being
So here are some deceptively simple keys to help us all take a real proper rest.
1. RESTING OUR THINKING
Your neural pathways are gridlocked right now - bumper to bumper with horn-honking, fume-breathing truckloads of data. It’s time to get off that hectic highway! Lazy country lanes await a gentler mental journey.
Switch off social media (I’ll be doing this just as soon as I’ve posted this!) Refuse to open emails. Put away those small screens if you possibly can. Slow down. Savour the small. Walk slowly. Talk slowly. Make coffee slowly. Your time off doesn’t have to be incredible. Amazing. Impressive. Allow margin in your day. If you continue living your life at the same pace on a day off that you do the rest of the week - frenetic in your having of fun - then your brain honestly won’t know the difference.
It’s also essential to minimize the number of choices you have to make today. Keep things as simple as you can. And definitely don’t make any big decisions while you’re tired. Your emotions will lie to you most eloquently in the coming hours. This is not the day to quit your job, renounce your faith, or propose to the girl on the bus.
2. RESTING OUR DOING
It’s not just your mind that is exhausted. Your physical body is also hurting. You need to sleep, of course, but also to exercise and eat well in order to rest well. The problem is that, because you have been working hard, you now feel entitled to slob out! But you will feel far happier in your body and clearer in your thinking after physical exercise and healthy food. You will also sleep much better tonight. Aerobic exertion is one of God’s greatest and most neglected ministry gifts to us all.
3. RESTING OUR BEING
And then, of course, your soul needs to be nurtured too. Extremely shy, it prefers quiet days like these and has probably been neglected and depleted of late. It’s entirely possible to return to work after time off with a rested body and a rested mind, but a soul that remains exhausted.
How do we address this? How do we attend to the heartlands of our inner world? Fill the house with music, and moments of deep silence too. Choose a bible verse to accompany you like a friend through the day. Waste time staring at a picture, or scrolling through personal photographs and giving thanks. Read a book (I find poetry especially good because it forces me to read reflectively). Get out in creation under a big sky. Participate in creation by drawing or cooking or making music.
Aim to make the entire day a slow and delightful conversation with the One who knows you best and loves you more than any other. He rested on the seventh day and thereby - according to Rabbi Abraham Heschel - made the architecture of time holy. The Creator is not a workaholic. He is not a slave-driver like Pharaoh. The pillar of cloud stops each evening. The wilderness wanderings take 40 years. Jesus wastes 30 years doing carpentry and going fishing before starting his public ministry. The Good Shepherd “makes me lie down in green pastures.” He makes me! “He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul”.
I totally agree and have been trying to change my time to make it slower. I’ve lived a fast life in Law Enforcement and Military and enjoy my quiet time, slow time and LORD time. It soothes my mind and It quiets the things I’ve seen, heard and smelled. Thank you for todays reminder and reflection.
I am glad that you found something helpful here. I really appreciated the way that Pete framed this call to rest.
I may be wrong, but:: Did Jesus really “waste” his first 30 years? He grew as a human child, youth and young man. Experienced and learned as a human. Then when the time was right began His mission. God could have killed off all the Israelites who were afraid to trust God and take the promised land instead of given them time to see the folly of not following God’s promise? Guess I can’t let my mind “rest”
I think this expression of "Jesus wasting time" is how an earth-centered heart and mind might consider Jesus spending 30 years of ordinary life before 3 years of public ministry. If we are addicted to the idea of being productive, we might wonder what Jesus might of accomplished in 30 years of public ministry. Yet, it seems like Jesus is perfectly in tune with God's timing for his life.