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 !

 

Ancient Roots & Purpose of a Weekly Rest (Chapter 3, part 2)

Roots

In ancient Judaism, Sabbath was a day anticipated, and then reflected on.  Sabbath followers would spend 3 days preparing, 1 day observing and remembering, and 3 days looking back in gratitude for a day in which they were allowed to rest. At this time in history, people worked 7 days a week so some cultures viewed them as lazy for taking a day off. Other cultures, such as the Romans, similarly adopted a day off.

Thus, while the Jewish & Roman calendars aligned, Sabbath has been practiced in many ways by different people groups throughout time. The early Christians emphasized a day of gathering in celebration, as opposed to the Jewish Shabbat rest, and the day of the week shifted from Saturday to Sunday after the time of Christ (hint: think Resurrection Day).

As far back as creation in the Old Testament, we see the idea of Sabbath mentioned. With the giving of the 10 Commandments, there were 3 instructions about relating to God, 1 about the Sabbath and 6 about relating to others.  After the Exodus, the more detailed law was given to the Israelites to show them how to live as free people and included instructions about how to Sabbath. In the New Testament, Jesus seems to model a new approach to the law, again Sabbath is still included.

Purpose

It seems the original purpose of Sabbath was for the people to remember two things. First, that God worked for 6 days and then rested for 1, and so by living as He did we remember Him (and simultaneously remember we are not Him!). Second, the people who were slaves and never allowed a day off were now free. The symbols of the Sabbath meal included reminders of God’s provision and opportunity to thank Him.

In what other ways did people observe the Sabbath? Is there any relevance to today? Does it matter which day it is, what we do, or don’t do? I would agree with Kent that the Sabbath is more about freedom than rules, that it is an opportunity to receive the gift of rest and to remember that we are loved, but I also find it interesting to research. In studying and practicing the Sabbath today, we connect to an ancient past, remembering that the story is bigger and older than we are and that rest, freedom and love are available for all.

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 3 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 4!

Learning to Rest (Chapter 3, part 1)

When I first read the book Rest, maybe 7 years ago, I was tired of running the rat race. I was desperate for permission to rest and I had observed that some people I knew actively chose a day of rest. I was uncertain howto apply the idea of weekly rest to my life and Kent’s book gave me a starting place to build some pause in my crazy week-to-week.

Regular, weekly rest?

The word and idea of weekly rest continued to grow when I met Jeremy, for whom Saturday was an intentional, specific and important rest day.  He is a disciplined person and had many routines in his week, but Sabbath had celebratory, almost sacred rituals. This practice intrigued me, and in fact, the desire and ability to rest together was key for both of us in valuing our relationship early on.

I chose to re-read Rest this past Spring because the roots and observation of Sabbath had been on my mind. Resting seems vague, what is Sabbath really about? Is it fair to plan to take a day of rest on a day when others usually want to hang out? In other words, is there still reason to Sabbath, and what does that look like in our actual lives, especially as we enter a new season?

As I read, once again, I learned and was re-affirmed in my desire for a weekly rest. I also saw ways that we could grow in our practice of it. Kent describes Sabbath as a day more focused on loving God and loving others. We see it as a day resting from giving to others so we can be refueled to focus on loving God and others the other six days.

An interesting tension that I don’t think we’ve reconciled so much as recognized that we want both in our weeks. Re-reading Rest challenged and encouraged me to consider the details of the Koziols observation of Sabbath in 2017 and beyond, so to speak. What is my hope for Sabbath in 10 years? What can I incorporate now?

What does regular, weekly rest look like?

I really like some of the ancient Jewish ways of practicing, such as welcoming the Sabbath with a family meal, candles, best dishes and words of thanksgiving, blessing, remembrance. This idea is not something I feel I have to do or that everyone should do, it is something that I am fascinated by and want to observe in our home. Since Saturday seems to be the day that works best for us, starting with a Friday evening meal at sunset is one way I can revise our lives to emphasize Sabbath.

Doing so will mean preparation during the week and more challenge on the Fridays I work, but I am grateful that there is freedom both to make a special feast or to order take-out. I hope that my family will want to participate in this time, but there are many options for a Friday night! The details of what follows – talking a walk, telling stories, or playing games – are less important to me than the time for family to gather and share a meal, and then spend time making memories together.

Our Saturdays will in some ways remain unchanged, but I think there are revisions we can make here as well. We’d like Saturday to include time for me to rest, for Jeremy to rest and for us to rest together. We may not rest in the same ways or at the same time. We may choose to not go shopping and be available relationally, or we may need some time to simply be. Saturday evenings are usually date night for us.

Sundays are usually a time to gather and celebrate with our larger family. As teachers, Sunday afternoons are usually spent preparing for the week ahead, doing chores, or as a catch-up day. There is something unique about creating and maintaining a weekly rest and there are challenges.

The good news? Sabbath is a practice and a journey, and I’m in the middle of it. Also, I’m not alone in it. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 3 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for part 2 of Chapter 3!

 

How to create some Daily & Weekly Rest Rhythms (Chapter 2, part 2)

In regard to Sabbath-keeping, Kent says, “There are no rules, except this: just stop.” When God sentenced the Israelites to 40 years of wilderness wandering, He said, “they shall never enter my rest.” Doesn’t that sound awful? Perpetual wandering. We are invited into His rest.

Kent says, “rest is a gift, but we can’t receive it if we don’t stop to open it.” Sabbath-keeping is not about checking a list. It is a way of asking yourself and those closest to you, what does it look like to stop? How can we receive the gift of His rest?

today?

this week?

this month?

Daily

Our bodies are amazing in many ways and one of these I’ve lately been discovering is connected to our circadian rhythm. Light, time and hormones work together to cue us in to when it is day and when it is night. We have times that we are more or less alert throughout the day, times we are more ready to work, to eat or to relax.

While we sleep, our bodies also have rhythms or cycles that have different purposes. Scientists believe that one part of our sleep pattern helps to restore our bodies, while another helps to restore our minds. Isn’t that amazing?

Research shows that going to bed, and especially getting up at a consistent time can help you to feel more physically and mentally alert. There have also been countless magazine articles written to suggest routines before going to bed or upon waking. These are one way to rest regularly.

Are there also ways to integrate rest into your day? Maybe a 10-minute walk on your coffee break? Maybe turning the radio on while you are getting ready for the day?

Weekly

Sabbath, specifically, is about setting apart a day, a 24-hour period of rest. Which day and what “stopping” looks like may vary, but here is one example. We see in the Creation story and the Jewish tradition that the day actually began with sunset.

According to Kent, traditionally the Hebrew day was broken apart like this:

  • 6pm-10pm: 4 hours available for relationships
  • 10pm-6am: 8 hours available for sleep
  • 6am-6pm: 12 hours available for productivity and work

How does that compare with how we spend our time today?

Most of us are not farmers, use electricity and depend on technology for everything from entertainment to relational connection. I’m not suggesting we return to the past, but I challenge you to consider the rhythm of your week-to-week.

Do you have any rest built in? Is there one thing you could do to create some rest today? 

If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 2 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for chapter 3, part 1!