rest

The current Salt challenge is rest – here is the scrapbook page I made for this theme.



I think on the nature of rest quite a lot these days, since I have these scheduled rests as part of my Occupational Therapy programme for CFS/ME. It makes me think about how we rest – what we consider rest to be – what is restful, and what is not. My routine stipulates that these times should be deeper rest than I might otherwise choose to have – calling things like reading, drinking a cup of tea, watching the TV, low-level activity. Actually, I find it hard work to rest in this way, which is actually rather ironic.

We find it hard to stop and be still. We find it hard not to have something to look at, engage with, think about. Well, I do, anyway. What about you?
We also get caught up with today’s idea that success is all about what we achieve – and we easily think of rest as necessary – but not particularly constructive. Well I do, anyway. What about you?

We forget that the reason for the Sabbath day in the Old Testament was rest – pure and simple. It was a time when people stopped. Just stopped. And it also made allowances for those who did not have the same control over their lives – servants – even animals. They all got to rest. Jesus himself said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. It was beneficial for the creatures God had made.

We may not keep the Sabbath in the same way as under the old covenant, but I think we need to retain the principle. People need rest. All people. We all need time to recharge. We need to learn to see that rest is a constructive thing – not a thing to get through so we can get on with the rest of the ‘to-do’ list. Not a thing we should feel guilty about. We get frazzled, particularly in a climate like ours, where expectations are high and achievements praised, where we are constantly looking for the next entertainment, the next distraction.

We have forgotten how to quieten our hearts. So perhaps this verse is in fact very apt for us. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Lord, teach me how to sit at your feet again.
Teach me how to listen.
Teach me how to simply be in your presence.
Teach me how to let go of my burdens and carry a different, lighter load.
Teach me how to rest.
Teach me to stop following the expectations of the world and society and culture and other people and myself – but instead to follow yours.
Finding that they, after all, are the lightest, kindest of them all – for you understand my needs as a whole being – body, mind, soul all wrapped together – and give me that shalom – that wholeness that leads to a healthy approach to life in this world.

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