Last week I wrote about my experiences at New Wine and how God had spoken to me about the ideas of sabbath, the principle and discipline of rest, and called me to explore this in my own life in a much deeper way and in so doing produce something that hopefully can be a help to others in applying this idea to their own lives. It’s a message that I think in our busy, adrenaline fuelled, market-driven, consumer culture is more relevant than ever before.
The first part of my own response to what God said last week was to sit down and go through my weekly routine and examine it, and see what I needed to change in order to get more rest in my life. I was really ill last week and I know it was because I simply hadn't had a break for a year.
I've sold one flat and bought another, and moved to the new flat, which according to experts is one of the most stressful things you can ever do, for the first time. I've changed jobs, which was a long drawn out process which took several months to sort out. I have been getting more involved in church, doing more writing and I have had issues in my family which are still ongoing. I've hardly had a rest, no holiday at all and have been sleeping less.
I don't say any of this to moan at all, or get sympathy. I say this merely to state what has been happening in my life. And some of these things are really good, and I consider to be great blessings in my life.
Serving more in church is one of the most amazing blessings I have ever had, and a real priviledge. I have grown and matured in my character and gifting, and am looking forward to serving more in the future. Moving house has been incredible, getting my own space, getting my own furniture and breaking free from my past. A very good thing. Moving job has been good health wise, a job which requires less stress and intensity, but is still challenging, has been a good thing.
All good things and blessings from God.
The reality is that I got so consumed with the things going on with my life, all the blessings from God, that I began to make them substitutes for God. I got consumed by the idea that if I did more, that if I achieved something, that if I was obedient to God, then everything would be fine.
I didn't focus enough on God, and I forgot that the world can go on without me. Its not an easy thing to admit, but the reality is the world can go on without us. It can go on without me. I'd forgotten who made the world, and who sustained it, and forgotten my own limitations.
I forgot about rest.
I forgot about space for God.
I forgot that I am a human being.
We are all human and we all have finite energy and a finite lifespan. We are not built to work 24/7, no matter what the world tells us. We were built to need rest. If we don't take this rest there will be consequences - and I've seen that demonstrated completely in the last week.
We need to create space in our lives for rest. Rest should be a priority, a discipline in our lives. Not something we do on the side.
Ever turned off your mobile for a day, or even one evening?
Ever gone a day without checking your e-mails or Facebook?
You see we need to create that space to rest, to recharge our batteries, both mentally, emotionally and physically - and all those areas come under the umbrella of spirituality and being spiritual, because everything is spiritual. If we don't, then eventually its going to back up on us, its going to effect our health, and not just our physical health. Because our physical, emotional and mental health are all interconnected, and ultimately it will all affect our relationship to God.
Rest is vital. Its life giving. We need rest to live.
So I have sat down and written a plan of how I'm going to structure my week and integrate a space for rest, and I'm going to try it and see how it goes.I'm going to read up on the original Jewish concepts of Sabbath and what it originally meant, how important it was, what Jesus said about it and how they practicised it. I'm going to some research on the pure science of our human body and how much rest we need or how much our body can take physically, and how that effects our other areas of life. From that knowledge and experience hopefully I can come up with some more detailed thoughts on the subject, and some practical things for all of us. I am sure it will take time, but it really feels like this is where God is taking me, and I will hopefully share some of my thoughts and experiences as I go on this journey.
I think in the world we live in, this is one of the most important issues we need to address.