Rhythms of Rest: An Invitation to More

Rest time is not waste time.
It is economy to gather fresh strength…
It is wisdom to take occasional furlough.
In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.
                                                                ~ Charles Spurgeon

There was a time (honestly) when I thought rest time was a waste of time.

Boxes needed checking. List items needed lining out. Accomplishments needed satisfying.

Have you ever wondered, “Who has time for rest? If I stop working, when will it get done?”

One evening I realized that in trying to get so much done, I wasn’t even putting my days to bed when I put my head on my pillow.

Harried and hurried behaviors sometimes still slip back into my days. Thankfully, gentle reminders slip into my life. A new relationship led to an invitation to Refine {the retreat} this March. Friends invited me to read The Art of Stillness where I remember that it’s only when I stop that I can be moved in some far deeper way. Laura, a fellow writer friend, blessed me with a copy of Shelly Miller’s book, Rhythms of Rest.

The notion of rest replays in the situations of others around me. It urges me to see the need to revive a regular practice of rest and pauses. One friend’s fractured arm forced her to stop for a season. A recent conversation with another reminded me of how our good intentions can cause us to become overloaded, anxious, and overburdened. Depression and anxiety grip the heart of another.

When we ask someone how they are, what do we hear? Maybe how overworked, overtired, or overstressed they are? How often do people tell us how well rested they are?

Without rest, we become restless and ragged. Our doing turns into undoing as we lose energy and strength. We run empty of ourselves.

For me, the word rest conjures up many thoughts: pause and time-out, relax and refresh, and holiday and vacation. Deeper reflection reveals contemplation and comfort, define and refine, and Sundays and Sabbath. Rest is the exhale that allows room for the inhale.

Rest makes room for the work, not the other way around.

As I do every morning, I feed our two dogs and make morning coffee. One February morning, I eye the basket of ironing in the corner of the kitchen.

Not now, I tell myself.

Instead, I choose to carry my coffee cup in the living room and lean back in my recliner with the words in Rhythms of Rest.

The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew word SHABÀT, meaning ‘stop,’ or ‘time of rest.’ In the beginning, God worked but He also rested. Work and rest are both part of His plan.

Keeping all of Sunday as a Sabbath may raise resistance for some. In her book, Shelly points out that “Sabbath isn’t limited to the weekend. When Jesus came to the earth… he set us free from the law of how Sabbath should look.”

After the Pharisees criticized the disciples for picking wheat on the Sabbath, Jesus responded, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NIV).

Sabbath is God’s gift to man, created for our benefit. It was not intended as a burden, but a blessing.

Have we forgotten that rest restores physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Here’s the thing. We are free to rest and can find freedom in rest—even if we choose it on days other than Sunday.

We can start small by creating Sabbath moments—windows of opportunity to tune out distractions and tune into awakening our hearts to fully receive.

Beginning can be the hardest part of this good intention. Remember, as work stacks up, we need rest more than ever before. I want to trust in the letting go and know that even in the Sabbath rest moments, I will find a spacious place to inhale.

This year I make choices to rest. I am doing more by doing less. Sabbath rest is one of the most productive things I can do.

As I write about it here, please join me on this journey in a series on rest and its transformative power.

In closing I ask you, “When was the last time you took time to rest?”

Rest is the exhale that allows room for the inhale. Click To Tweet As work stacks up, we need rest more than ever before. Click To Tweet Rest makes room for the work, not the other way around. Click To Tweet Sabbath rest is one of the most productive things I can do. Click To Tweet


  • 6 years ago

    I’m with you!! It can be hard to start but once you taste the Sabbath you can’t get enough!

    • Sharon A Gibbs
      6 years ago

      Grace punctures our tight schedules and places us in the spaciousness of His love.

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