I’m prone to feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed when things at home or work, in my relationships and community, and in the broader country and world feel, simply put, *too much*. I want to act, and I don’t know how. I want to be aware of what is happening, and can’t take it all in. I want to take care of myself, and I feel guilty when others don’t have the same privilege. (Does any of this sound familiar?) When the internal and external volume is cranked past 11, my go-to coping mechanism is withdrawal. I nap. I watch bad reality TV marathons. I numb out. I lean into the “Treat Yo’ Self” version of self-care which is heavy on pleasure and light on rest. The rest that is offered in spiritual practices – and in pursuit of a life-giving journey with Jesus – is something wholly different.
In Matthew 11: 28-30 (MSG), Jesus says “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
<Breathe in, breathe out> And we’ve seen how He did it. He repeatedly withdrew and returned after periods of prayer and solitude. This withdrawal was intentional – restful – and life-giving. I don’t presume to know when, where and how you need rest – but I know you need it, as do I. And the invitation stands – it is in the walking, and working and watching. Come and learn.
I’m actively reviewing my pursuit of rest through reading Dr. Sandra Dalton-Smith’s book Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy,Restore Your Sanity. She also provided some great free resources! If this book is difficult to get your hands on, check out this overview of the concepts. Review these 7 areas (Physical, Mental, Social, Creative, Emotional, Spiritual, & Sensory) and identify one specific thing you can do (and will do) this week to seek out “real rest”.