Rest, Celebration and God

I’m always amazed at how tired I get, and how hard I have to work to keep my life in balance.  I have too many unreturned emails and voice mails already this week and enough work to do to keep me up for a while.  Too much to do, too little time.  Work and life blur together so readily in our wired world.  I’m writing this on my laptop in my living room with my cell phone next to me while my family is off the my left in the kitchen.

One of the things that happened to me on the cruise we were on last week is that I rested — deeply. Because I actually unplugged, I had little choice.  It was awesome.  I came back so rested and awake that I feel fully alive every day so far this week.  It’s so cool.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t close to burn out before, but I think so many of us live with a low-level line-buzz of day to day fatigue that we just don’t hear it or feel it any more. 

Over the last month, my bible readings have taken me, among other things, into Leviticus and Numbers.  Right through the passages that talk about offerings, feast days and Sabbath rest.  I think it must have been crazy to be a follower of God in the Old Testament.  Every time you turned around, you had to bring an offering, stop and have a holiday, rest for the Sabbath, or do something that made you break your daily routine and focus on God.  There is a forced rhythm of rest in the Old Testament that grinds you to a halt and into the presence of God regularly.

Do we need more of that?  I have had Good Friday and Easter on my mind for months now, not just as  a preacher but as a worshiper.  I don’t want to miss these moments.  I want to absorb as much as possible what happened and what God was/is doing and what it means.   I think the key to that is to pause — each day — to remember and to keep life in balance.

So, work pending, here’s what I’ve done this week.  Gotten eight hours of rest every night.  Been on the treadmill five times in ten days to overcome my inert lifestyle.  Eaten better.  Took intentional devotional and prayer time each morning.  Spent two night with my family (with a third coming tonight). And let the work “pile up” against my normal pattern.  Usually, I’d squander evenings by doing half work half play and doing both poorly.   

I feel better.  I feel more grounded in God.  I feel more present for people when I am with them.  I feel the presence of Christ more deeply.   Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evening will be “pause” days with my family this weekend.  I want to experience God and the power of relationship with Him and others more than anything.  I want to tap into that same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  That’s what scripture promises.  Why aren’t more of us experiencing it?  Is rest a part of our issue today?

What’s your experience with all this?  My wish for you is the power of Christ fully present in your life and the life of your friends this Easter weekend.  How are we going to get there?  What role do resting and pausing play in all this?