by June Friesen
I was intrigued by this option when I was googling about different celebrations that we never or seldom hear about in our lives. Let me share a quote from the site first:
“National Relaxation Day was founded back in 1985 by Sean Moeller. He was only a fourth-grader at the time.”
This took me to some verses shared by Jesus: Mark 6:30-31
30 The apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught. 31 There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. So he said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest a while.”
There are other references also in the New Testament where it says that Jesus went off by Himself to pray. When Jesus was preparing for His earthly ministry He went off by Himself for forty days (Matthew 4). So it would seem to me that Jesus is a good model for us to follow when it comes to taking time off to relax. In most professions the work week is considered to be 37 to 40 hours. However for many in today’s world there is overtime offered or there is the need for some to work overtime because of the employer’s need and/or the employee’s need. In some jobs it is hard to take time off as one seems to be on call 24/7 even when one is on vacation. What might it be that Jesus would have to say to some of us if He were actually living with us trying to keep up with us?
I believe that for you and I it requires a discipline. A discipline that says: ‘Today is my day off – I may have my phone but only if there is an emergency will I return a call or make a visit or go in to work.” So along with this what are some ways to relax?
My husband has been in church ministry most of our married life. The first church that he pastored had many professional people in the congregation and they were very good at directing him to always take at least one day a week to spend with family away from the church and congregation. In the secular world most everyone has at least one to two days off out of seven. For adults, especially young couples as well as young families time just sitting by the lake, hiking through the trees, on a mountain side, bike riding, going on a picnic, strolling through a beautiful garden or zoo, etc. are some ways of relaxing. The above photo was taken as I sat by a lakeside last year. The nearly smooth waters, even as I look at the photo, are calming to my spirit. To watch as the geese just glide so smooth and restfully is also calming. There are also many tall trees and reeds along the edges and there are the birds singing, possibly a frog or two croaking, dragonflies and butterflies playing among the reeds. How can one not allow God’s peace to then bring peace into one’s spirit? I am sure than there are those reading this who are already saying but today is a work day. Or I have children. Or….you fill in your own excuse. Let me tell you that if you begin this practice with young children they will often be the ones who eagerly await those times.
Our sons often would ask, ‘Can we go to the zoo? Can my friend come along? Can we go on a picnic? Is the maple sap running? And other ideas. Now it is our grand daughters that as teenagers ask about recreating some of the family relaxation times such a few days in the Grand Canyon or a week in the Black Hills etc. These becomes times of family healing, health and wholeness as well as a time for bonding and growing relationships. Oh, as well as memory making! So I encourage you to dream – what time, if not today, can you weave into your life as a time of relaxation?
RELAX AND EMBRACE PEACE
Rest from the daily grind….
Rest from the race to be first….
Rest from the burden of always saying, ‘yes’,
Rest from always ___________….
Let go of the need to ‘feel needed 24/7’
Let go of the words ‘it will not survive without me’
Let go of the feeling ‘but I am in charge’
Let go ‘(you fill in the blank)’.
Embrace the present moment……
Embrace your breath as you inhale…..
Embrace your breath as you exhale….
Embrace the freshness within your being.
Feel new energy………
Feel opportunity to enjoy you…..
Feel you do matter…..
Feel you are loved.
God’s new opportunity to enjoy Him…..
God’s new energy He is going to supply….
God’s new vision He is opening before you…..
God – Let go and let God.
Amen and amen.
Scripture is from the Good News Translation. Writing and photos by June Friesen unless otherwise noted.
Christine is offering three seasonal, virtual retreats to explore living in balance and in line with the natural and liturgical rhythms of the year. Join her for one or all of them September 2, October 14 and December 9. These retreats will encourage us to center ourselves and our lives as we move through the seasons beginning in Fall and moving through Advent. They will be times of reflection, creativity and fun.