Hope Searches for Rest

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.tea cup - flower - journal

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 throughout each season.

Although I still have calluses and sun-ripened freckles to prove how many hours we toiled, I wouldn’t give anything for those years.

The joy of being outside and the lessons I learned about hard work were  priceless.

Still, rest is something I know is important. So I am determined to learn how to proactively invite rest into my life.

On Sundays, I take a break from the digital, refusing to click online to check emails or tweet a response. Sundays are usually the days I lie down for a nap – another leftover routine from my childhood. An unconscious stopping of work to intentionally rest.

But what are ways to embrace rest while awake? Doesn’t the proactive invite for rest also include an invitation for peace?

A break in the routine underscores rest which is 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 re-discover the magical smell of crayons.

Even a break from the carefully designed life. Perhaps a day for a chocolate treat, a ceasing of counting calories for the enjoyment of flavors and textures. No worries about carbs or fat grams.

One of the least used yet most beneficial ways to rest is to merely sit and do nothing. To enjoy the fading light of a colorful sunset, listen to a classical aria, meditate on a Psalm or pet a cat, revel 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 want to 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.

©2018 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

Find out more about the topic of Hope in Hope Shines – now available also in Large Print.

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Rejuvenate with the Holy Nap

People either laugh at me or stare when I tell them about my holy naps.

I guard my Sabbath. Because I work about 60 hours/week and much of that involves ministry, I need to observe the 4th Commandment. I desperately need rest on Sundays.

Yes, I go to church and then usually, I spend some quality time with my son. The rest of the day is for rest and about an hour of that includes the holy nap.sleeping puppy

Naps are under-rated. We demand them of our young children, because we know that rest helps them grow and thrive.

But why not also for adults? A restorative nap of even 10 minutes can help refresh our minds and hearts.

So what happens during a holy nap? How is it different from a regular siesta in the middle of the day?

For me, it’s more than physical rest. My holy nap also involves handing over to God the burdens that have been placed on me during the week: crises in people’s lives, the uncertainties of our times, Mom’s Alzheimer’s.

We sometimes forget that ministers need encouragement, too. Reverend G reminds us that “Life is a puzzle. As we age, life adds layers to our personalities and our experiences. We learn more about trusting God, then we begin to see the great cycle of history play out in our genes. But Alzheimer’s, dementia and other crises exfoliate us. They takes away the layers of life until we’re back to childhood, no longer wise.”   http://amzn.to/11QATC1

So during my holy nap, I lay down the burdens of the week. I rest in the arms of God, usually starting with a prayer where I ask Jesus to intercede for all the people I know who need prayers.

When I fall asleep, the Holy Spirit takes over and I often wake up with new ideas for writing or a Bible verse to share with someone or a new and creative plan for a coaching client.

Always, I wake up refreshed – ready for another week and more of the ministries God has called me to.

So I recommend it – this small respite on a Sunday afternoon. Say “No” to extra activities on that day and put a guard around your busy heart.

Take a holy nap and be grateful.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1