The forgotten art of real rest
A key to being a disciple of Jesus is learning to live a rhythm of rest and work, abiding and fruitfulness.**
HOWEVER, in our always on, always connected, always moving to the next thing lives, it is easy to lose the art of true resting.
True rest ALWAYS requires pruning! Simply replacing one activity for another activity ISN'T rest.
A grape vine doesn't rest by spending the winter producing apples!
To rest we have to cut things out of our lives for a season. AND not replace it with anything else. Rest ISN'T a chance to get to things that have been sitting at the bottom of your to-do list for months! If we waited to get to the end of our to-do lists, most of us would never rest.
Choosing to rest while we still have things on our to-do list, is an act of trust in God. It is choosing to believe that God perfectly capable of running the world while we take some time out.
What are the things you normally fill your days with?
looking after children
responding to emails
checking social media
To rest your routine needs to change, things need to be cut out for a time. This may require the help of others. In family settings, tag teaming may be required. You may need to take it in turns to cut things out of your routine and rest. In fact, as a church we need to be open to helping each other have times of rest - both asking for help and offering help.
Imagine your life as a fly wheel - one of those heavy metal wheels that spins around at a great speed. When it is stopped being driven it continues to rotate for a time, slowly losing speed. Sometimes we stop driving the wheel for a time but then we get back to turning the wheel before it has had a chance to come to a complete stop, to a place of stillness!
So when you think about rest, aim for stillness - physical stillness and mental stillness.
For those of us for whom stillness seams boring, it is not about the length of time you are still, it is more about getting to stillness.
For those of us who worry about whether we would ever get started again, DON'T, our world is full of stimulants!
For those of us who don't think we are very good at stillness, just aim to get a bit better at stillness. Look to learn from stillness experts but don't beat yourself up for not being as good as them - yet. (see these notes about Stillness from a recent Equip Sunday
So make a plan to rest. Get ready to cut things out of your life for a time. Ask God for wisdom in how you might make steps in that direction. And be open to asking others to help you!
**We seek to model that as a church by having down times where organised activities reduce or stop. One of the seasons when we do that is the few weeks immediately after Christmas. We stop services and other group activities to give people a break from their involvement in organising and running those events. Then out of a place of rest we launch a new year of church life.