I am one who feels awkward when someone gives me a gift. While deeply humbled by it, I wonder what I did to deserve it. To be honest, I’m always surprised that someone took the time to think about me. I’ve received wonderful, beautiful, priceless gifts over the years. Some of those gifts are tangible while some are priceless ones like a smile, hug, phone call, note or message. Often, the best gifts aren’t wrapped in gift wrap but in human flesh. I treasure that. To me, Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift.
The Ultimate Gift gives gifts especially to the undeserving. [Matthew 7:11; Ephesians 2:8-9] I count myself the most undeserving of all. I’ve been known to take His gift(s) for granted many times. “Rest” would be one of those gifts. “Rest” reflects an aspect of who God is. He was/is the epitome of “Rest”. [Genesis 2:3] My life has been infused with seasons of rest. Sometimes I’ve ignored His bidding to “come away for a while”. I don’t anymore. I’ve learned to recognize that bidding and I embrace it with open arms. When I’m feeling anxious, overwhelmed, puzzled, confused, irate and irritated, it’s a sign that I need to rest for a while. Each time and place of rest is a gift. I embrace that gift.
Over the last 2-3 years I’ve travelled with my husband for his job. These times have offered extended periods of rest for me. Rest from the center of activity. His trips take place 2-3 times per year and last anywhere from 10-14 days for each stint. I must admit I’ve had a difficult time embracing these trips as a “gift of rest”. I’ve taken work with me and kept up with happenings back home via phone/email/text. I’ve even made myself accessible to “put out fires” from the opposite coast. I truly felt like I needed to be productive even while I wasn’t physically on the scene.
Rest has various expressions. It looks different for all of us. You may not be able to pull away or get away and rest miles from your center of activity. Many times you will have to be purposeful about. It is a “rhythm of life”. It’s following God’s pattern of rest and Jesus’ example to “come away”. Here are some small ways you can embrace the gift of rest in your world whether it’s self-imposed or demanded by circumstances.
- Deliberately schedule an hour or so each week to unplug from your phone, social media, demands of the day, TV, etc. If you don’t schedule it, most likely it will never happen.
- Say yes to invitations by friends to see a movie or have a meal together, even if you think it’s inconvenient. These times can be restful, refreshing and restorative.
- Learn to practice boundaries. Having no boundaries is like being a city without walls. There is no protection. You are wide open and vulnerable to every sort of distraction. This is no way to live. Say “no” to good and “yes” to the best.
- Take a walk, exercise or maybe even soak in a relaxing bath.
No matter where you are in life right now, you can embrace the gift of rest. Go ahead, open it up.
Through The Looking Glass:
+How do you rest?
+What other ways can you think of to embrace rest?