For the last couple of months I have mentioned a great book a few times called “Rhythms of Rest” and how it is helping me to see how good rest is. I mean, resting is just as good as taking a pill! It’s the best medication that we can have.
Mind you, it’s fine me saying this now, but just a couple of weeks ago I must admit, I struggled. Why? Because I was in pain.
“But that is when you should rest, isn’t it?” I hear you say!
Yes, it is!
And did I?
When life is going well, advice is always easier to take on board. Situations seem to sail along quite calmly. However, when the tide changes and the seas get a bit rougher, that’s when it’s hard to see the clear skies ahead.
A number of weeks ago, I had a great week making time each morning to read devotions and pray. During that week, I was really productive in getting as much done to prepare for the weekend…trying to get all the washing done (including folding it up and putting it away!) running all the errands that needed running, getting food in, cleaning the house…this was all in between working a full time job and having kids. I think you get the picture.
What was so important at the weekend that I was breaking my back getting all this stuff done? I was preparing to have a full day of rest on the Saturday.
Yes, you did read that correctly…A FULL DAY!!
To think a busy, working mum with 3 kids could actually do that. But I did…and it worked.
Don’t get me wrong, the day was fantastic. It’s what happened the following days later.
My mind was fully refreshed and charged up after a day of rest, but my body was nudging me quietly and telling me something completely different.
Was I listening? Was I paying attention to the little signs?
Of course I wasn’t. I’m a stubborn northerner and I think I know best. Anyway, things needed to be done so there was no way that I could stop.
What happened though, was that I had done so much back-breaking rushing around during the week to prepare for one day, that I didn’t notice how tired I was really getting. I mean, tired to the point that I was struggling to stay awake.
After my day of rest, I went straight into rushing around again preparing for the next day of rest, which was to be a week later. In all the rushing around and not listening to my body, guess what?
Crack! I did my back in. Doing what? Unloading the dishwasher. Of all things! Seriously!! Pain shot through my body. How ironic that all the back-breaking work I put into having a Sabbath day actually made my back crack!
I really struggled the week that followed. To the point that I was walking like some old woman with a zimmer frame. I couldn’t lift anything. Every time I sat down it hurt. Every time I stood up it hurt. Every time I tried to walk it hurt. Even sleeping in bed hurt. Suffice to say, I think it hurt!
In Shelly Miller’s book “Rhythms Of Rest”, she writes about how we need to take baby steps towards achieving our Sabbath and how not to feel guilty in doing so. She makes a whole heap of sense in her book, but unfortunately, like the true Northerner I am, I still really wasn’t taking it in. I have learnt the hard, and painful, way of trying to rest with a rhythm .
Do you know what my problem was? Why my back went out? I hadn’t actually made rest as a rhythm. The title of Shelly’s book really hit me at that point. Sabbath is not just about one day, or a specific day. Sabbath is spending time with God – whenever, wherever, and however. It doesn’t matter if I spend 10 minutes sitting on a bench thinking, or if I spend 10 minutes having a little snooze.
Seriously? Sleep? Yes! Why not? Oh how that was such a revelation to me.
When we make a special meal for someone, sometimes it’s not the first time we have tried to make it. It might be 3 or 4 times before we perfect the dish, using different ingredients each time. It’s kind of like that with Sabbath. We are creating a special time with someone and it takes time to get the right ingredients, and plenty of trial runs!
I loved that day I had, spending time in His presence with my family. I wanted that day again so much. It’s just not going to happen though. Not at the moment in the season that I am in anyway. Having a young family, a job that has a lot of pressure and is very physical, outside commitments, my health, home stuff and being a wife, I struggle a whole heap.
I am slowly learning that not everything can be done at once. I am also finding, just like my life, that I need to adapt more. I need to be more flexible with my time and not to restrict myself too much.
Shelly covers all these issues, and a whole lot more in her book. She shares encouraging stories and practical advice in a way that really helps to restore your soul. If you are finding, like me, that you are struggling a little and you need a bit of guidance, then may I suggest that you get her book. It’s available right now through Amazon.
She has been doing a book tour in the US over the last couple of weeks spreading the message of her much needed book. She is coming back this week and will be launching her book in the U.K. very shortly.
She will be starting on Saturday 12th November with a book launch at the church I attend at St Barnabas in Kensington. If you are free, why don’t you come and join me and hear what she has to say in person. Believe me, in this busy world that we live in, her message is what we all need to hear.