Someone recently asked me, “What do you do to find rest?”
My oxymoron reply, “I have to intentionally work to find rest.” Except for the times when life throws me in bed with an illness or unresolved grief, I have to plan for rest.
My strong work ethic was forged on the family farm where every day’s chores began at sunrise. The frenetic pace of milking cows, putting up hay, and bringing in the harvest continued through each season.
Although I still have calluses and sun-ripened freckles to prove how many hours we toiled, I would not give anything for those years. The joy of being outside in nature and the lessons I learned about hard work were priceless.
Still, rest is something I know is important. So I am determined to learn more about how to proactively invite rest into my life.
On Sundays, I take an electronic Sabbath. A break from the digital, refusing to click online to check social media or tweet a response. Sundays are usually the days I lie down for a holy nap—another leftover routine from my childhood. An unconscious stopping of work to intentionally rest.
But what are ways to embrace rest while awake? Does the proactive invite for rest also include an invitation for peace?
A break in the routine underscores emotional rest, part of the reason for Julia Cameron’s suggestion to take an artist date once/week. A date without the goal of productivity but simply the enjoyment of art. To browse through a bookstore or rediscover the magical smell of crayons.
Even a break from the carefully designed life. A Sabbath from the schedule. Perhaps a day for a chocolate treat, a ceasing of counting calories for the enjoyment of flavors and textures. No worries allowed about carbs or fat grams.
One of the least used yet most beneficial ways to rest is to merely sit and do nothing. To shut out the white noise. To enjoy the fading light of a colorful sunset. To meditate on a Psalm or pet a cat, reveling in the warmth of a contented purr.
The tagline of Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove reads, ‘Cultivating a Sunday heart in a Monday world.’ Breedlove writes, “Finding rest requires quiet undeviating focus where we give ourselves time for holy spaces of contemplation.”
As I search for more opportunities to find rest, I reboot my creative and spiritual self. Rest births a chance for finding ourselves without the definition of productive effectiveness. Within moments of rest, we discover our true selves as God created us to be—trusting, content, and whole.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Take a mental rest with some quiet meditations. Day by Day: Hope for Senior Wisdom