My husband is nicer when he comes home muddy.
He’s actually nice all the time. But when he’s been out on his mountain bike with nothing but his thoughts and the great wide open, and he comes home splattered and shattered and sweaty, he is, paradoxically, energised. He has regained his passion and perspective and sense of humour.
Hebrews 4 talks about entering God’s rest – that God’s rest is for those who believe. I’ve been challenged over the last few months about the spiritual importance of resting. ‘Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer’ (Luke 5:16), and he also cooked breakfast for his friends on the beach now and then (John 21). How am I resting? Actually – am I resting?
Life – particularly family life in amidst city life – is a frenetic bourgeoning of activities and obligations and online distractions that rival our real world realities. It’s easy to use busyness as a cover – to shroud ourselves in a feel-good kind of I’m-so-busy-I-must-be-successful aura. It’s also easy to develop a Messiah complex (i.e. ‘These people need me. I have to be there / do this / tweet that / etc.’) and to forget that we are least like the Messiah when we are frazzled and overwrought.
It’s super hard to find time for R&R – even to find time for five hours of uninterrupted snoozing. I know. I have two toddlers and a job. I’ve blogged here about my desperate efforts to stay at least slightly fit, for example. But we can’t wallow self-pityingly in our tub of decisions (because we decide to be busy, most of the time). At the risk of adding yet another obligation, it might be worth praying over your phone calendar or diary to see where you can create what Bruce Collins calls margins for rest.
Here’s another thought. Rest was designed to precede work, not the other way around. ‘And there was evening, and there was morning’ (Genesis 1) – the next day. I found this kind of revolutionary – the fact that we should move from rest into work. Rather than being two days of recovery, a chilled weekend could in fact prepare us for the (invariably hectic) week ahead.
They sound kind of cheesy when I say them out loud, but these are the ‘rest ideas’ that I’ve tried to implement this year – with some but not total success:
Read beautiful books
Bake new recipes
Write haikus in coffee shops
Spend time outside every day
Watch a sunrise or sunset once a week
Go for a facial every month or so
These are things I love doing, and they are things that leave me nicely muddy – rested – away from my engrossing passions of teaching and writing and people.
What do you think? Leave a comment, and let me know how you rest. I feel I’ve got a way to go before getting this right.