Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Practicing Pauses {a new series and a guest post!}

After going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7 for 31 Days last October, and then having an unexpected Advent season, I'm starting a new series (and personal focus - so I'll be talking to myself in these posts, too): Practicing Pauses. I'm hoping to explore incorporating Sabbath into my daily rhythms, even when those rhythms seem more chaotic than melodic. In keeping with that theme, an introduction written by my dear friend Kayla from Renown and Crowned...

At my house, there is one continuous action: go. From the first, "Momma, come get you!" plea to the final song sung after the light is turned out, motion ensues. The occasional respite may be indulged, but only for books to be read aloud. {Always plural, never singular.} So when you say the word rest, my initial thought is, "Impossible."

But as our household has transitioned from one to two littles, I have found that admitting defeat in the realm of rest does nothing but hinder my pursuit thereof. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? I mean, if I think obtaining rest can't happen, will I garner the aptitude to try? Not likely. I close the shutters of my mind and move on with life, muttering something about exhaustion along the way. That's what people expect me to do.

If, however, I would like to attempt such a daring feat as seeking rest in the midst of motion, I must start looking for opportunities to rest... and then do so. Much like last year when we started counting and recounting gifts with thankfulness, rest often comes in the little things that we overlook in anticipation of larger time slots for things such as naps, uninterrupted sleep, or even retreats. What if...shall I suggest it?... What if we could rest every day?

When God commanded the Israelites to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy (set apart)," He wanted them to walk in a pattern that included rest. So, as a mom of 2 under 3, how does the Sabbath apply to me? There's no way they will be okay with me taking a day off from cooking or changing diapers. Maybe instead, I can develop a life pattern that includes rest.

Understanding that life seasons and circumstances differ from family to family, here are some ways I've incorporated rest into our routine:

- For a time, Buddy, our 2 year old, was somewhat resistant to the idea of naps. When the Holy Spirit prompted me to discuss with him how resting is one way we honor God, He also reminded me. It's not uncommon to hear the admonition, "Honor God with your rest!" before naptime around our house. When I realize that choosing to ignore opportunities to rest is dishonoring God, I more easily select rest over frantic busyness.
- Setting aside days as "different" from every other. Sundays at our house are (supposed to be) unplugged. Sometimes that doesn't happen, but we aim to keep the computer off and the tablets put away. Some days are designated "simple meals" in an effort to slow things down.
- Got a few unexpected minutes of down time? I learned to do whatever helps me rest. Read a book or God's Word. Journal a few thoughts. Grab a bite to eat or study the back of my eyelids.

It really is okay if writing is how I rest but not how you rest. God doesn't compare us to each other; He holds us accountable for how we steward the minutes He has given us. And, yes, that includes rest. When I find myself in the midst of a season of overwhelming motion, I sometimes stop and ask, "Am I honoring God with my rest?" If my next question is, "What rest?" it's probably time to reevaluate what might be hindering my rest. I’m learning to keep my eyes wide open -- rest is all around me, if I’m willing to look for it and take it when it comes.

A Jesus follower, wife, and mom of 2, Kayla lives convinced that life is a grand adventure, if we allow God to train our eyes to see it. She chronicles her own grand adventure over at Renown and Crowned, and she’d love to hear about yours, too!

Along with the command to rest, God is gracious to give us opportunities to rest - but we have to watch for them! How can you open your eyes and heart to those moments?

No comments: