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The Spirituality of Rest

August 11, 2014

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I was reminded this past month that there is a spirituality in resting. Some of the spirituality of resting is in knowing your own limits. There is wisdom in knowing that you are tired and not at your best. There is wisdom in choosing to stop when you are burned out. There is wisdom in withdrawing from the public eye and engaging only with those who are closest to you. Yes, there is spirituality in this wisdom.

But then, what do you do with the knowledge that you need rest? Its one thing to know that you are weary; it is another altogether to handle that weariness wisely.

What do you do when you need to rest?

Truth be told, I sometimes take a break from some work in order to finally get to the other work that I have been neglecting. That’s not really rest. If I take a day off from work in order to be at home but spend the whole day cleaning out closets and scrubbing floors, have I really rested? If I work from home one day in order to be present to my kids but spend the entire day with my nose in my computer, is that really rest? No. Its not.

How do we rest?

First, I am reminded of the rhythm in Genesis 1: God worked six days and rested on the seventh. God did not work six days at this job and then worked the seventh on another job. God did not work six days and go to the grocery store on the seventh. God rested. All striving ceased for that day. No to-do lists. No productivity charts. No tasks. Just stop. And rest.

Second, resting looks different for different people. Some people rest by laying around and watching movies or reading books all day. Some people rest by creating art work or planting in the garden. Some people rest over a cup of coffee with friends or lingering over a fantastic dinner. The point to resting is to “re-create”.

Third, resting is play. The entire purpose for play is to experiment and find joy. That is rest.

When will you rest this week?

How will you rest this week?

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