What I’m Learning about Living a “Restful” Life
Anyone who knows me, knows I can be a “little” hyper! I move fast. I’m wired that way. Some of it is good – but it can be bad for many reasons. Learning to rest and live in a state of rest can really be hard for hyper people. Also, when you have a strong work ethic you can feel undue stress and pressure to produce so much that you do it outside of your connection to your life in Christ. I have to remind myself – God wants me to be fruitful far more than I want that – and sometimes the healthiest thing I can do is to slow down and rest, or I won’t be able to mount up and run. I’m trying hard – an oxymoron for rest I know – to learn these things. Here are some things I’m keeping in front of me right now as my life continues to pick up, as it will even more so in the next couple of decades.
First, it’s tied to eternity and God’s sovereignty.
I can and should have it now. The seeds of the eternal are in the fleshly. NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope has been a blessing to me the past few weeks. Though it doesn’t talk about this – it is definitely applicable to this. I was raised with the nobility of “burning out for God.” That denies all that God has for me and how he views his kids. I am an eternal being – and all of that has begun right now. I need to experience more of this right now. We almost live so much in the not yet and future that we ignore all that God has for us right now in our context.
It is found in God’s work in me. “Work” is something God has ordained and set out for each of us. It is something God does within us. Eph. 2:10 makes that so clear. I am not doing “stuff” for God. I am glorifying God by being an obedient son to what he tells me to do. My success is in my obedience – and that leads to fruit. The subtle nuance between “for God” and “in Christ” are massive with reference to rest and production in the kingdom.
Second, I have to “work” at “rest”. I wish it came natural. Here are some things I’m trying to do.
Create margin. I set a day, a week, a month, a year, on 2 or 3 top things to do that moves everything forward. My time is then scheduled around those things. If I book things solid, I can’t think deeply, respond deeply or appropriately to situations and opportunities that God is going to bring along.
Produce fruit. But, the reality in producing fruit is that we simply see what is naturally emerging. What do you do without effort? It comes naturally – that’s going to be closer to where God has gifted you and what he wants you doing.
Live in alignment. I thought my knee was messed up, so I this spring I went to the knee doctor and he told me the key to keeping the knee well is fixing the hip. I didn’t even know I had a hip problem! I had my personal physician look at it to make sure my hip doctor didn’t just want another Ferrari! For years, my leg turned out to the right – now my leg points in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to reshape the muscles to what a healthy leg is verses one that’s off base. Ultimately it messed up my knee, and other things. Getting off track a little bit can hurt us all.
Third, get away for different reasons. We want one trip to fix it all. It’s like a person thinking one mentor is all they need – that simply isn’t true. Here are four things to get away for. Getting away allows us to change our patterns, focus deeply, and not be interrupted by normal things. Here are four things I’ve done in the last 3 years that have been powerful for men.
Quest – This was a week with 20 other men where we focused exclusively on our spiritual life in Christ.
Marriage vacation – I’m sorry to say I did my first one two weeks ago in Cancun. Instead of visiting a lot of sites, we laid on the beach and read – no kids, no schedule, no speaking, no meetings, lots of sand!!!!!
Nature vacation – something powerful happens to me when I hike in the mountains. I like to get off and do that. I haven’t done it recently – but in the past I’ve had some powerful times in nature with God and allowing him to speak.
Family vacation – I wouldn’t trade anything for our family vacations growing up. My dad was broke as we grew up so the only vacation we got was the Southern Baptist Convention because the church would pay the gas and put us in a hotel. It wasn’t always pleasant – but ALWAYS memorable!
I’m “practicing” the art of rest now – I have a lot to learn, but these things are what I’m learning right now – I think I’ll go take a nap!
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.