Slinking up the stairs, barely putting one foot in front of the other, the oh-so-tired Wife/Mom/Crazy Girl crawled into bed.
Buried under the covers, sleep enveloped her quickly.
Oh, but not for long. The world pursued… Startling her, something was ringing, and ringing, and ringing.
Eyes wide open, she snapped: “I promise, if it rings one more time, I’m chuckin’ that thing OUT the window!” …as if her cell phone could comprehend.
She’d told herself all she needed was a quick, fifteen minute power nap…
Fuming at the interruption, she climbed back out of bed and returned to the first floor, where laundry, emails, and dishes awaited.
A rather large hamster wheel comes to mind.
How does one find time for a break???
Why does the word “R-E-S-T” seem so foreign to us? Today we’re going to address the four letters of “rest” to help us rest. Let’s not forget how God created rest and fully intends for us to find it.
Genesis 2:2-3 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” NIV
R: “Remember to take a nap REGULARLY” and do not, do not, do NOT feel guilty about it! Get over the guilt and get off the hamster wheel. Remember from last week how Mary Byers taught us that even Jesus got away to rest. (Click on Part 3 of 4 on Beating Busyness here for more information.)
So IF we are rested, we’re more apt to glorify God, as He longs for us to do. John Piper says it best: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
Please mimic our friendly polar bear below:
E : “Engage in LAUGHTER!”
Make a lunch date with your funniest friend.
Rent a funny movie.
Hang out at a preschool! What? Richard A. Swenson, M.D., in his book Margin–Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, shares remarkable stats: Did you know the peak age for laughter is age four??? It’s reported that four year olds laugh once every four minutes, or four hundred times a day!
Can you guess how many times adults laugh? An average of fifteen times per day. (Not sure I make that on a daily basis.) You WILL feel better if you can find the humor in your daily situations.
Dr. Swenson adds, “Perhaps the best kind of laughter is when we laugh at ourselves–we never run out of material. After Hurricane Andrew leveled his house, a man in south Florida put out a sign reading: ‘Open House.’ He will heal faster than his neighbors.”
Write these verses on a post-it note to take with you: Proverbs 15:13 says, “A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face, a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.” (The Message)
Proverbs 17:22 helps as well: “A cheerful heart is good medecine…” (NIV)
Kick in those endorphins!
S: “Sabbath Keeping”
Read, very slowly, the following phrase: “Seven FULL days makes one WEAK.” Nope, not w-e-e-k, w-e-a-k.
This truth hails from Lynne Baab’s excellent book Sabbath Keeping. We read and discussed her book in Book Club a few years ago. Sadly, not one of us at the time could honestly say we even tried to keep the Sabbath.
One teensy-tiny detail I believe we all overlook: One of the Ten Commandments (not “suggestions”!) happens to be about keeping the Sabbath: Exodus 20: 8-11 says, “Remember the Sabbath day, and 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; you shall not do any work. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day.” (NIV)
The word “Sabbath” is from the Hebrew word, “Shabbat”, meaning “stopping” or “ceasing.” God’s true desire is for us to purposefully carve out time to be still and enjoy Him.
Matthew Sleeth, M.D. recently wrote 24/6—a prescription for a healthier, happier life. (This is my new favorite book to give to people!)
Matthew shares his own discovery of the Sabbath along with his family’s journey in keeping it. His excitement is contagious. His medical experiences from running an Emergency Room, combined with his honesty and sense of humor, makes this book a fascinating page-turner. What makes it unique is he backs up the cases he builds with Scripture.
Matthew says, “In learning how to rest, we actually gain knowledge of Christ. We learn to be gentle and humble and to GIVE UP OUR PRIDE. My ideal day of rest …is a day when I trust that the world can get along just fine WITHOUT Matthew.” Hmmmm, this is a good reminder for some of us control freaks (!) to mosey on over to the passenger seat.
Removing his wristwatch, Matthew and his family’s Sabbath begins. They are “wealthy with time”. Give it a try!
Shutting down their computers, they remain media-free for twenty-four hours. (No more interrupted naps from cell phones! Someone ought to notify that Wife/Mom/Crazy Girl in the beginning of our story….yeah, you guessed it, that would be me.)
A clever promotional magnet to go along with 24/6 is a prescription for us all. The Rx reads: “REST for 24 hrs., Dispense 1x/wk, Do NOT mix with work. Refill: 52x/yr. “ (www.246.com ) Don’t miss that last little number: FIFTY-TWO TIMES….That equates to FIFTY-TWO GIFTS from God. Don’t waste these!
If an entire Sabbath seems too extreme for you right now, please allow me to share “The 14 Challenge” from Priscilla Shirer and her book Resolution for Women. I referred to an “aha moment” when I heard Priscilla speak on this last summer. She opened my eyes to the concept of margin. (Click on “But I Don’t Have Time for a Bible Study!”- Part 1 of 4 of Beating Busyness for more information.)
Priscilla occasionally finds herself in need of some “retail therapy”. She claims she has a “shopping anointing”. (Not sure I’d share that “gift” with my husband!)
Priscilla’s visual aid was a whole mess of belts she toted up onto stage. Wide belts, narrow belts, belts with bling, belts with ropes, belts with dangly-thingys, and well, you get the picture. Some of us “collect” shoes, Priscilla obviously collects belts.
She bravely confessed to her excess purchases, remarking that clutter causes chaos. Got clutter? I’d be happy to share some of mine! Big sigh…
Let’s go back to The 14 Challenge. Here’s how she came up with the number 14: The Sabbath, being one of seven days is fourteen percent (14%) of your week. Start little by little. Try fourteen minutes per day to “be still”. Gradually, you can add more minutes. Simple, right? (This helpful information is in the chapter called “Sabbath Spaces”.)
Additionally, consider clearing Sabbath SPACES (or Margins) in areas of your home. Try clearing fourteen inches of space somewhere in your living area once a week. Think of it as an act of obedience to God to “literally give your home some BREATHING ROOM!” These are very manageable ideas. (As the piles on my desk are begging to be cleared…)
Hebrews 4:9-11 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.” (NIV)
(Last but not least….) T: “TEARS”
Seriously? YES!! Tears from laughter or tears from sadness, BOTH are good for you! Emotional tears have a therapeutic chemical consistency. How awesome is God to hardwire us to weep when we come to the end of ourselves?
THIS week, I pray we will really make a concerted effort to REST. (R– Remember to take a nap REGULARLY, E– Engage in laughter, S-Begin this Sunday, or the day that best fits your schedule, to take steps toward keeping the Sabbath, T-Tears- Shed some!)
Priscilla’s ideas in The 14 Challenge are your first steps to reaching the Sleeth’s type of all-in Sabbath. Again, it wasn’t their idea. It was God who ordained it.
Beyond this week, now that we’ve completed all four parts of Beating Busyness, I pray we will be ever mindful of the meaning and blessing of margin. Let’s go back one more time to that hammock photo….Ahhhhhh…
Savor the Sabbath.
What have you got to lose? Chime in and let me know if you try it. No guilt and remember, it’s a process on this heavenward journey.
Next post, we’re going to talk about a book that’ll make you laugh and cry. Just addin’ to those endorphins!!!
‘Til next time!
(This week’s blog post is dedicated to Dr. Matthew Sleeth. He and his wife Nancy are my newest and super fun discovery thanks to my friend Sherry who introduced us. Nancy’s book, Almost Amish, has also blessed my life. Not converted yet, but sure am thinkin’! Additional details can be found in a previous blog post about 3 new books & Branches Book Club…May God continue to bless you, Matthew and Nancy, your family, and your ministry with Blessed Earth. www.blessedearth.org )