The Rested Leader---Part II

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What does it mean to "recover your life"? Jesus offers us a "real rest." Which I think goes deeper than a bit of time where I "just chill." Jesus says, just come to me, and find deep soul rest. He does not necessarily ask us to become more religious. In fact, he invites us to "get away" from religious activity if it is not helpful, if it is burning us out.

In my own life, I want to learn how to take a real rest. Why? Not just because it would be nice, or I'd be happier.

I believe God has called me to his purposes, to do certain things - to be a leader in my church, my family, my neighborhood. To be compassionate, mindful and kind. If I want to live that kind of life, then I need to figure out a way to live. In order to respond with my life and actions to what I consider to be God's calling on my life, I must give my best effort. That does not mean I run without stopping. Neither does it mean that I do things sort of half-heartedly, conserving my energy.

If I never fully expend my energy, and never fully rest either, I'll never increase my capacity. Like an athlete, I have to sometimes push myself, not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally as well. How? I have to forgive when I think I can't; I must choose to act loving even when it's hard. By acting loving, I become more loving. But then I also need to have times where I simply rest - times to withdraw from people and their demands, times where I allow myself to spend time with Jesus, to take him up on his invitation to "come away with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest" (Mark 6:31). In those moments of what I call "sacred selfishness," I let Jesus attend to my deepest needs: for quiet, for peace, for intimacy with him.

Sabbath-keeping is a spiritual practice that will help us recover our lives. It is what is missing from our hectic, hurried lives. It is the missing part of the rhythm that God designed us to live in.

To grow as a person, to experience a deeper spirituality, to grow closer to Jesus, I must find a rhythm of life that includes times of full engagement, balanced with times of complete and soul-satisfying rest. Is that even possible? What would that look like in your life?

February03, 2009 at 11:51 AM

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