Permission to Rest

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)

We recently returned from a four-day retreat & training on spiritual formation and soul care at the Potters Inn in Colorado. It was eye-opening, and a great encouragement to continue doing what we’re doing at Wesley Gardens, developing and creating space for people to get away and find true rest. For even as Christians, we’re often exhausted, busy and enslaved to work.

In Chinese, busyness translates into two characters: “heart” and “annihilation”. None of us wants our hearts to be annihilated, but apart from some intentionality and surrender, it’s where we’re heading. The Sabbath is one “rhythm of grace” given to aid us otherwise. The ESV references “rest” 521 times, and “Sabbath” 150. Apparently God cares about them. One seventh of the week, He invites us to “press pause”, acknowledging His story, and allowing us to lay down our defenses because of what He’s done. Avoiding the Sabbath is usually either a trust issue, or a pride one. Either we don’t believe God can keep the world on its axis if we take a day off, or we’d rather be in control than spend a day learning to rest with Him.

Solitary branch near the Little Pavilion

Solitary branch near the Little Pavilion

The word Sabbath comes from “Shabbat”, which literally means to stop - to cease from our usual rhythms of work. For us, this looks something like worshiping with the Body (if our Sabbath falls on a Sunday), then pursuing portions of rest throughout the day (roasting coffee or browsing an architecture magazine (Micah)...journaling or baking cookies (Abbie)). One of us may cover the kids and allow the other some solitude. We nap if possible, and leave space for spontaneity and play. Sometimes we’ll share a meal with someone(s) life giving, take a walk in the woods, or head to the beach. The bottom line is, for one day a week, we intentionally strive to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 4:11).

Our creator rested after the work of creation, and commanded us to. From the work that is wearing for us, whether bills, spreadsheets, laundry, or grocery shopping..., God permits us to give ourselves a break, trusting they’ll kindly wait until morning. Babies and children will call for some creativity here, and at any stage, really, a Sabbath will require tweaks and grace and may not ever fit squarely into a box. Again though, the goal is not perfection, but finding rest in His.

What might it look like for you, or your family, to practice Sabbath’ing this Fall? (Please let us know if we, or Wesley Gardens, can aid in allowing this to happen.) +

Gratefully, Micah & Abbie