Tag Archives: Rest

Where I learned something about myself

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A few weeks ago my husband and I went away for the weekend, just by ourselves.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times that we have left our children and had a weekend getaway.  We have been in full time ministry for the last 20 years and we’ve been parents for more than 17 of those years.  Weekend getaways have been few and far between.  But this year we started the year with putting two dates on the calendar before any others.  We blocked out a week vacation for a “stay-cation” at the end of summer and we blocked out a weekend away just for us.

22 Kilometers (just under an hour) of winding, climbing dirt road.

22 Kilometers (just under an hour) of winding, climbing dirt road.

We chose a new location to explore on our getaway.  We took the very, VERY bumpy and long road up to Monteverde Cloud Forest.  As we climbed up and up the mountainous dirt road separating the coastal highway from the high-altitude forest preserve, I enjoyed the scenery and the ever changing flora without the bickering of siblings and the tired, whining demands of children behind me.  We played the music WE wanted to hear.  We stopped and took pictures where WE wanted to stop.  We bought and ate the gas station snacks that WE wanted to eat.  It was lovely.

Up, up in the clouds it was cool and damp.  It was the most Fall-like weather I’ve ever experienced in the tropics.  This Minnesota girls who was starting to miss the seasonal changes got her “fall fix” and was happy.  Our hotel was at the very end of the road, just before the entrance to the National Park.  It was quiet up there.  I liked that… a lot!

The little town of Santa Elena which services the tourists coming to the cloud forest was a kitschy little collection of souvenir shops, typical Costa Rican restaurants, and “Extreme” tourism offices.  If Wisconsin Dells were transported to the Swiss Alps, that would describe Santa Elena and Monteverde.  It was cute.  After all, who doesn’t love “Reptile World” and souvenir magnets?  We ate at an amazing restaurant built into a tree.  We pretended that the Swiss Family Robinson had opened a restaurant in Costa Rica.  The food was so tasty that we went back for dinner the next night too!

Eating at the Tree House Restaurant... the original Rainforest Cafe, I suppose.

Eating at the Tree House Restaurant… the original Rainforest Cafe, I suppose.

We decided to skip the zip lining adventure since we’ve done that a million times.  And we didn’t pay to go into the National Park.  It’s been our experience that animals pay no attention to the boundary lines of parks.  They go where the food is, hence, where the people are.  So we skipped that.  We took a very disappointing night hike with an Israeli family who talked incessantly and loudly, successfully warning any animals of our presence.  The best part about the night-hike was the gigantic tarantula we found in a dead tree stump.  Note to self:  if you’re ever lost in the jungle in the night, do NOT place your back against a dead tree unless you want to be instantly covered in prehistoric sized insects of all varieties.

After the successful ATV tour through the cloud forest.

After the successful ATV tour through the cloud forest.

But the absolute best part of the weekend was that I drove an ATV (4 wheeler) for the first time!  Josh had gone before a few times, but it was my first time.  I mainly agreed to do it for my husband’s sake.  I was the only girl in the group.  I was super nervous and cautious at first.  But once I got the hang of it, I could keep up with the men no problem.  And guess what.  It was a BLAST!  I was so proud of myself for learning to drive it and for being brave.  I really enjoyed it and will definitely be doing that again!

We also spent plenty of time just reading quietly, examining birds through binoculars while sitting in our front window, and just being together… without kids!  It was a wonderful weekend getaway.  We came home feeling refreshed and ready for the next challenges that life and ministry would bring our way.  We decided we need to do that more often.  It was lovely.

Jesus had boundaries too

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Our Savior Jesus, walked in a human body with human limitations.  If the Son of God had to draw boundaries, then so do I.  In Mark 6 we have two stories back to back that show the stress and strain placed on Jesus in the ministry.  First we see him preparing to send out his disciples for some hands-on ministry training time.  He gives them instructions, forms little teams, and sends them out.  In the meantime, Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist is beheaded.  John’s own disciples go to collect the body and bury him.  (A couple of Jesus’ own disciples HAD been followers of John before Jesus started his public ministry, so this news would have come as a shock to them as well.)  So the disciples come back to Jesus to report on what they did on their mini missions trip around the area and they receive the bad news of John’s death.  This is what we read in Mark 6:30-32.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Have you ever been so busy that you haven’t had time to even EAT let alone talk with your family… or worse, you haven’t been able to grieve for a loss or celebrate a victory!  We need times of retreat to do both, to heal and to savor life.  When the pace is rapid fire, go-go-go that is a time when we need to pull in the boundary lines.  It’s not always possible to slow down and take a weekend away RIGHT NOW.  But you still need it, soon.  Put it on the calendar.  Say No to some lesser obligations to carve out space for rest and retreat.

Also, don’t forget your Sabbath Rest.  This is a commandment!  You need one day per week to stop working and to honor God.  On the Sabbath we honor God with our Rest.  For most people it is Sunday- but for ministers this is a work day, so they need to take a different day for rest.  This is a commandment!  “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”  For the 6 days of creation, the Lord worked, and on the 7th day he rested… not because he was tired.  God rested to give us the example of HOW TO STOP WORKING and to honor Him.  God has ordered us to rest.  (I love rest!  I could take a nap every day!! So why is this such a hard commandment to obey?)

So back to the passage in Mark 6.  Jesus wanted his disciples to rest and retreat for a while.  But when they arrived at their retreat destination, there was a crowd of several THOUSAND people waiting for Jesus.  Rest would have to wait a while longer.  Jesus had compassion on the multitudes of “shepherdless” people, so he stayed to teach them and then feed them with miraculous provisions.  After the 5,000 were fed, we read this:

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray alone.

Jesus needed a break.  And the disciples needed a break too.  They needed it badly enough for Jesus to send them ahead while he dismissed the crowd.  It’s like saying, “Honey, take the kids out to the car and wait for me,” when you see your children having an exhaustion fueled melt-down on the floor in the church lobby.  I think Jesus knew his disciples had reached their limits.  He knew where HIS limits were too, and he knew it was time to recharge the batteries with some quiet, alone time with the Father.  Even the Son of God needed to pull away for a while and rest.  I love that.  It helps me accept and embrace my own need for rest and retreat.

Why don’t we use the word “Repose” anymore?

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“Now there was a famine in the land… The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.  Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you, I will bless you’… So Isaac stayed and planted crops in that year, and in the same year reaped a harvest a hundred fold becasue the Lord blessed him.”  Genesis 26

 

In church on Sunday I happened to be having a good Spanish day, my mind tracking exactly with what the pastor was preaching.  I got into the zone where I didn’t have to be translating back into English as I was listening, I was just thinking in Spanish.  Then the pastor said a phrase that just caught in my mind.  He said, “Repose en El”.  I knew he was saying “Rest in Him”, but I got stuck on the word Repose.  I tried to think of the exact English word.  I know we use the word Repose in English, but I just couldn’t think in what context.

So I went home and looked up the word in the dictionary, I mean on the internet.  And I was thrilled with what I found.  “Repose” does indeed mean rest, relax and lay down.  But it also has other uses.  It can mean:

a state of being at rest

peace, tranquility, calm

a dignified calmness of manner, composure

to rest from work or activity

to refresh by rest

to put confidence or trust in a person or thing

to put under the authority or at the disposal of a person

to deposit

This was very interesting considering the context.  The message was about what to do when a Crisis comes to your life.  When a Child of God finds himself in a Crisis of some kind, he should tune his spirit to the Lord and find out what God’s plan is.  We are not to strive and worry and stress.  We are not to follow the plans of our own minds or the natural ways of the world.  God’s ways are not our ways.  Very often God’s ways are contrary to our logic and our instinct, but if we follow His instructions, we will reap a harvest even in times of drought.  He will bless us for our obedience.

When the Crisis comes, Rest in the Lord.  Put your confidence and trust in Him.  Put yourself and your wellbeing under the authority of God.  Put all you have at God’s disposal to do with as He sees fit.  Make your deposit in the Lord.

Your calm manner, your peace and tranquility in the face of general panic and chaos will strike a stark contrast with the ways of the world.  Your soothing manner will become an oasis.  You will be the calm in the center of the storm.  When you repose in Him, you will become a very appealing oddity in the worried eyes of the world.

Are you ready to Repose in Him?  When all the world is in a panic, can you trust and rest and remain calm?  Only a true child of God will be able to put their trust in Him in the time of crisis.  Make your deposit safe in the Lord.  Repose in Him when the storm rages around you.

One of my favorite pictures. If you look closely, the guy in the doorway is holding a cup of coffee. Love that!

 

I am Anti-Religion

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“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.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  ~Jesus

I have to admit, this passage appeals deeply to me.  I AM tired.  I AM  worn out.  I AM  burned out on religion.  It’s like he’s talking directly to me!  I want to live in the unforced rhythms of grace.

For me, grace has been a learning process.  It’s not always been something I have valued.  I have learned how to have grace with myself and my failures, and by the same token, to give grace to others.  The burden of religion that I placed on myself was ill fitting and heavy.  I had to be perfect!  And if I wasn’t, no one else must see it!  Perfectionism is a heavy burden to bear.

Thankfully, that’s not where I am anymore.  Do I have it all down perfectly?  No, but I’m learning to live freely and lightly, comfortable in my skin, not overly caught up in my successes or failures.  I’m not always at peace with my daily cycles of work and rest and learning from God and applying to my walk.  But I see improvement.  I suppose that before I can extend grace to others, I have to first learn to cut myself some slack.  And for me, that is a very difficult thing to do.  I need Jesus to teach me the unforced rhythms of grace.