Rest, Refreshing and Connection

It’s Sunday, the first day of the week, The Lord’s Day, and I am prompted to send you some challenge and encouragement on how to “Have a great day!” My thoughts break into three parts: Rest, Refreshing and Connection.

Rest. Americans don’t get enough of it. Not only do many of us function habitually “sleep deprived,” we also have no rest. When do you “get away” from the pressures? What do you do for relaxation? When was the last time you did that? I have talked to a number of Christians who live as if they believe God expects them or wants them to live pressed for time and exhausted. They live at a pace which proclaims themselves “indispensible” to God’s mission, although they would deny such a high opinion of themselves if you asked (as Donald Miller explains, we don’t believe what we say we believe, we believe what we do). What happened to following Jesus? The One who did, at times, labor to the point of exhaustion, but who also took advantage of time on the boat for a nap, was to deliberately “get away” to the other side, and Who promised Rest to all the weary ones who come to Him? Perhaps today, on His day, what He would like is for you to spend a couple of hours . . . sleeping!

Refreshing. For me, sleep is often not enough. There are plenty of times I need sleep, but even more than sleep I need refreshing. There is something very invigorating in a change of pace and change of location. I spend a lot of time reading and writing in preparation for classes, so those activities on a Sunday tend to not “bring me life.” It is helpful for me to change my physical surroundings and do something I really enjoy—find a new place by the water to take a walk, drive somewhere and stop to enjoy the view, or spend time looking at stuff and watching people at an outdoor market. Whatever the activity, I trust Jesus to be reminding me that He is with me and to cause me to be grateful. When I see something beautiful, like the sunset above or the clouds here (both caught on my cell phone on different days last weekend), I thank Him. I am reminded again that times of refreshing are in His presence. That is, I am refreshed as I experience the reality that He is with us, and gives us all things to enjoy. What things does Jesus prompt in your mind and heart as you read that you would enjoy and find Refreshing today?

Connection. Speaking of cell phones, they are great tools. Not just a phone, they are now the multimedia connection Steve Jobs envisioned. But all that utility comes at a price beyond dollars. I find myself addicted! Put a pause in my day, after class or after church, and almost immediately I’m checking messages, making calls, checking email, or following a link to somewhere. I confess, I have done it more than once while another person is right there with me (sorry Paula). My connection to the world wide web is interfering with a more important interpersonal connection (and probably robbing me of Rest and Refreshing as well). I read an article recently about “how to take a day off” and one of the recommendations was to turn off your cell phone. I think it’s a good idea: Maybe all day is too drastic for you, but how about for a couple of hours? Maybe Jesus wants you to give that a try today.

I appreciate your taking the time to read this, it’s not all that important what I think (or what you think for that matter). What matters is what Jesus thinks. Why not ask Jesus right now what He thinks about what you need today, then do what He says. Maybe it will be something I suggested, maybe a combination, or maybe something far more adventurous. Go where He leads. Always.

Enjoy Shalom (all of God’s best).

John