To find a rhythm of rest sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
It conjures up images of peaceful streams and unhurried days. To me I imagine playing at the beach with my children, walking along the shore with my husband and enjoying a meal with loved ones. It nearly always includes slowing down and savouring the feeling of the warm sun on my face, browsing slowly at the shops, or just sitting quietly, taking deep breaths, and listening to the birds chirping outside.
To find and live out a rhythm of rest can prove more difficult. With the demands of daily living, work, active children, and chores needing to be done, finding a rhythm of rest goes against society’s current ways of living.
And yet we desperately need to find this rhythm, for our own sake and for the sake of others who are around us and need us. In the depths of our being, I think we know this because our Creator knew this when he created the universe and created a day of rest.
‘By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so, on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.’ (Genesis Chapter 2 verses 2 and 3)
God then incorporated a day of rest as one of his laws in the ten commandments.
‘Remember the sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. (Exodus Chapter 20 verses 8 to 10).
Daily Office and Sabbath
Peter Scazzero writes in his book, Emotionally healthy spirituality, at the heart of the daily office and the sabbath is stopping to surrender to God in trust.
To explain the Daily Office in simple terms it is stopping throughout each day at set times to stop and connect with God. The four elements include.
Stopping 2. Centering (breath work) 3. Silence 4. Scripture.
Scazzero recommends prayers by Phyllis Tickle, Northumbria Community and Norman Shawchuck as places to start and the night prayer (compline) by St. Ignatius. Of course, this is just a recommended list, but I think it is more about the practise of setting out and remembering to stop and connect to our creator throughout the course of our busy day.
The Sabbath traditionally is to stop working. Scazzero lists the four principles as
1.Stop 2. Rest 3. Delight 4. Contemplate.
Scazzero suggests having one day per week that is full of activities that fill you with joy. It could be anything really that delights your soul and fills you with rest.
Giving yourself permission
It is difficult to give yourself permission to stop and find this rhythm of rest, yet to thrive we really need to. If we do not learn to rest, we can fall in a heap, become sick, mentally fatigued, and emotionally fragile.
It is not about lying-in bed all day, although sometimes it may include doing just that! I believe it is more to do with taking a pause both physically and mentally and connecting with God. Asking the holy spirit for guidance and waiting on him for his leadings and promptings and to hear his still, small voice within our spirit. We are often more energised afterwards and then are more productive.
Jesus often withdrew and went to a quiet place to pray, and he taught his disciples to do the same.
He invites us today to come to him.
‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ (Matthew Chapter 11 verses 28-30)
Jo Fuller lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast with her husband, son and daughter. Jo is a teacher with an education in journalism and early childhood who loves to spend time with her family and enjoys reading and writing whenever she can.