_ Study _
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
_ Read _
In November of 2012, my husband, Chris, and I flew off to San Francisco, California for a long weekend. The intent was to celebrate one year of being married. What we didn’t realize was, this trip birthed a brand new tradition—to get away together every single year around our anniversary. Each time, we pop a bottle of champagne, look back on our wedding, talk about highlights from the last year, and recount things we love about each other. It’s a great investment in our marriage, but what I’ve recognized is these yearly trips together have taught me a lot about the importance of scheduling rest.
Chris and I are in a season of life where it feels like time never stops. He’s crazy busy at work, I’m dedicating a lot of time to writing, and the weekends mysteriously fill up until suddenly a month has gone by and we haven’t stopped moving. If we don’t schedule in time to rest together, it simply will not happen.
It’s easy to go through life without stopping to breathe, isn’t it? We get caught up in all the happenings and goals, and then suddenly three months have gone by and we’re like, wait, what? Where did the time go?
Here’s the thing though, rest is more than a recommendation; it is something the Lord calls us to. In Exodus 20, God tells Moses, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.”
God created the 10 commandments, of which this is one, to teach His followers how they were to live. And resting – literally ceasing work – was an important part of the equation. Somehow, I think we neglect this piece of how God calls us to live. We get so focused on striving, pressing forward, doing all the things, and convince ourselves that rest does not fit into the picture. But friends, rest is calling – it must be a priority.
Rest isn’t something God asks us to do because He wants to restrict us or hold us back, but because He knows it is exactly what we need. Through rest He blesses us with a much-needed refresh, and an empowerment to step into the work He has for us.
I love the words from Colossians 3 that say, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace… and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” While we are called to rest, there is great flexibility and permission within that. Rest = stop working. But beyond that, as long as whatever we do is in the name of Jesus, it can look however we’d like.
Like Brooke mentioned in yesterday’s devotional, ask yourself what activities feel restful and then ask Jesus to direct you. If napping isn’t your jam, don’t nap. If you are an active person and taking a walk outside, rock climbing, or doing yoga is restful – plan that in to your schedule. If lying on the couch, listening to a podcast or cuddling your pup is more your style – do it! In knowing Jesus, we know rest – so whatever refuels you and allows you to take a step away from work, give yourself flexibility and call that rest.
Rest is a calling—a job we need to take seriously. But it’s not meant to weigh us down or feel like a frustrating to-do. So let’s have fun with it! Be creative, be flexible, and schedule time to do whatever it is that brings rest.
_ Practice _
Practice rest in an active way, by moving your body and resting your mind through Advent Yoga with Caroline Williams. Caroline is a Christian yoga teacher who also provides meditation practices like the one I suggested last week. If you’re new to the idea of yoga being used to glorify the Lord, I pray that you will click this link where Caroline talks about yoga and Christianity.
If yoga isn’t your jam- give yourself the freedom to try another restful activity. Go back to the list you made yesterday and do one of those activities.
I also want to challenge you to be intentional about rest by adding it to your daily or weekly to-do list. If making time for rest doesn’t come naturally, make it a priority by literally writing it on the calendar.
_ Extra Resources _
Listen to the Unaltered Grace podcast titled - Sabbath Rest for Today’s World | with Halie Ramsey - listen via this link, or find it on iTunes, or Spotify
Caroline Williams’ Advent Yoga Series
This devotional is part of the A Restful Advent series.
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