Posted by Heather Sewell
on August 03, 2017 / Posted in Advocacy
By: Heather Sewell
I never realize the need to slow down until I get sick. Like, physically drained. My husband always jokes and tells people that he is married to a machine. But, when enough is enough – I crash. Hard. In bed for an entire weekend – but that was before becoming a mother.
Weekends in bed are long gone. My life consists of loving my husband well, a full time job in ministry, keeping my family fed each night, house cleaning, potty training a puppy and staying connected at church. It may not sound much different from yours (minus the puppy thing, who else would add a puppy with a one-year-old?).
So, let’s talk about how to keep it all together, how to be a “good” Christian. Stress Free-Calm-Put Together-…all the things. How do you do it?
This month OCA blogs are going to take us on a journey of Self-Care. Something foreign to a lot of us, but not to our God. It’s no mistake that God documented his REST during the creation of the world. He knew we would need His example.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. Exodus 20:11
God gives a lot of commandments in scripture. One of my favorite examples to use is in 1 Peter 3, “Wives respect your husbands”. God commands us to do things that don’t come natural. It goes against our fallen nature to respect our husbands, just like husbands don’t naturally love their wives as they should.
So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that God commands us to rest in Exodus 20. It doesn’t come easy. We have to plan for it. We have to create space for it. We have to be aware of the consequences when we don’t rest.
Peter Greer of Hope International says, “As we put ourselves in the dangerous situation of caring for others, we will get hurt”. So when we don’t take time to rest and focus on our walk with our ultimate source of rest and peace, we will lose heart, become short tempered, and even have thoughts of leaving our family. Okay, that sounds extreme, but it happens…too often.
Start by giving yourself permission to rest. Allow yourself to answer the question “How are you?” with, “I am rested,” instead of our go-to answer, “I am so busy”. Isaiah 30:15 gives us a clear warning, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
I attended a breakout session this year at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit lead by Jedd and Rachel Medefind. The session was called, “Practices that Sustain for the Long Journey.” They spoke about simple spiritual disciplines to create a rhythm for times when we are constantly pouring out and accepting God’s refreshment to be refilled.
When they finished discussing point number ONE, Sabbath, I couldn’t believe it. So, leave it to me…I rose my hand and asked (out loud), “Do you do this EVERY week?” When the answer came back with a strong, “YES” I was hit hard with conviction. If the president of CAFO can take time to rest with his family and enjoy time in the Word without work and technology invading his day, why can’t I? It wasn’t a feeling of shame or guilt, but of FREEDOM!
When I returned home from the conference, I took time and began giving myself permission to take Sundays to rest. Worship. Play. Laugh. Unplug. Just the little things like, leaving dishes in the sink, stopping the washing machine, deciding to organize the toy room on Monday. It’s been a huge change and a culture shock to my friends and family. But most importantly, it gives my family a chance to pause every week and give thanks to God for inviting us to commune with Him with no distractions. I don’t do this perfectly, and neither will you. But take the first step and experience the love of our Abba Father who longs to spend time with us, laugh with us, and remind us of whose we are.
Take some time and talk with your family today. If you haven’t developed a rhythm of rest, let this be your encouragement to start. Leave a comment below and encourage others by sharing how you rest and care for your soul to seek refreshment from life’s busyness! I look forward to seeing the Lord’s work in your life as you share.