As we head into Fall Break, I’m thinking of one of my favorite theological topics: rest.
Yes! Rest! It is one of the deep values of the Jewish and Christian traditions. God designed us to need rest. God commanded us to rest. And rest is radically counter-cultural.
But what is rest?
Whenever I come back to that question, I am reminded of a distinction that social work researcher Brené Brown makes:
True rest is recreation – re-creation. We are truly resting when the activities we’re doing help restore our energy and make us feel more alive. This could be as basic as sleeping or something more specific to you: playing an instrument, going for a walk, spending time with family or friends, or reading a novel after six weeks of science textbooks.
Contrast this with activities we do in order to take the edge off our pain (especially our emotional pain). The most obvious ways we numb are with substances like alcohol. But since Dr. Brown turned me on to this idea, I’ve realized that there are a lot of things that I do to numb: playing video games, binge-watching a show, and even over-working.
Note: those things aren’t automatically numbing activities. I’ve legitimately had a therapist assign me to watching a movie every day, because getting absorbed in a story was a great way for me to get my mind to turn away from the stress and anxiety I was going through. Activities are numbing because of why we do them and how we feel afterward. We numb in order to avoid dealing with our feelings or other life issues. We come out of numbing activities feeling not re-created, but…well, pretty much the same as we did right before we watched six straight hours of Squid Game.
You know you’ve been truly resting when you come out of the activity feeling different than you did before. Rest builds us back up. Rest returns us to who we are. Rest makes us ready for what comes next.
Before this break even begins, consider taking just five minutes to think about the things you do to numb – and the things you do to truly rest. Make a list of the things that re-create you. Then, make sure you’re making time for some real, restoring rest over the next few days.
God said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14).
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
O God, you rested the seventh day and are still at work; in the course of this busy life give us times of refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation. Through Christ our Lord, Amen. (From A New Zealand Prayer Book)
Oct. 13, 2021
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A call to courage for 2021
- A charming tale for over-achievers
- A Lesson On Beans … and Being
- A New Place
- A Point of Privilege
- A season of anticipation
- A Time of Dust
- Acquiring a peaceful spirit
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Anastasis: the Greatest Story of God’s Saving Power
- Another kind of darkness
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- As if we needed a reminder
- Beacons of hope
- Better Together
- Blessings As You Go
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Carrying the COVID Cross
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Don’t miss this moment
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Fear of the Lord
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting ahead with Jesus
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Getting through this together
- God is not overwhelmed
- Good Friday
- Grief & Graduation
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How do you keep from giving up hope?
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- I almost slipped
- Imagining Eternity
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In everything, grateful
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Jesus among us
- Killing off our future selves
- Knowing a Good Thing When We See It
- Lessons in fire building
- Let there be light!
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Lilies and leaves and whatever else is beautiful
- Living in the Present
- Naming our demons
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- On the day after the night before
- Persistent and Extravagant
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Praying for Reconciliation
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Rest is Holy
- Right where we are
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Surprisingly Simple: Breathe!
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Art of Holy Week
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Trouble with Mammon
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- This can’t be done alone
- To be known
- You might be a Lutheran if…
- You will be in our prayers this summer of 2020
- Ventures of which we cannot see the ending
- WWJD? We already know
- Walking in the Light of Jesus’ Resurrection
- We had hoped
- We’re on a mission from God
- What do you do with your anger?
- What good is a shepherd?
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When God uses something terrible for good
- When heaven & earth click
- When joy and sadness live together
- When stress overwhelms
- When the promise of resurrection is hard to believe
- When you offer up your broken cup
- When we are moved
- Where God will be found
- Where is the good shepherd carrying you?
- Wilderness Journeys
- Won’t you be my neighbor?
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future