In the kitchen, I snapped at Mike for not running the dishwasher overnight (I’m the one who forgot), ignored Bella during breakfast while I tended to work emails on my phone, and griped under my breath while making a Daniel-Plan-Fast-approved breakfast smoothie when I all I wanted was a freaking bagel.
Not my best hour, I’ll admit. Thank goodness for grace.
My life has been a flurry of activity over the several months. I spent the bulk of last week producing a retreat in Florida (I’ll admit, it wasn’t much of a “retreat” for me, but it was a broadening, life-changing experience). Our marketing communications boutique is thriving with new clients and fresh projects to tackle and content to write. I’m increasingly involved in our church, our community, and our world – and family and friends are more a lifeblood priority than ever before.
I am blessed beyond measure – and I am also very, very tired.
I’m honestly not complaining – stress is part of life, and we shouldn’t bother trying to avoid it. I’m working hard on not responding with an off-putting “Busy” or “Overwhelmed” when someone asks how I’m doing.
But the realities of being blessed and stressed are that rest – that real Sabbath rest Jesus talks about, where you abide in the Father and the Father abides in you – is just really hard to come by. What’s worse, rest is counter-cultural for us, rarely deemed an acceptable excuse for not producing increasingly more and more and more…
Today, I met with my discipleship “Huddle” over my lunch break – a close-knit group of Christian friends learning how to become “disciples who make disciples.” The topic of rest has been on the group’s agenda for weeks now… and today, it resonated with me for the first time.
We looked at a LifeShape called the Semi-Circle – a pattern of life we are designed to follow to healthfully and faithfully flow between rest and work, between abiding and bearing fruit.
Have you ever seen a kid fall off a swing in an attempt to go higher than gravity allows? Not fun.
The same applies here. If we push the pendulum-on-a-swing toward work too much, eventually it will break through the circle and cause some serious mental, physical and spiritual damage.
And if we don’t choose to rest, rest will be imposed upon us through sickness, lack of clarity and purpose – or complete and utter burnout. I am speaking from experience, as you can probably tell!
In John 15:1-17, Jesus talks about how just like fruit trees, we are sometimes “pruned” by God – so that in the end, we may bear good fruit.
We may be in a thriving season of life where we are blossoming, flourishing in our work. We may be in seasons of seemingly fruitless strain, spinning our wheels, fearing the worst, and abiding in the love of God as the only certainty to cling to.
This idea of Sabbath rest isn’t really about whether or not to work on Sundays. Sometimes it’s just unavoidable. It’s about making purposeful time to rest, abide, and allow God to prune you – and making it a top priority. I’m welcoming it as part of my training on taming lions.
Through this Daniel Plan journey, we are looking at much more than what we eat. We’re also looking for clarity, fresh insight and new words of knowledge straight from God.
Today, the Focus Essential message is clear:
Rest and abide.
I’m starting in one hour – with a sunny, late-afternoon walk with my beloveds, Mike and Bella. Everything else can wait.