“Where are my shoes?” one yells. “Mom, I can’t find my lunch box!” another exclaims as we all scamper around the house trying to get ourselves together so we can get to school and work on time. We juggle schedules. We jump through hoops. We run from one arena of our lives to another. Everything moving, nothing stopping. We are ringmasters of the circus of our lives. We can keep this act up for a while but usually, somewhere along the way, all the plates that we’re spinning come crashing down around us. We discover that we have limits. We were created for more than circus living.
You see, God established a rhythm of work and rest in creation. He spoke the world into being, he formed life, and then he rested. He didn’t rest because he earned it. He took time to enjoy all that he created because it was good. Jesus also provided a model for working and resting. After time spent in crowds with the disciples healing, casting out demons and feeding the five thousand, Jesus frequently created time for solitude and prayer. There was still plenty of urgent work to be done, but Jesus acknowledged even his need to stop and rest. As people who are called to represent Jesus to the world, to be his image-bearers, we need to follow his example of rest.
We find that the problem isn’t necessarily in our working. We were created for that too. The problem comes when we don’t order our priorities to find rest for our bodies and renewal for our spirit and soul. We need to take time to cease working so that we can delight in God and his good gifts. As we turn away from the chaos of our lives and turn toward God, we find refreshment for our souls. It is in him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 7:28). When we allow ourselves time in God’s presence, we create an environment where God can strengthen, heal, refresh and fill us so that we can offer God’s love to others.
How can we create a healthy rhythm of work and rest in our lives? The first thing we can do is to plan regular times to cease working. We need to turn away from our chaotic lives and turn towards God so that we can rest in him and his goodness. We can accomplish this in several ways-turning off screens, spending time in silence with God, reflecting on Scripture, journaling, getting out in nature, taking a nap, or reading a book. We can also experience rest communally by planning a special meal preceded by a Scripture reading, playing games with your children, or welcoming friends and neighbors into your home. The goal is to find activities that connect you with the presence of God, bring you joy, and refresh your mind, body and soul. As we allow ourselves healthy rhythms of work and rest, we create space to be filled by God and are enabled to love others well in our daily lives.
But those who wait for the Lord-who expect, look for, and hope in him- shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.”
~Isaiah 40:31 AMP
**This blog was based upon ideas from The Cultivated Life by Susan S. Phillips and Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. If you are looking for ways cultivate your spiritual life and establish healthy rhythms, these books are great resources!