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April 13, 2007

I realize today that I do not really know how to rest. How can i incorporate a restful rhythm, a sabbath into my weekly routine? What might a day off look like?

I realize this sad fact now three hours into a day i set aside to rest, to re-create and I have no idea what to do with myself. I feel the pressure to get this right and this is a day – I have a hunch here – I should not load with pressure and expectation.

Lord, have mercy.

Friends, teach me what you know (use the comments here or email me if you have any keen insights)

A couple resources I’m exploring after this post: The Sabbath by Heschel and Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva Dawn.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2007 2:16 pm

    kevin –

    you are loved, man. i love your honesty. i recently fell off the sabbath-rhythm-wagon myself, and i am challenged to get back on (i was actually looking at your sustainable faith retreat on lying fallow). i think there is a rhythm and discpline to resting that can be helpful, but just as re-energizing canm be that which we love to do. is there anything – besides straight-up ministering to people and loving them like you do – that so puts you in another realm that when you come out of it you realize how peacefully filled you are (rather than some hyped up, pumped up rah-rah that leads to another crash…)?

    heschel’s first chapter in the sabbath is fantastique! he goes into valuing psace and time and the sacredness of time with God in sabbath. yet, for the monk-ish man that you are, marva dawn’s book is probably a good place to work through (but not while you are in a resting time)…she is so deep, yet so practical, i want to be like her when i grow up.

    so, there are my initial thoughts, i hope it helps, and i pray you find the sweet succor of a sabbth rest…so here is some wordcraft for you as well:

    In the Beholding:

    restful reverie

    candlelight licking at my skin
    shadows leap and pirouette

    behold beauty

    the path of a thought arrested, abandoned

    immanence immediate

    respite from the journey

    in the beholding, You are where I seek
    in the beholding, You remain familiar…intersected
    in the beholding, You pervade my presence
    in the beholding, You linger close…despite the distance
    in the beholding, You traverse the vastness between
    in the beholding, communion…together

    in the beholding, time poised… a breath breathed

    a change has occurred/occurring/yet to occur
    …in the beholding

  2. April 13, 2007 4:15 pm

    Whatup homebrother…glad to see you are at least wrestling with resting rather than ignoring the need. I’d have to agree with the Heschel reccomendation….I especially love that his quote that the “Sabbath helps the world go on for 6 more days.”

    I also like Steve’s insight about asking yourself what brings you to life and puts you back together. A walk in the park, reading a fiction instead of theology, etc.? I think Sabbath should be a day when you have gratuitous fun. As I looked at the beautiful (Guatemalan) sky this morning, it made me realize that God is a God who does things that are irrational just for the sake of His personal enjoyment. God is a pleasure seeker.

    Check out the St. Franky RB site; you’ve inspired me to finally post some of my other Sabbath material on there.

  3. April 13, 2007 4:41 pm

    This is something I wrestle with as well. I’m not sure what makes it a sticking point for you, but I always keep coming back to the lie that our society tells us about downtime (read: time not spent in so-called billable hours creating some kind of product) being wasted time. Also, the word, Sabbath, itself speaks more to the act of worship within my particular contex, than to rest or recreation, because of some of the supposedly important theological stuff I’ve learned. I will say that I’m with Jeremiah on his “gratuitous fun” line of thought, but I’m not sure how to make it work. Just know that you are not alone.

  4. April 13, 2007 4:58 pm

    I just got back from a bike ride. Since my boy has his bike at the daycare some 7.30 km away from our home, my wife and I pulled out our bikes from our balcony (that’s where we keep them) and drove to pick him up. He loved it. He’s 5 ½, so he just learned to ride w/o the supporting wheels. So, we drove this beautiful path through the park home. God’s creation is beautiful at this time of the year. It speaks of His resurrection big time! So, if you are into this, consider biking.

  5. April 13, 2007 7:18 pm

    Here’s a thought I had as I read this: We can’t simply “learn how to rest.” If we have an ingrained, underlying belief structure in place which tells us that “rest” is “waisting time” or stresses us out when we try to rest, constantly leading us to “do something” in place of the seemingly pointless “rest” – then we have a deeper problem than learning how to rest.

    In this case, we can read as much as we want and try to implement ways of resting on top of that belief structure — it may suppress it for a while but it will eventually break down. What needs to be transformed, changed, is that underlying conviction/belief that says “work” is the only thing worth anything in the Kingdom, to which rest is foreign and perhaps even an enemy.

    Like anything for any of us – until that thing in you which sees “rest” as an enemy changes, it will always end up that way – playing out like a battle. And again, like anything for any of us, it’s going to take a while. But putting it out there, to us, and to those close to you, is a huge thing. It’s a giant leap toward changing the underlying structure.

    You know I love you. I don’t know if I have the total answer on how to rest but I can be here to help you work it out for sure. Peace and Rest be with you.

    (yeah, this is the right post to put this in – Lordy lordy)

  6. chris permalink
    April 13, 2007 8:35 pm

    Sleeping Pills? just kidding

    If you asked John Wooden (i wouldn’t but if you did) he might say:
    Failing to plan is planning to fail.

    If anything can be fun to plan it’s pleasure, right? Well for some it can be hard, no doubt.
    Especially if we work in such a way that becomes too much like,
    not actually working (:
    or on the other hand too much work.
    Certainly there is something to say about the balance or lack there of during normal working days. So this is part of the puzzle.

    I wonder if the most practical first step in the right direction is fasting the day before the sabbath. I really can’t think of an easier way to slip into a day of rest.

    For me I must admit… I can on more occasions than not enjoy a day off, Maybe that’s my calling
    – to be off (:

    …what it looks like for me is going to bed late and getting up early.
    Driving around the city, especially on a Saturday morning to see what life looks like when I have no required destination.
    In fact for me rest is not having to think about where my next step is going but rather just taking next steps
    much like a kid shopping with mom……
    Then of course its always nice to find a cold mid day pillow to fall asleep on.
    But waking up before it’s dark and then getting to start the day all over again…. then out for a pint and a film with a comfortable friend.

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