Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taking a Load Off

We're entering the home stretch of the online study of It's No Secret. And I feel like I've been a little rough on you these past few weeks ... getting into your business about giving and forgiving, pointing out how you drive people crazy with your perfectionistic expectations, and encouraging you to sell out to God. 

I'll admit, I've been challenging you in this book. If it helps, I'm preaching to myself in these pages too. At least this week gets a little easier. This week you get to REST. I know what many of you are thinking, "Oh but rest is hard for me. That's not my natural bent - I'm a doer. I've got a full schedule. And time is money." 

Yes, I know. We're all a little brain-washed by the cult of speed and efficiency. But we can only serve one master. OK, so I'm starting to get rough on you again - I realize that.  But as Carl Honroroe writes in In Praise of Slowness, "Some things cannot and should not be sped up. They take time; they need slowness. When you accelerate things that should not be accelerated, when you forget how to slow down, there is a price to pay."

In chapter 9 of It's No Secret I talked about taking "Sabbath style" rests. You will notice I didn't lay out any prescriptions for this. I didn't say what day this has to be, or that it has to be a full day. I didn't say you cannot cook, or do laundry, or watch football. I didn't say you can't go sailing or bowling. I didn't say you have to spend the day reading your Bible. I didn't say you can't invite company over for dinner.

It's a mindset thing more than a list of actions thing.

In my mind's eye, Sabbath is a hammock. It beckons me to take a load off and rest awhile. To give up worry, and linger in the breeze ... careless ... trusting God and enjoying life. To lay aside my drive, kick back and read something enjoyable. To sip something refreshing. To study the dandelions and watch the clouds while I dream. To take naps. To eat something particularly yummy or especially healthy. To snuggle up and enjoy my family. To remember grace. To reorient to what is truly essential. And, most importantly, to thank God for it all.

Mindfulness of God, thankfulness, prayerfulness, and restful renewal - that's how I define a Sabbath rest.

What are your thoughts on the subject?


  1. Rachel,
    My husband loves to feed people so for us Sabbath regeneration often means a house full of friends. Sometimes they follow us home from church and someone will stop and grab sandwich fixings at the store, but it is always a time to just be together.

  2. Taking a step back here chapter 8 nailed me sending me back to early 2000 when I was in school. The teacher in one of my classes asked tell me something about you I didn't/ don't know just by looking at you. Then I read about the movie 28 days and the signs we often wear. Mine then and now is still "confront me if I don't ask for help."

    In Chapter 9 my idea of a restful time is by the waters edge watching as the ducks swim by at a slow pace causing the waves to be slow and gentle as they come ashore. I'm going to remind myself to be like those waves and slowly move to the rhythm of the water.

    Thanks Rachel.

  3. When I climb into bed and I am tired, I know I didn't have a "Sabbath rest". When I am energized on Monday for the week ahead, then I know I rested in the Lord. Several years ago I applied KISS to my Sundays. I was trying to dish up a big Sunday dinner and then I ended up resentful because I was cleaning up the kitchen until late evening and my children really could care less about the food. Now I'm as easy on myself as I can be. Sunday shouldn't look like every other day. It should be a special day of anticipation and renewal. Jane

  4. REST ~ such a simple word I'm finding so hard to follow.

    I'm one of those but-I-don't-have-time-to-rest girls. "..when you forget how to slow down, there is a price to pay." Whew! That will stop a busy girl in her tracks! I'm learning how to slow down and do just that ~ STOP in my busyness. And I'm also learning the power of the word "no". In doing this, I am becoming one of those stop-and-smell-the-roses-nap-in-a-hammock-linger-in-the-breeze kind of girls. And you know what? It feels good! Sooooo good!

    Loved this chapter in your book! It has been so encouraging and confirming as I continue to travel this journey in learning how to REST.

  5. Hi Rachel,

    Even though you are trying to take it easy on us, this may end up being one of the most challenging chapters for me. And it's not because I am so busy (which I am, often times), but how I'm still occupied and active even when I'm not "busy."

    I'm a techie girl. I love the internet, my smart phone, video games (though I don't often have time for these anymore), etc. So, my down time is usually not very relaxing because I'm communicating on Facebook, or I'm playing a game online or on my phone. I can be sitting watching TV, texting on my phone and playing Angry Birds in between texts. At what point is God able to communicate with me when all these distractions are helping me "relax"?

    And you're telling me I'm supposed to take a full day of rest? Oh boy...do I have some praying and unplugging to do! :-)

    But, I know that I will be happier and much more peaceful when I get back into sync with His rhythm.

    Thanks again for pulling the curtain back for me!



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