What another massive couple of weeks it has been. Congratulations to our students who participated so well in our athletics carnival and a massive encouragement to those who are going to go on and represent us at the zone carnival in Coffs Harbour at the beginning of next term. It was also wonderful to see our secondary students who were able to enjoy camp for the first time in two years. It is a blessing for us to be able to live life to the full and make the most of every opportunity we have.
As we come to the end of yet another term, I would like to cheat a little bit and rehash an old Tidings from this time last year when we were in the midst of COVID round 1. I would like to do this for two reasons. One, I want to remind us of the importance of rest in our life for both refreshment and to create an opportunity where we can reflect. Two, I have injured my hand and cannot type (or fish!). I encourage you to read this article again, taking the time to see which part particularly speaks to you where you are now.
I pray God’s richest blessings on you and your family for the week to come and over the holiday break; that you would be able to take time to renew and refresh and to spend time with those who are truly important.
Term 2, Week 8, 2020…
I was reminded this week of the importance of rest and play.
If you are anything like me, you do not need to be reminded of the importance of rest. I know I need to take some ‘down time’ or have time to ‘clear the head’, time to have everything quiet, or time just to be. The physiological research supports this too. Research speaks of the power of rest to ‘clear your head’ by removing adrenaline and cortisol (chemicals the body produces when under stress or duress) from the system before it becomes neuro toxic and robs us of clear thinking, good decisions and sleep. Research also speaks of the power of sleep to refresh the brain. Did you know it is mostly in the deepest of sleep that serotonin and melatonin, the chemicals responsible for feeling content and happy, are replenished.
Unfortunately, the conversation is all too familiar though.
“You need to make time to rest,” implores the caring friend.
“Sure, I would love to. When?!?” retorts the overwhelmed me.
And so, the ugly cycle begins. I am too busy to rest, so I am too busy to replenish, so I do not sleep well, so I do not make good decisions, so I do not rest… You get the picture.
Work is an unavoidable part of life though – the Good Book says that when we were put here one of our purposes was to work (Genesis 1:26-31 amongst others…). If you keep reading though (a fair way actually – maybe just jump to Exodus 31), we see that when God tells the Israelites to work, he also tells them to rest. He actually includes it as one of the Ten Commandments. Typical to God’s character, it is a rule for our best, not to make life harder, but so we can live well. Rather than going so far forward, if you actually just go a little further in Genesis 1 you see God actually sets this example of rest. He worked. He created. He rested (Genesis ). Surely if God does – we should?
In Exodus 31 God speaks to the Israelites about building the temple for Him, and he actually says to stop building this once a week, every week and rest. He shows the Israelites that they need to take the time to rest in order to remember how good God is, how holy He is and how he is the one who cares for us. It is not our work, it is not what we do for him, it is not even the sacrifices we make, it is simply God who does this for us and he recognises that we need to take some time to rest to remember this.
Author, Jefferson Bethke, argues that we need to implement daily, weekly, monthly and annual habits of rest where we take time to remember who God is, and therefore who we are and why we do what we do. Without these deliberate moments of rest, in order to care for those around us, meet the deadlines, or maintain the image we often find ourselves losing focus and becoming a person we do not want to be. (Sorry – I said we, I meant just me).
With ritual, non-negotiable, locked-into-the-calendar habits of rest I make time to restore my sense of identity, purpose and hope for my body, mind and soul. I actually like what a mentor of mine says. He argues that we must find time to rest and then time to play!
I have witnessed many of our community and close friends go through some post-COVID difficult moments. We have been in a significantly stressful time, indeed a crisis, that required significant input from so many and we are not through it yet. However, we are seeing a way out. It is natural that we are stressed, carrying extra loads and just plain tired. What becomes critical then, is that we make time to replenish. We need to deliberately establish habits that lead to restoration and follow our Creator’s lead to rest and be reminded of His glory and his love for us.
So please, wake up a little earlier for some solitude, go home a little earlier once next week, lock in the weekend lunch date with your family and go and book that holiday in NSW (or QLD after July 10). Choose rest. Choose play. Choose God’s example.