Vacation, Sabbath, Pause & Rest

I’m currently with my family on a vacation, enjoying some downtime. I find that I can chose how restful this vacation is or I can be stressed out about how much work I’m missing, checking my emails all the time, writing blogs, etc. Vacate means to leave the premise or to check out.
I think it’s good for all of us to occasionally leave the premise & check out for our own mental health, for the purpose of enjoying family & to give God the opportunity to engage with us with less competition for our attention. Celebrate the opportunities that God gives us for vacations, rest & pause 🙂

20140730-102639-37599497.jpg

Timelines & Deadlines

We all have various things that we have to get done by various deadlines, along with schedules that we have to keep with dates & times that must be managed. What I find interesting about time is that God doesn’t seem to see time with our eyes or values – seems logical since God made time.
In our lives, we all have various deadlines of which God is thoroughly aware. And while I must be responsible & steward my time wisely, I must also understand that I’ve give God my days & not just my life. So from time to time, I remind myself that I’m on God’s schedule not the other way around 🙂

pause

When I was growing up, we used the Big Chief red note pads to learn how to write.  I still remember that dingy paper & the giant lines in which I was supposed to keep my writing (good luck).  When I started using the regular white lined paper, I remember thinking that it seemed like they wasted alot of space on the sides because the Big Chief paper didn’t have the red line on the left – margin.  As I continued to refine my writing skills, I started writing smaller & smaller so that I could get more stuff on the page – at one point, my teacher probably needed a microscope to read my writing.

So here are some thoughts on space & time:

  • margins create clarity – when we try to squeeze everything into a small space or time, everything can get blurry and confusing really fast
  • while we are designed to be productive and to achieve things, it’s important to maintain balance between workload and breathing room
  • rest and escape aren’t the same thing
  • rest can be a form of trusting God 🙂

This post is hypocritical

I’m presently riding home from a brief but very nice mini-vacation in the mountains with my husband. We had a lovely time relaxing, reading & hiking. This get-away has reminded me of the importance of having margins in our lives. My problem is that I tend to run my life in the red zone & squeeze in just “one more thing.”.
So here’s my “do as I say & not as I do” advice for those of us who do life in the red zone: there’s lots of good wisdom with God’s commandment to remember the Sabbath. Making intentional time each week to pause, listen & re-group can help create those essential margins we need to keep from the general engine failure that happens from red zone living 🙂

20120823-110045.jpg

constructive rest :)

  My kids are officially on Summer Break & oh the joys of no school work, staying home, making pancakes, playing outside, having lemonade stands, being with their friends and so much more!!!  Yahoooo!!!  I’m also challenging them to read for one hour a week so they keep their reading skills sharp – an important tool for success. 

I believe that God gives each of us seasons of rest, but we must be mindful to consider that rest isn’t the same as amusement.  For me, rest is constructive.  Rest can be creating some space to think, be, listen & connect.  Rest can also be the decision to trust that God is bigger than any challenge, hardship, difficulty, darkness or uncertainty.  Jesus said that we can come to Him & find rest in Him, the One Who loves the entirety of who you really are 🙂

rest

This morning, I read Psalms 23 and it was super encouraging to my heart! What really stood out to me was the very beginning part when David says that God causes him to lie down in green pastures. This was really soothing because when you look at the verb in the Hebrew, the idea is that God is very much making David to lay down – almost like an enforced pause.
Here’s my thinking on this idea of a pause – I think that many of us run a pretty fast-paced & high-demanding life for lots of different reasons (some good & some lame). Nevertheless, we all need rest, a break, on a consistent basis (more than just the idea of our daily sleep requirement). If we do not integrate a break or rest into our routines (i.e. a weekly Sabbath), then we will find ourselves in a place of “forced rest,” where God causes us to take a pause.
It is super important to have consistent breaks & pauses in our lives for many different reasons:
*a pause helps to clarify our thinking & emotional inputs
*a pause allows us to re-focus our priorities
*a pause provides the space & context for our relationship with God to deepen & grow
*a pause lets us have an opportunity to slow down & listen to God

Three cheers to a busy life with integrated & intentional rest 🙂

hold on a second!!

Ok, revelation time: when I was growing up (and sadly enough in some recent history), I had some very “sassy” moments, to put it mildly. Unfortunately, I remember some EXTREMELY bad moments when I’ve been very disrespectful. With a little bit of maturity now (with lots of room to continue growing), I look back on those moments with regret and embarrassment. I’ve even had an extremely successful pastor gently remind me of a very arrogant conversation I had with him when I was a teenager. Thankfully, he was very gracious and understanding when he reminded me of this conversation, but I was nevertheless very embarrassed by my words and behavior.

Bringing these memories into my present behavior, I’ve come to the conclusion that respect is never out of bounds and disrespect is always out of bounds. In my generation, we have often made the mistake of presupposing a person had to “earn” our respect before we would give it. I’ve often noticed now that if I will treat people with respect, whether they deserve it or not, they usually behave in a respectful way. For those individuals who remain disrespectful even when I treat them with honor, I figure that their behavior is their responsibility and not mine. At the end of the day, I want to make sure that I’m honoring God. So if I can treat my fellow human with honor, it’s creating a lifestyle of honor to please my heavenly Father.

I have never regretted treating someone with respect, but I’m always disappointed in myself when I am disrespectful. Honor begets honor – Prov 3:35 🙂

hold on a second!!

When I was growing up, my dad would collect antique furniture & he filled our garage with his collections.  Over time, he added a shelf to the front of the garage so he could fill it it antiques, then he put in some suspended shelving from the ceiling of the garage so he could store more antiques.  Pretty soon, the paths that we used to get to the garbage cans were getting squeezed in w antiques.  And here’s the feeling I would always get when I went into the garage – suffocation.  Sometimes, I’d imagine for a brief second when I went into the garage that all of it might teeter from the little perches, strings & balanced corners to come collapsing down on me & that I’d get buried only to be possibly found by a curious parent after a few hours, if I was lucky.  After one such imaginative nightmare, I decided to only open the garage from the outside door & not try to ever go through the garage – for fear of an antique avalanche.

Now when I think about this, its kind of funny, but it wasn’t when I was living w my parents.  I taught myself avalanche avoidance techniques.  As an adult, I wish I would apply these lessons to managing my life better.  You see, sometimes I fill up my life with so much stuff (activities, responsibilities, achievements, pressures, deadlines, expectations, etc) that I feel like its just a matter of time until I become an avalanche victim.  This week is one of those times.

Here are some possible avalanche avoidance techniques:

Maybe God watches from the sidelines in amused disgust as I try to juggle everything without much success.

Maybe God waits for me to stop trying to be super woman & ask for His help.

Maybe God watches for the opportunity to teach me to say “yes” to His directives and not almost everything that passes my way.

Maybe God wants me to learn that He is the only eye in the hurricane

Maybe God wants to teach me more about living out the truth of Sabbath.

Maybe God wants me to wait on Him – to be still and know that He is God

Maybe all this flurry of activity lessens the keenness of my ear to hear His still small voice.

Maybe, just maybe, you & I can learn together & with His help, not continue to make the same kinds of mistakes.

I’m just saying, maybe we don’t have to be avalanche victims.

Flying home Thanking God for His goodness

Well, saving Moses is now working in Asia & I can’t say how cool that is to me. Looking back over the last week has been simply astounding. I’ve experienced poverty that is nothing less than sub-human. I’ve experienced cold realities & warm delusions. I’ve seen God do the miraculous & questioned His seeming lack of involvement. As I come home today I find myself deeply fulfilled & equally unsettled – an interesting paradox. Lots to do for Jesus & to express my live to Him by helping others.
Thx heaps for praying!!

is rest directly proptional to trust???

I’ve been thinking about trust alot – trusting God.  if i were to be truthful w myself, i need to get better with trusting God & this is becoming increasingly evident to me as i look at the things & people in which i’ve been trusting.  if you’re like me, we put our trust in things that seem to be normal: mate, parents, friends, abilities, education, experience, . . . .  We also know that all of these things & people will & have disappointed us from time to time.  At various times, if i’m honest, i’ve also been disappointed in God – at least in the short run. 

Here’s something i’m becoming really convinced about:  trust is an essential component for intimacy.  i also think that intimacy & rest are inter-connected.  I’ve been musing on these things, this morning, based on the conversation between Moses & God in Ex 33:13-14, where Moses says, “‘If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”  14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

still thinking 🙂