Habits of Grace

For help keeping grace in mind and practical ways to dig deeper, check out David Mathis’ book habits of grace. 

I love that this book is all about enjoying Jesus in our real lives. Mathis’ focus is three-fold:

My translation…

  • Read his word, remembering that he wants to speak to you
  • Use what you’ve read to speak to him, believing that he wants to hear from you too
  • Ask others about their struggles and joys in seeking him through these “means of grace,” not to compare, but to listen and to learn more about who Jesus is 

Thrive

Two Books, One “Problem”

So a couple weeks ago I mentioned the nonfiction book Godspace. I’ve also been reading Thrive and it has been interesting to me how many overlapping themes both books have covered. The two books are written from two very different perspectives with different goals and in many ways are not the same at all.

Thrive

The author of Thrive is the cofounder of the Huffington Post and a highly successful business women in today’s culture. She was inspired to write this book asking us to consider (and re-consider) our culture’s definition of success and the impact it has on our “true” success. She explores an alternative definition, success based on more than money and power, encouraging readers to get sleep, unplug, and give to others. 

Same Difference

Here is one common theme – the importance of self-care, as distinguished and equally necessary to pouring out. The question: How do we define success?

Both authors shared from both their experience of culture and their own personal lives. Both were passionate about what they wrote and backed up their stories and ideas with outside perspectives.

A Second Revolution

I enjoyed the many and diverse quotes sprinkled throughout Thrive, including those of a more classical tradition. Huffington is of Greek ancestry and also shares about the important people in her life, especially her mother, sister and daughters. She says that it is going to be the WOMEN in our world who primarily lead the revolution for us to SLOW DOWN and to REDEFINE what really matters. She suggests that the first women’s liberation movement was just that – the “first” – and that now a second is needed.

Recommend

I did not agree with everything Huffington wrote, but I found her writing intelligent, her perspective on culture spot on and her candor refreshing. If you are looking for a perspective that challenges the status quo (and simultaneously reflects everything about it), give this book a read. The questions raised in both books are good ones, even if the solutions are only partially shared.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ideas discussed in either book!!

GodSpace

One of my favorite authors has a new book out!

I was especially pumped about GodSpace before reading it because it promised to include topics that Keri Wyatt Kent has written about previously, in books which have challenged and encouraged me, while expanding in new directions.

Topics such as: Sabbath, Hospitality, Worship, Simplicity, Gratitude, Generosity, and Critical Thinking.

I was especially curious to see the big picture of how creating space for God connects to each of these topics from her perspective – years spent living and writing – knowing that I am particularly passionate about this concept and some of it’s implications.

I started reading GodSpace over the break, and I have not been disappointed!

It reaffirmed ideas I’m particularly passionate about in ways that encourage me to pursue living, reading and writing in a way that is unique to me. It also fleshed out inherent challenges in each of the topics presented, many of which I have or am wrestling with, and thus, also serves as a reminder that all of life is a journey. I appreciated hearing from someone who agrees spiritual practices are worth writing about, and who has gifts that are both similar and distinct from mine.

Highly recommend!

That’s a (Rest) wrap!

Last week wrapped up our series on Rest. If you missed a week, here are all of the posts in one place for your convenience.

How was this topic for you? Share with us what has been encouraging, challenging, etc.

Spirit-led Sabbath (Ch. 7)

You’ve heard the phrase “Love God, Love people”? This final chapter of the book Rest reminded me of that concept. It’s entitled “Prayer,” and I interpreted the big picture idea as “let the Spirit superintend Sabbath.” After all, anything we do without Him can’t be about Him.

In what ways is God calling you to connect regularly with Himself?

Where is He reminding you that you are part of a people?

Sabbath is an opportunity to let go of whatever our cares are – work, movement, noise, others, self – and to remember that God is in charge of all of it. Makes sense that to be led about anything spiritual, we first seek the Spirit. Pray to the Lord of the Sabbath about how He wants you to use each and every day He gives, and then praying about how He wants you to use the Sabbath will be a natural overflow.

I challenge us to do that every day, and see if rest comes because I think one question practicing Sabbath asks us is:

Will we trust the one who is Rest to provide rest when we need it?

Will we trust Him enough to not do “whatever we could do” and to instead just be ourselves, however that looks for us?

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 7 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. If you enjoyed this series, you might also enjoy Keri’s book Breathe.

 

 

Rest can mean fun too! (Ch. 6)

What comes to mind when you hear the word “rest“?

I’ve noticed when I use the word “rest,” some people think I mean “be bored, do nothing.” One thing I love about this Rest book is that it shows a variety of aspects of what rest looks like. It might surprise to know this chapter is all about playing.

A key part of resting is recreating, and this can be good for your body and mind. Kent describes two Greek words for time which is interesting because we only have one! I found the distinction helpful as she asks what are those things you do that make you lose track of time. That idea is separate from recording what time has passed. Kind of like the difference between a historical timeline and an artist spending an afternoon on an unexpected project.

Another aspect of this book I appreciate is that it is practical. Kent encourages us to consider finances and seasons as we make decisions about Sabbath. What might “play” look like for you right now as we transition from fall to winter?

Which activities do you personally find enjoyable in a soul refreshing way?

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 6 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 7  !

Pause & Breathe! (Ch. 5)

So we’ve talked quite a bit about the idea of a weekly rhythm, but Chapter 5 focuses more on how each day connects to that idea. What are your daily rhythms?  Where are the moments that you feel anxious?

Sometimes, as people, Kent reminds us that we need to pause and intentionally breath. I have seen this in a few places around me lately and it’s kind of amazing how much that simple act can have on a moment. Have you ever found yourself having a stressful day at the office, or in the middle of a yoga pose, when suddenly you realize you forgot to breath? Or at least to breath deeply in a way that is unhurried, unrushed.

I love this reminder because it is so do-able! Wherever you are, whenever you need to, you are free to stop at least for one, two, three deep breaths. Close your eyes, and then see if the situation looks different.

In preschool last week, we talked about what to do when we are feeling sad, angry, etc. The idea of placing your hand on your stomach, telling your body to calm down, breathing deeply and counting out loud was a great reminder for teachers as well as students. Sometimes we just need permission to pause.

Kent also discusses how Sabbath can be a break from the constant go of our world. Technology, people, traffic, all of our lives are full of competing cares. Do you ever just want to touch home base in the middle of a day or week? Like if you could just go home for 30 minutes you know you’d think clearer and enjoy the rest of the day or week more fully?

Kent says “Sabbath-keeping is deeply connected to our homes.” What about that makes you smile? What about that is challenging?

Are you starting to have some ideas about how to add more rest to your days and weeks? What are strategies you have that work well? What are ones you’ve tried that flopped?

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 5 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 6 !

 

 

Another Perspective on Rest (Parenting & More)

In today’s post I reference an article from The Atlantic from about 5 years ago, written by a female politician who chose to quit her job in order to stay home with her teen son. It is a lengthy and controversial article, but the reason I share it with you today is because in the middle of our reading on Rest, it offers an opinion on the idea of Sabbath. Whether or nor you agree with what the author has to say about women, I found this interesting, she says: “one of the great values of the Sabbath—whether Jewish or Christian—is precisely that it carves out a family oasis, with rituals and a mandatory setting-aside of work.” This quote is found in the part of the article on “Revaluing Family Values” and compares a marathon runner’s training to a parent’s daily life.

What do you think about this perspective on…

1. Rest

2. Parenting

3. The rest of the article

 

Life Revisions (Chapter 4)

So far, I’ve spoken a lot about the idea of Sabbath, but the subtitle of the book Rest is “Living in Sabbath Simplicity.” This chapter emphasize that as Sabbath becomes something that you look forward to, you have to prepare for it, which in turn affects the other days of the week. As you begin to make more conscious choices about your time, you will begin to create some rhythms.

Kent emphasizes that a life lived in restful simplicity is a journey and says to begin where you are. She says you can’t force those around you to rest, but you can choose to rest yourself, modeling and inviting others into it. She also says to have grace with the process, that some weeks will be harder than others as will certain seasons. It is ok for Sabbath to be something you “fail” at, that is the beauty of freedom, we are free to mess up. She says Sabbath is about trusting, believing that if you rest for a day the world will keep spinning.

She also encourages creating some rituals, choosing some things that are restful to you and building them into your Sabbath day. So maybe every Sabbath doesn’t look the same, but maybe it has some similar elements and you decide what works for that week. Sharing a meal as a family might be one element you start with and then gradually add others in. She says to be practical and consider what would work in your real life!

So, do you know what things are restful to you? If Sabbath is primarily about loving God and loving others, what would this look like in your weekend? What day would work? Would you take time to prepare your heart to connect with God and others at your church? Would you need to use words like “no” and “not today” more often?

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 4 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 5 !