If you have been following this series on rest and rest deficits since January 3 inspired by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith’s wonderful book, Sacred Rest, I hope you have gained some valuable insights to replenish every aspect of rest to live a full healthy life. There is much to be gained from it and you may want to pick up her book to munch on every bit of it that has not been shared over the past few weeks.
Perhaps as we begin a new year and consider what we want to be different, better, or more, it’s a good time to look at this aspect of our lives and why choosing these principles and values could add to us in more than one or two ways. Collectively, it means more than a lovely nap, your favorite steaming latte, or a weekend away (even though all of those are good).
“A well-rested life is a secret hidden in plain sight. It is a life at one with God, self, and others. It’s a life strengthened by winding down the expectations of others and charging up your expectations for yourself. You become in tune with what you need to be at your best. You become comfortable with your strengths and knowledgeable about your weaknesses. You then use that information to pour into the areas needing strengthening and reinforce areas already strong. You find your sweet spot in living, loving, being, doing, and resting.”Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD
I began this journey because I was aware that I wanted to find more ways to replenish and not be inundated (even in retirement) with things that can deplete me (some which I have no control over). The work of Dr. Dalton-Smith and other authors like John Eldredge in Get Your Life Back pointed toward those goals.
I looked again at what steals my rest that I often miss and was reminded again of God’s plan for us to rest that He models for us. He shows us that rest is not a luxury or something that births laziness. Instead, it equips us to give to those we care for in ways that bless and yet also shows care for ourselves as well.
“I am humbled and quieted in your presence.Psalm 131:2 (TPT)
Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap,
I’m your resting child and my soul is content in you.”
John Eldredge reminded me…”Our souls accumulate stuff, too, pulling it in like a magnet. And so Augustine said we must empty ourselves of all that fills us so that we may be filled with what we are empty of.”
I was reminded of the benefit of beauty beyond the simple enjoyment of it.
“Beauty heals, partly because it proclaims that there is goodness in the world and that goodness prevails, or is preserved, or will somehow outlast all harm and darkness.
But most of all, beauty reassures. This is especially important to our search here for the grace beauty offers to our life with God. We need reassuring.
Beauty is such a gentle grace. Like God, it rarely shouts, rarely intrudes. Rather it woos, soothes, invites; it romances and caresses. We often sigh in the presence of beauty as it begins to minister to us – a good, deep soul-sigh.”John Eldredge
At one of our favorite vacation spots in Alberta, Canada, that is surrounded by stunning mountain scenes in every direction, we were soothed and delighted by the basket of shiny apples at the front desk that we were invited to enjoy, vases of local flowers (some of the wild varieties) that were tucked in corner tables or graced landings on the stairs to the rooms. It never failed to remind us to consider what kinds of touches we could enjoy in our own home more often than we take time to consider.
Another vacation spot we enjoyed visiting had a room devoted to rest that was beyond anything we could have imagined.
If we choose and practice the pursuit of rest, what does Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD, tell us we will receive as gifts?
- The gift of boundaries
- The gift of reflection
- The gift of freedom
- The gift of acceptance
- The gift of exchange
- The gift of permission
- The gift of cessation
- The gift of art
- The gift of communication
- The gift of productivity
- The gift of choice
- The gift of faith
There is a chapter on each of these gifts in Sacred Rest and each is worth savoring and allowing God to massage into our hearts, minds, and spirits. The enemy of our souls would seek to create endless obstacles to gaining these gifts and practicing rest, but God invites us to come, to taste and see, and to find rest for our souls.
“Your life and your enjoyment of it are the sum total of the choices you make. Good choices increase joy and blessings in your life, while poor choices increase worry, disease, and fear. It’s important to be mindful of the choices you make and to be careful not to abuse the gift of choice.
The power to choose begins with rest. Rest reminds you that you are not the creator of power, but the recipient. Rest is a restorer of the breach. It traverses the gap between our weakness and God’s enabling power. In rest, you welcome God into the process, and you admit you cannot choose better on your own. When you open yourself to God, you also open yourself to experiencing His spirit as helper, comforter, advocate, intercessor, counselor, strengthener, and standby.”Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.”Matthew 11:28 (TPT)