a rhythm of rest

I just returned from a few sweet vacation days with my family… a rustic cabin by a high altitude river, trail runs under the pine trees, fly fishing, campfires, reading, game nights, puzzles… and too much delicious food.

No cell phones. No TV. No internet.

Just lots of inside jokes and side-splitting belly laughs… very relaxing. Very refreshing.

Our special time reminded me how important rest is in our lives… a time to pull back and think about nothing… or reflect and talk deeply… whichever is desired and needed at the time.  Sometimes I don’t even know what I need until I’ve been away from the busyness and distractions for a while.

A wise friend once shared a recipe for rest that – when I choose to apply it – helps me to ensure that I am resting… even as part of a very busy life. It might help you too…

REST daily

Even 30 quiet minutes a day to get away from the to-do list and everyday chores gives me perspective and energy for the day. I like to set aside time in the early a.m. to read from my Bible and/or a devotional book and pray for guidance and direction for the day. This gets me started on the right track. Others find time to exercise or add a nap to each day.

REFRESH weekly

This is one “Sabbath” day per week that is a change of pace or a break from the week’s schedule and routine. For many this is a church and worship day. For me, this day can include reading, a longer run, working in the garden, fun with friends, sports or anything that makes the day feel special and refreshes me for the next week. I try to stay away from my job, blog postings, or M.A. homework… a break from anything that feels like “work” to me.

REFLECT monthly

For years we have scheduled a whole day or a weekend to review goals, evaluate progress, and plan personal, family and/or ministry activities. This has been a great time to check on personal development plans (PDP), yearly resolutions, children’s character building, and any life-change challenges in process. I like to go away to a favorite coffee shop with my husband, and we have also enjoyed a park setting, a library, a nice hotel, or a retreat center. We take along calendars, podcasts, PDPs, and other resources for our time away.

RETREAT yearly 

This is the longed-for extended vacation, get-away, or escape! For me, it usually involves a complete geographical change and a total disconnect from usual responsibilities and everything virtual or social media related. I love when it includes time with my family, staying up late and sleeping in. These are the treasured times when traditions strengthen, memories multiply, and dreams take flight.

Life flows with a rhythm of activity and rest. I often have to battle prideful, self-made, artificial arguments that claim I am too busy to rest. I need to remind myself that I am not too important nor too indispensable to step aside for a while. I am healthier, more energized, more peaceful – and more pleasant to others – when I rest regularly as part of my life rhythm.

I’d love to learn from you… How do you rest?

supermom doesn’t live here

I have no delusion of having been a supermom… 🙂

My husband and I have determined that we will never be ones to write the “How to…” parenting book.  The other day, however, a new friend asked me for a few tips about parenting young ones, and I quickly thought of a few things that helped me enjoy the process. I hope they might be an encouragement to you…

1. dynamic walk with the Lord… I just couldn’t ever make sense of the daily struggles and sacrifices, contrasting opinions and peer pressure, if I wasn’t secure in Him. Time with Him was often just snatches of desperate pleas for help during the day, but I realized that when – although I didn’t always get it – I longed for time with Him, I was probably doing OK.

2. investment in my marriage: Conferences, counseling, regular (every week) dates, communication, getaways…  so essential and very worth it for us to stay connected as partners! We loved parenting, but we always understood that our marriage was a priority, and we made time for us. Now that the kids are almost all moved out, we are really looking forward to being together – just the two of us – not dreading it or wondering what we will do without the kids around.

3. with #1 and #2, reflect on and choose what works for YOU and YOUR family! I am not a “kid’s world” person, so I needed time with adults each week. I loved being involved with the university ministry – discipling and mentoring, and involving our kids. I also home-schooled for many years and loved it. I have the gift of leadership and always led side-by-side with my husband. I used a lot of organization and structure to make life “livable” for me. Living in a foreign culture, I had help with cleaning and cooking. (I still don’t do much of that!) BUT… that worked for ME… each woman and marriage is different… God’s incredible creativity isn’t limited to creation… it is available for each marriage and family also. It is available for you!

4. last, but related to #3… do what YOU need to do to get refreshed… I spent so many years feeling guilty because I thought I “should” want to dress up and go out to a fancy dinner for a date, when I really preferred to lay out in the sun and read/discuss a book with my husband… or go to a yard sale… or run by myself… coffee dates with friends and women’s Bible study groups were also great for me. My recharge is not the same as others – I finally figured out that was ok…

I was so encouraged that my friend was asking questions, because asking questions is the first step to finding the way in a very complex and challenging life… May God bless you on your journey!

What are you doing to enjoy the process? Are there some other “tips” you would suggest as an encouragement to others?