Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Rhythm of Rest

Lunch is eaten, and the kitchen's clean. I've changed from jeans into sweats and I'm sitting in a comfy chair with my favorite blanket (because it's freakishly cold in Houston on this the second day of spring ;). And this is where I'll stay for the rest of the day, although the computer will be soon replaced by a book. It's Sabbath Day and time for sweet rest.

There are a million things I could be doing. Two loads of laundry are sitting in the basket waiting for me. Lesson plans need to be completed. I need to cut and file a stack of coupons. And it goes on and on and on and on. Instead I will choose to blog, read, play games with my boys, nap on the couch and read some more. I emphasize "choose" for a reason. Rest is not easy for me; it doesn't come naturally. Checklists and tasks come naturally. Productivity comes naturally. And rest doesn't feel productive. It doesn't feel like I'm doing anything.

This past fall at a conference I heard a wonderful talk about rhythms of life. Many were mentioned but what impacted me was when the speaker talked about the rhythm of rest being critical to a healthy life. I guess I have always known that. Heck, it's one of the Ten Commandments:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. ~ Exodus 20:8-11
I had never seriously considered that this applied to me though. I felt God nudging me and my mind began to fill with excuses why I should be exempt from this command. "My life is just too busy to stop and rest, God." And just as quickly I realized that if the God of the universe chose to rest, maybe I should too. Immediately after that dh and I talked about trying to set aside Sunday (after church) as being a day of rest for our family. It's not the only time we rest but it's a biggie.

What has that looked like in our home? For us it has meant that beds go unmade. We empty the dishwasher Saturday night rather than Sunday morning. Sunday meals are prepared on Saturday and we eat on paper one day a week to minimize clean up. Mommy sits on the couch wrapped in her favorite blanket and journals, reads, blogs or catches up with a friend on the phone. Daddy does much of the same and we ask the boys to try and find quiet things to entertain themselves (yes, try is the operative word here with a house full of three busy boys - giggle). It has been a discipline for me to learn to rest. It still doesn't feel natural but it feels good. I start the week refreshed and ready to work hard for six more days.

I can tell you what it's not, too. It's not a legalistic list of don'ts. Today I was excited to try a new recipe. That was a want-to not a have-to. It felt restful so I cooked and cleaned. A few weeks ago it was amazingly beautiful outside so I spent an hour or two pulling weeds, enjoying the sunshine. It was work but it felt restful and peaceful. It charged my batteries and helped me get ready to start a new week.

I guess that is really what a day of rest is all about. It's a time to reflect, a time to recharge our batteries and prepare to meet a new week. Previously I said rest, "doesn't feel like I'm doing anything." And while it may not be an official task like taking out the trash or mopping the floor it very much is doing something. It's doing something for our souls.

What does rest look like for you? Do you have a rhythm of rest in your life that is healthy for your soul? I'd love to hear.



Amanda said...

Love this. I have been working on this myself for the past few months. I have learned that by committing this day to a different pace of life I am able to eliminate distractions and focus on God and my family. I think it is about being deliberate in how we spend not only Sundays, but every day of the week. By choosing certain things for Sunday, we have to plan around that during the rest of the week.

You are right that this should not be legalistic. It is a joy to say this day will be different than the rest. This day I will walk slower, visit longer, and breathe deeper. And, whatever I do not get done because of that, I entrust to God to provide for our needs. Thanks for the reminder! I love your blog!

argsmommy said...

I feel restful just reading your post. : )

I always cringe when we read books like the Little House series and they talk about how dreadful Sundays were because they weren't allowed to do anything. I want my kids to view their day of rest as something special.

Our Sundays are pretty simple. After church and eating, the kids play, DH relaxes and I take a nap. Then we go to our church's evening service. It makes such a big difference in my attitude for the week. What I'd like to improve upon, is adding in a little bit of rest during the rest of our week. I love the idea of having half an hour of quiet time after lunch, but I can't seem to get us into the habit.

Spesamor Academy said...

Saturday is our day of rest. We tried to do it on Sunday, but then our whole week seemed to be catching up for that one day "off", and it got stressful. So we relax and do as little "work" as possible on Saturday and use Sunday afternoon and evening to get everything ready to go for the week ahead.

Theresa ♥ said...

Loved this post!!! I read a book last year that you might enjoy on this subject.


aly in va said...

Sundays are truly our one day of rest. We spend each Sunday in church and then grandma's house where it's slow, and the kids just get to play until their hearts are content.