Tag Archives: rest

Rule the Roost or Rest

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. ~Og Mandino


We have two roosters.

The gray-barred rooster is younger and carefree. He chases his own bugs, wanders through the cornfield, and plays with the chicks.

The black rooster is older and believes he rules the roost. He chases down the hens, pecks the chicks, and flogs the other rooster.

I was reading in the hammock when the younger rooster and a hen headed off to the corn field for some dinner and necking. The ruling rooster was on the other side of the fence with the goats, but he saw what was happening.

He frantically ran back and forth in front of the fence unable to get out because of his anger. He couldn’t think to fly over the fence, or to go a few steps more and under the gate, or even to try hopping through the wires. I found it very amusing.

And then I thought about how much energy it takes to feed the hunger for power.

You can’t relax because there are others trying to get your hen- even though there are enough hens for everyone. You can’t enjoy your meal because you’re busy snatching bugs from babies. You don’t have friendships because you fear everyone.

Both roosters have hens. Both roosters eat well. Both roosters could be content, but one isn’t.

Which rooster are you?

 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 NIV

Good Gifts

God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I bit into the bright green jellybean anticipating the tangy apple flavored sweetness. I screwed up my face and tried to swallow. Watermelon.

I really don’t like watermelon flavored candies.

I set the bag of jellybeans on the seat beside me and wondered how to get rid of them without offending the sweet little girl who had willingly offered me her bag of candies. How do I say thank you for something I don’t want?

God handed me a bagful of goodies recently. Some have screwed up my face in dislike and disgust. I’m sure they were meant to make me sit still and spend some much needed time with him, but when that directive came disguised as a boil in the crease of my leg, I set it aside on the chair next to me and wondered how to get around it.

A class I signed up for has stressed waiting and white space. So I have spent the day trying to fix problems, finish projects, and finalize preparations. White space? Who has time for that?

I need to visit my friends at the rest home, but the repairman can only come during my weekly visiting hour. Instead of enjoying the extra hour I’ll have to slow down, I curse the appointment that may make a big difference in our home.

The jellybeans were a child’s selfless offering to someone she loves, but all I tasted was bitter disappointment. The rest of the candy sits on the counter top now, unopened, untasted, unwanted.

I wonder how many bags of candy I have turned away from because the first taste was unexpected and disappointing?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

Sound Advice

img_20160825_144914926Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. ~ John Lubbock

“If I don’t leave town I won’t actually rest.” Matt stood over me with his calendar in hand.

The problem is that if I always leave home then I won’t actually rest. My life is always so busy that a day at home is restful. But for a preacher who is always on-call a day at home is a day at work. Going out of town makes a viable excuse for not checking on things.

So, I pulled out my calendar. We compromised with one day long trip and three short trips a month . . . to a nearby town for a walk along the harbor, to a book store out of town, to a restaurant we’ve heard of but never tried in the next village. It lasted about a month.

“I can only give you one trip a month.” I felt bad changing the plan, but I was suffering trying to be what he needed me to be. He acquiesced, agreeing to take short trips by himself if I would give him the long day once a month.

Then came time for the “day trip”.

“I just can’t go to Ocracoke. We would have to leave at five in the morning and it would be so late when we get back. I just don’t think that would be restful, and isn’t the purpose of these trips to rest?”

I was trying to make Matt not want to go, because I felt like I had too much to do to be gone an entire day. Guilt washed over me like a bucket of dirty mop water. I tried to clean it up, but there was nothing for it. I flat out just didn’t feel like I had time to rest.

I have taught classes about rest. I have written blogs about the importance of Sabbath. I have talked to friends about their issues with workaholism.

Like pouring an entire bucket of dirty mop water over my head, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my duplicity.

We changed the original destination to a closer venue: Cape Lookout National Seashore. We woke at a decent hour, drove halfway and stopped for breakfast, then finished the drive through back roads and blue skies.

The ferry ride from the mainland was picturesque. Clear blue waters, pelicans and herons, even wild horses wandering the shallows and sea oats.

We walked hand in hand along the beach looking for shells, then enjoyed a picnic lunch under the pavilion.  We climbed the lighthouse and stayed for an hour looking over the beautiful ocean and sound. Tiny toothpick pines grew a hundred feet below and sea gulls flew overhead.

We spent the entire day. It was relaxing. I forgot about all of the things that just had to get done. I worshiped God in the peace that flooded my body and soul.

The next day I discovered I had clear thoughts to write, I had energy to complete projects, I had looser shoulders and my incessant headache had ceased.

The trips may get moved around on the calendar; an opportunity to see my boy pops up or a flood overwhelms our part of the country, but I no longer try to delete the trip permanently.

Visiting the seaside for Sabbath rest was some very sound advice.

UPDATE: Since my day at Cape Lookout, I have missed two months of these days to rest. So last week, in the middle of a home repair project, a writing deadline looming, and papers to grade, I forced myself to keep the day trip commitment. We went to the zoo. We walked the entire day. The zoo estimates the trails at 5 miles, and we walked the entire zoo twice, so at least 10 miles. Rest doesn’t have to mean sitting and sleeping. I walked out the stress, watched a polar bear play with a float toy, observed river otters swimming, marveled at the power of a cougar’s feet and shoulders, and praised God for his creation. I came away so refreshed and back in tune with my Creator. I’m not sure how long it will take me to learn this lesson, but rest is a commandment I continually forget to obey.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV

The Point of Enough

meerkat-459171__180“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~ John Lubbock

Matt and I took a sweltering walk down the road. Summer in Eastern Carolina is hot and wet in more ways than one. It rains a lot here, more than in Seattle in case you were wondering. But unlike Seattle, it is hot, humid, muggy, and more. This morning was no different.

We got about a half mile or so from the house when a downpour drenched us. We walked back home in the pouring rain, watching the corn stalks lifting their arms to the sky. We contemplated running under a neighbor’s porch, but since we were already soaked, we decided to enjoy the summer weather.

Back home we changed and sat on the porch sipping a cup of tea while the rain began dissipating. It may rain a lot here, but it comes in short spurts. We rocked in the stillness listening to the birds call out the “all clear” sign.

Then, without any wind, without any thunder or lightning, the neighbor’s tree split and fell. We heard it fall; we saw it too, so we couldn’t really test the age-old question.

BUT it made me start thinking about limitations. Everyone has them: how much you can take, how much you can put up with, how much you can stand. However you want to express it, there’s only so much. As my grandmother would say, “Enough is enough of anything.”

That tree had had enough water. It couldn’t hold anymore, and it split and fell. It didn’t take a storm, not even a breeze, to cause the collapse. It just took too much.

I’ve had a difficult year. Nothing that stands out as “Wow, that was really trying,” but one thing after another, building up on top of each other, until I am ready to collapse.

So one evening last week Matt and I drove to the beach for a picnic. We took our own food, sat in the shade, walked quietly, read light fiction . . . Took a break. Because I was at the point of enough.

And how it helped. I was able to dive back into my work, to think clearly through situations, to have new perspective and energy.

Maybe you are reaching the point of enough. If so, take some time out before you collapse. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. Enjoy an evening walk along the river, sit for a few hours in the hammock, look through family photo albums and sip some sweet tea. Whatever it is that will ease the tension, lower the water levels, and give you a break, do it.

It just may be what saves you.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25 ESV

Rest and Relaxation

restMatt and I took a vacation last week. It was intended to be a family vacation, but the boys couldn’t rearrange their schedules to join us, so it was just the two of us.

Normally a vacation for me is a time to see new sights, try new experiences, and go full speed ahead. I come back from my vacation and need a few days to recover. This time I didn’t even visit a cemetery. We rose early and walked on the beach to watch the sunrise. We spent time in the hot tub spa, swimming in the adults only pool, and sitting on lounge chairs enjoying good books. I read every single day. We walked to restaurants once a day, and ate easy, simple meals in the room the rest of the time. We wandered the streets listening to performers, singers, jugglers, trombonists, guitarists, a symphony, and a saxophonist. We took naps. Lots of naps.

I am back at work now with a long list of things that need to be accomplished. But I am rested, relaxed, fully aware and present. It seems God knows what he’s talking about when he tells us to rest.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127:1-2