FreerangeFriday: Open the Gift of Rest

by Lilly Lewin
REST

By Lilly Lewin

I am exhausted…
I think so many of us are.
We don’t even realize how tired we are from all the stress of this past year.

And then the events of yesterday happened at the capital in DC!

Exhausted….

We so want to turn the calendar page and have all things be made new!
Yet there is this knowing that it isn’t true.
Yes, there is hope!
Yes, there is a vaccine on the way.
Yes, we get a new president for my birthday on the 20th.
But we truly are exhausted.
Our bodies know it, even if our minds still cannot comprehend it.
Our souls know it, too.
Our hearts are crying out for time to just be still.
To stop.
To breathe.

But it’s the New Year and life is beginning again post-holiday breaks.
Today, as I prayed while I made my coffee,
I prayed for all my friends who are parents who are starting a new semester with their kids…
Many online AGAIN.
Many still all together day after day.
And I prayed for all my friends who are teachers…
Some back in the classroom in the midst of the pandemic concerned for their health.
And others teaching on the screen which is totally NOT why they got into education.

Exhausted.
They want to be with the students face to face, not struggling to get them to actually turn on their cameras!
I’m praying for healthcare workers of all sorts! The exhaustion they feel, the frustration they know, the suffering they see everyday, while people “out there’ are still denying reality and still arguing over masks.

GIFT

GIFT of REST

It’s time to open another gift.
It’s Epiphany so gifts can continue in honor of the Magi.
I want us all to take a breath.
To pause.
To breathe.

To pause long enough to see the reality of our fatigue.
To realize that each of us are so much more than what we accomplish each day.
We are truly valuable even if we never produce or do anything.
We are that treasure that God looks for in that field.

Gift and Card Open gift

Open the gift

I’d like us all to actually OPEN the gift of REST.
Not just look at the pretty packaging and the wouldn’t it be nice ribbon around it. But turn off the phone, and put down the remote and OPEN UP REST!
It’s been a very long year.
Our bodies, minds and souls need the space and time to heal.
What would it look like for you to actually open the gift of REST in 2021?
Even if you just took the lid off in January, what would that be like?
Could you give yourself permission to go to bed early?
Could you allow yourself a nap? Or a long bath?
Could you plan an afternoon away from the tv and the computer and even the phone?
Could REST become the spiritual practice you are looking for to help connect you back to Jesus this year?

GIFTand CARD

Take a look at the package, the box the gift of rest is in.
Notice there is a card on top.
Stop.
Don’t put the card aside for later and just rip open the package.
Open the card.

READ IT… Wow, there is a gift card just for you!
You (your name) are given PERMISSION to REST in 2021!
No pressure.
No performance.
No shame.
No way to do this wrong.
It’s a PERMISSION SLIP to allow you to REST and to practice REST in 2021!

GIFT OF REST PERMISSION SLIP

you have permission to REST!

REST also needs a place on your calendar.
For me, I’m re-uping my sabbath practice of turning off social media from Friday night to Sunday morning… we have church community gathering on Sunday night so I need to communicate. But I need the mental break from the news, comments, and competition I often feel online.

Create a time… start with 15 minutes… you can do ANY THING for 15 minutes. What would 15 minutes of real rest look like? Feel like?

REST tea

Create Time to Rest

Create a place… do you need a new pillow, a fluffy throw blanket, a new mug and some good tea to help you rest?
Or would new pens, markers and a blank book help you rest?
Or a hammock if you can be outside where you live?
Just like every spiritual practice… REST takes practice…
Create your practice.

I didn’t grow up with REST as a practice.
I grew up with a dad who came home from his job and worked more on the farm.
He got up on Saturday with a list a mile long for us to help work on…
Rest wasn’t a practice or a value, it was all about performance. So I’ve had to unlearn performance and really practice RESTING… Stopping… Receiving the gift of Sabbath and REST!

Help your kids learn to rest. They can learn that it’s gift from God for them to open too!
Jesus never burned out! He did get tired and when he saw his disciples were tired from ministry, he got them away from the crowds and got them to seek rest!
(Often this rest got interrupted, and yours might too, but do not give up!) #restisHOLY

And you may think you haven’t accomplished enough to rest, you may say, but “I’ve still got piles everywhere and decorations to put away and laundry to do”… put those thoughts away… remember Jesus’s invitation to experience the unforced rhythms of grace….

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

You still can open the Gift of REST!
It’s still for you from Jesus …

©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com

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