I don’t know about you, but when I am practicing nearly anything I tend to need to have reminders to be sure I am making the most of my practice. My personal trainer catches me when I am practicing an exercise in a way that will miss what I want to achieve or might also cause injury for me. I love that as well as the relationship we have and the chatting that sometimes even lets me forget she just asked me to do something I think is impossible.
Before I submit a post like this I reread it many times looking for things that might need editing or tweaking in some way. Nonetheless, I can miss something small that makes me cringe when I see it on the site. So, my dear husband reads each one to see how it hits him and if I have something to fix.
There are lots of places for me to practice the rest I have been talking about in the last two posts and things for me to keep in mind to insure my practices gradually become increasingly effective.
One of the first things I need to practice to increase the quality and quantity of rest is to deal with my preoccupations and distractions about the necessities of life. I need to adjust the rhythm of my daily schedule in order to create a climate that allows space for my own awareness of God.
I am working on this one first because it is the hardest for me. One tool I use with this is Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:5:
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (ESV)
I have received the gift of rest in Him, but my part is to practice using the gift and to preserve and shelter it from all that would seek to erode all the ways it guards my heart, mind, and spirit from rabbit trails, temptations, and pursuits that are not for my good or His glory.
Please note when I talk about practicing rest, I am not talking about failing to do what is required, right, or good. That would be sloth, an old-fashioned word that refers to a dullness of the spirit. This rest I speak of is not about kicking back and lazing around having no interest or care in or for anything.
A second thing I practice in rest is leaning more fully into trusting the Lord. That means when I let go of things that distract me or preoccupy me and get me stuck in ruminating, I remember God is fully for me. As His child, I trust Him for those things I keep trying to resolve on my own or things that tempt me to involvements and commitments that did not originate with Him.
The third area I seek to keep in check is ambition. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in self-validation by trying to be more, do more, or get more. (Self-validation is something all of us use to one degree or another at times to refute that nagging sense we are not competent or worthy.) Ambition and rest are incompatible.
In The Radical Pursuit of Rest, John Koessler reminds me:
“If the primary aim of our ambition is to be noticed, we ought to recall that we live within sight of the one who sees the sparrow fall to the ground.”
In Him, in His rest, we can be assured our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life and what could we ever attain by ambition that compares with that?
Practicing His rest allows the passion He has placed within me to be continually renewed by His Spirit to accomplish what He has called me to be and do. Remembering that gives me quality practice in rest.
One of the places that are especially good for practicing rest is in worship. Worship ushers me into His presence creating an oasis where I can meditate on Him, listen for and to Him. In worship, I can contemplate on who He is and enter into Him in ways few other experiences offer.
Eugene Peterson explains, “Worship is an act of attention to the living God who rules, speaks, and reveals, creates and redeems, orders and blesses.”
John Koessler says, “Worship is not a feast we lay out for God. It is a table on which God spreads his feast for us.”
Pursuing and practicing rest is in truth pursuing the Lord.
In the noisy world we all live in, that includes utilizing the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence Dallas Willard writes about.
As I increasingly recognize this gift of rest is also not only for my growth and nurture, but also to prepare me for whatever lays ahead I identify with Paul’s words to the Philippians:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Jesus Christ has made me his own.” Phil. 3:12
18 thoughts on “Practice Notes for the Quest”
Pam, thank you for sharing this encouragement on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! 🙂
Delighted to join the linkup on Mondays!
I know God’s been calling me into a season to ‘do’ less, let go, and trust. I want control! And I was receiving my validation from others, or doing things so another person might like me. Yes a correction is happening! And very uncomfortable. Thankfully He continually leads me to just the perfect reading (such as your post) or people to guide me along this path. And, just wondering where Boom Lake is? As an Alberta gal myself, I’m not sure I have explored that place and curious!
I think He has been saying that to more than a few of us. Boom Lake is a bit off the beaten path and we got the recommendation from a server at our hotel. It is our favorite hike and spot and usually we plan to take a lunch there. To get to the trailhead you will be 2 hours west of Calgary on the TransCanadian Highway to Castle Junction. You then go south on 93 a few miles and the trailhead will be on the right.(Alberta is a favorite place for us!)
Joining you in prayer for rest, friend. Glad to be one of your neighbors at Intentional Tuesday. Have a blessed week.
Thanks, Carolina! Blessings on your day!
God has me right next to you at Jennifer Lee’s this week for a purpose. I needed this post very much!
Isn’t that just like God? He loves us that much!! This post is actually the third in a series of four if you want to check out recent previous two or the final one tomorrow. Many blessings on your day!❤️
Pam, this is just beautiful and reassuring and reminding me of the gift I have in Him. You write: “…but my part is to practice using the gift and to preserve and shelter it from all that would seek to erode all the ways it guards my heart, mind, and spirit from rabbit trails, temptations, and pursuits that are not for my good or His glory.” YES! I want to practice this, remembering Who has given me this gift.
Thank you, ~ linda
Hi Linda! I am see glad you stopped by. This is the third of four posts in a series. Tomorrow will be the last of these. Blessings on your day😊
Gosh … I do love it here, Pam. Always.
I feel rested and renewed by your words and by the fellowship and wisdom you offer. Of course, the photos, too. And the white space you leave here and there so we can pause and reflect before launching into the next paragraph.
This is sheer nourishment.
I thank God upon every remembrance of you, friend.
I’m humbled by that, Linda. Thank you! The photos were all from Alberta Canada and a favorite vacation area. This Friday will be the end of this series.
Pam – I am so blessed by your beautiful thoughts on rest! Love two thoughts in particular: 1) ambition & rest are incompatible, and 2) practicing rest through worship (your quote from Eugene Peterson, describes worship as “an act of attention to the living God”). Thanks for this lovely post!
Thanks, Sandra, your encouragement is a blessing! My last segment on this series will be Friday. The book I read had resulted in so many thoughts that I wanted to share as much as possible even though it was not actually a book review. Michele Morin had done a book review which drew me to buy the book myself. Take care and God’s best to you!
Hi Pam! Practice means trying until you get it right, and that includes rest. Which sounds silly, but I know it’s true. I’m so glad I ordered this book! Can’t wait to dive into it, and begin to enter into the right kind of rest.
Last night, I wanted to go to bed, but my mind was just reeling. So, I watched “Chopped” until midnight. Oy. Stupid!! It makes me so tired the next day! I need to take my rest more seriously, and realize how important it is to a healthy body and soul.
Thank you for this ‘rest’ series!
Hi Ceil! I still need a lot of practice!! I occasionally have bad nights. I sometimes think it is an age thing. Last night was one of those for me also. I was less physically active and also had a glass of wine too late. Usually, if I read something like a novel for a half hour, I can fall asleep. There is one other point I missed so I will have one more on Friday.
Love and blessings,
Such truth, Pam. I like how you said rest was to prepare you for the battle’s to come. A concept I’ve been writing about lately, too! Thanks for these practical ways to make the most of my rest time! Blessings!
Thanks! I think He is speaking to many of us on this issue. My final part to the series is Friday and speaks a bit more on the battle and the enemy’s desire to intervene and prevent us from gaining rest. Blessings on your day!