For the past several months I have been on a quest to rest. This quest continues into this New Year. I do not always choose a growth word for the year, but when my daughter asked me if I was thinking of doing one, I said it would probably be “rest.”
What I mean by rest is not necessarily more sleep-though sleep when you are exhausted is great. While I am determined to get seven or more hours of sleep, rest entails so much more:
It is learning to rest from work.
It is learning to sit still in my home-there is always something that needs to be done, something that needs to be put away, or cleaned, or cooked.
It is learning to create space to be still and rest in God-this rest may come in the form of a walk and talk with God in the park or the woods, reading a good soul-shaping book, or listening to soul-stirring music while lighting a candle in a dark room.
It is learning to rest with my spouse-this quest for rest has led to me asking my husband if he wants to play a game with me, have a soul chat, look in each other’s eyes for a moment or just cuddle.
And, it is learning to rest with my kids. The other day I was buzzing around the house and shuffling things from one place to another. My daughter was reading a book on the couch and told me to come join her because, after all, I said I wanted to rest more, right?
Basically, I am learning to hit the pause button.
I think of the word Sabbath synonymously with rest. In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means “a ceasing of labor.” It refers specifically to a day in the week set aside for rest and for worship. As pastors and pastors’ spouses I think it is harder to create a Sabbath. Sunday is not necessarily a day of rest for the pastoral family, is it? And the “job” is not a “clock out” sort of job. It can be more of a challenge to create that rest and personal Sabbath for yourself and your family. But it is oh so important.
Somewhere along the way, I realized rest does not always have to be encompassed in a day, but can be found in moments. Jesus models how to choose rest while working on the Sabbath. The Bible tells us of times where he healed and picked grain on the Sabbath.
The Bible also tells us how he withdrew to quiet places to find rest. He encourages us to choose to withdraw and rest, as he knows we can be like Martha and get distracted by all the preparations and work we have to do: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42).
Mary chose a moment of resting at the feet of Jesus.
Slowly, I am learning to choose Mary moments over Martha moments.
Slowly, I am learning how to choose rest.
Our bodies were designed to have breaks. My husband seems to know when he has reached his breaking point. He will initiate time off for a rest when needed by going fishing, to a monastery, a movie, playing racquetball, or lying on the sofa and watching sports. I keep going until I become resentful, “yell-y,” and “complain-y.”
So, I am trying to be more proactive and practice rest so that I resist falling into the trap of exhaustion and feeling stretched too thin, culminating in a cranky me.
I know that rest refreshes; I just haven’t made it a priority until recently.
What does rest look like to you? What are ways in which you like to rest with yourself, God, family, and friends?
Think hobbies. Think of what brings a smile to your face when you have free time?
I rest by hiking, reading, and escaping to Goodwill. I rest by carving out dates with God, hubby, kids and friends.
On a larger scale, I also rest by planning a trip with my family. Getting out of town and stepping away for a bit does wonders for my soul.
If I don’t carve out that Sabbath space, the calendar will inevitably fill with good, albeit busy-stuff.
Mary wasn’t lazy. Like my husband, she knew when to choose rest. If you struggle with choosing rest, I encourage you to join the quest for rest with me. It is quite lovely.
Amy Luchetti met her husband, Lenny, at Houghton College where he was studying to be a preacher and she a teacher. They have been in many ministry positions together ranging from a small rural church to larger multi-staff churches. Lenny has served as youth pastor, assistant pastor, and lead pastor. He now invests in pastors as he teaches at Wesley Seminary on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University. Amy has served alongside Lenny as a partner in ministry. She also loves her work as an academic specialist at a local elementary school. Amy’s greatest blessings are her husband and three children.