Small Pauses: 31 Days to Rest

Wednesday October 3, 2012

“I’m so busy…but what’s new?” (Quoting myself here…)

Tonight there’s a twinge of guilt with those words, but the word “busy” is usually framed with a sense of honor – as if I wouldn’t be caught dead indulging in something like rest.

Rest flies in the face of our time-honored, all American work ethic. But without rest, we’re incomplete. Without rest, it’s hard to find significance. With no chance to refuel and reflect, life is reduced to a list of meaningless tasks we cross off. Where’s the significance there?

Want significance? Try pause. We all want significance in life. But when we lose sight of rest, the only thing that’s significant is achievement – how much I got done. We do and do and do, and we proudly cross tasks off our list; but without pause, we lose sight of our purpose. In fact, all that’s in sight is that list and that face in the mirror. We’re looking to ourselves, not to God.

Pause helps us learn and grow; rest provides purpose. Consider Nehemiah. After learning of the ruins of his beloved Jerusalem, he prayed and fasted, then emerged with purpose. Joseph’s years in prison gave him pause – and the opportunity to use his God-given abilities to bring glory to God.

How to find pause?
Most of us would love to embark on a two week vacation and revel in the sanctuary found there. But it’s just not practical for us. So how do we go about instilling bits of rest into our days?

We can build small pauses into each day. Think of them as mini-retreats, quick reminders of your purpose and your source.

• Have a one-room retreat. Keep one room in the house picked up and free of kid stuff or work stuff. Then you can go there and pretend, for just a few minutes, that the rest of the house looks like that! Seriously, having one place that’s neat and purposely engineered for peace can be calming.

• Build small pauses into your day – a few minutes of Bible reading, prayer, or devotion every morning or after every meal, to center you before returning to the trenches. You may have to give something else up, but it’s worth it for a glimpse of real rest.

• Add music. Music helps calm the savage beast – the right kind of music, that is. Even when you’re busy something else, you can add music that reflects the Creator and refreshes your spirit.

• Feeling overwhelmed in the heat of the moment? Stop; just pause. Don’t say anything. Just take a breath; let it out. Walk into the next room if you can. Just for a minute. Take a pause and take a moment to breathe a quick, quiet prayer. Let your spirit find pause.

Need a little more help in choosing rest? Take a look at Psalm 1:1-3.

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

As I consider finding rest in my everyday life, I have to weigh what I do with my time. This passage tells me to delight in the Law, meditate on it. I’m most at rest when I use my times of pause to take a deep breath and draw in the significance of His spirit.

The result of a life of pause can’t be denied. Scripture tells me that I’ll be like a tree, yielding fruit. When I rest in Him, I won’t be stagnant or simply driven by achievement; instead, I’ll yield a fragrant crop that will draw others to that life-giving tree.

Linking up today with Duane Scott for Unwrapping His Promises and Jennifer for God-Bumps & God-Incidences.

Photo credit 


Jerralea said...

Laura, excellent points in your post! I 100% agree with you.

Today's world does act like it is an honor to be busy. I both love and hate your statement: "In fact, all that’s in sight is that list and that face in the mirror. We’re looking to ourselves, not to God." I love it because it's true. I hate it because I saw myself in that....

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE this. I just took a tech-free day yesterday, and it helped IMMENSELY. And I leave earlier than necessary to get my kids from school so I can sit in the school parking lot and read or pray or just relax. Such a blessing.

Jennifer @ said...

What a helpful, thoughtful post. I so appreciate you... Sharing this one in my Soul Food sidebar today. Thanks so much.

This really hit me: " ... the word “busy” is usually framed with a sense of honor – as if I wouldn’t be caught dead indulging in something like rest."

Faith said...

YES!! love this...I agree wholeheartedly and I do most of the things on your list....I tend to walk as a form of "rest" as well....mental's when i do my best praying!

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Laura,

I'm popping over from Scribing the Journey. Nice to meet you.

Those are good tips on finding pauses and rest in our days. I like putting on music, brewing hot coffee, and pulling out my journal and Bible -- with a smooth-rolling pen-- or sneaking away to a hammock hideaway in a tree. :)

Have a great week,
Jennifer Dougan

Michelle DeRusha said...

I know I'm guilty of tossing out the "I'm SO busy" like a badge of honor. Thanks for telling it straight, Laura. {and good tips, too}

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