For true rest, practice Coming to a complete STOP
We are in a season of rest and abiding as a church. But it can sometimes seem to pass by so quickly and we don't feel like we have really had a chance to rest or abide. In a post from 13 months ago I looked at the importance of cutting things out of our life (just for a season) and aiming for stillness.
In this post I want to explore the significance of stopping - physically, mentally, and spiritually.
What does it mean to stop? Physically stopping is fairly straight forward - you choose to not move about. Mentally stopping can be a bit more of a challenge - you need to intentionally avoid planning, deciding, problem solving, absorbing new information, forming opinions, or whatever regularly consumes your thought life. And when you do these two things you are well on your way to stopping spiritually where you are not trying to fulfil religious obligations, do things for God or to become more like Jesus.
At its core, spiritually stopping involves trusting God. For the time you are stopped, you are trusting God to run the universe and in particular your universe, without any input from you.
On a recent holiday I was out in creation and I learned something about stopping by considering rocks and trees. Rocks are just there, they don't do anything, the universe goes on around them without their input, and yet they are a good part of God's creation. Trees are similar but a bit less inert, they are actually alive, but again they are just there, a good and valued part of God's creation. Looking at them helped me to stop.
For me, stopping has reconnected me with God, has reconnected me with God's competence to run the universe without me, AND has reconnected me with God's love for me as a 'human being' not just a 'human doing'.
Stopping has given me space to review the things I spend my time and energy on. And it has enabled me to reenter everyday life with a renewed sense of doing things with God, with God's presence, guidance and energy - not just my own efforts. It have understood it is less about my strenuous effort with maybe God's small contribution and more about God doing it with my small contribution.
Macro Stops and Micro Stops:
Taking time to stop in creation surrounded by rocks and trees during a recent holiday has led to an unexpected benefit - an increased ability to have micro stops in my everyday life. I have been more able to take a few moments to stop while sitting on the couch, or even on the train. I have found these micro "Stop Ups" to be surprisingly beneficial.
I am not perfect at stopping - I still have lots to learn, but the spiritual benefits I have experienced inspire me to continue to build this practice into my life. I invite you to join me.