Sunday, June 29, 2014
A Commandment to Rest
So I am back, for those of you who have been missing the blog. I have just returned from a trip into 8 states and 2 Canadian provinces, along the coast of one ocean, to see over two dozen relatives from sisters clear to third cousins. There were lots of purposes for the travel, but two of the main ones were to celebrate the upcoming 10th Anniversary of marriage with my wife, and time to renew and refresh after over half a decade of assisting aging parents through the hardships that come with age and the end of life here. Exhausted, drained and a bit ragged, it was time for a break.
In the Genesis account of creation, after six days of creating, God set aside the seventh day to rest, or in Hebrew, to sabbath…the word meaning, “to rest.” On that basis, the commandments established that one day in seven was to be spent in rest and in worship of God, a practice continued to this day in both Jewish and Christian faith communities. Scheduling time for worship and renewal is important for everyone. Overtime hours may help pay the bills, but times of rest bring the balance, perspective and strength needed for a healthy lifestyle.
During and after times of great stress, it is especially imperative that time be set aside for such rest. In the tasks of caregiving, and through the times of divorce, times for rest and renewal are few and far between. If you have a friend in one of those situations, one of the great services you could provide for them would be to arrange some kind of time for them to simply get away for a bit, even if it is only an hour or so. Occasionally, I have had opportunity to experience a massage for half an hour or so, and have found that it is very useful for me in bringing a bit of restoration. Going off by myself into nature, or to enjoy a good book can do the same thing. What works for you?
So many people I know are extremely responsible when it comes to the issues of taking care of their children, or in their professional career, or in the way they care for their home and cars. But sometimes, those same people do not make time for personal rest, or to spend in the presence of their Creator in worship. I believe these are serious mistakes, with serious consequences. Blood pressure, heart attacks and nervous conditions are a few of the conditions that result from the former, and the latter has eternal impact as we choose whether or not to grant our Creator appropriate homage as a priority in life.
I drove back into town, knowing that there are lots of tasks awaiting my return, both in the aftermath of the loss of my father as well as the writing projects currently in process. But I come back a bit less ragged, a bit more focused, with great memories of wonderful times with my wife and our family, and enjoying the incredible work of our Creator in spectacular scenery and wildlife.
Whatever is going on in your life, I challenge you to consider how you will find even a few minutes this week for rest and renewal, and for time with the Almighty. I have had a great time these past few weeks, even though it meant I was out of touch with you, my readers. But I have no regrets…I was doing some very important things. Things that the business world may or may not consider important, but important in the eternal scheme of things. My wife and I will never forget our time together during the rare opportunity we had.
Make some opportunities for yourself and those you love. ESPECIALLY if things are stressful in your life just now, find a way to walk in that park, or enjoy that novel, to catch those fish…whatever it is that refreshes you, and then give God thanks as you sit before your Creator to seek the wisdom and strength you need for the tasks you face.