Tag Archives: Rest


mount_nacheesmo (2)I’m thinking plates. Electrical outlets. Suitcases. You know: anything we have the tendency to overload. Keep putting more on/in and before you know it: boom! A seam splits. The current is cut. The airline charges you an extra $100 overweight fee.

A few months ago I was meeting a nun for a spiritual direction session that was to be followed by body work. I told her all about the painting I started. The book I began writing. The blog to which I tried to post each week. Not to mention, in those very moments, I was preparing to attend the first of six spiritual direction training intensives followed by three months of beginning to work dreams in a clergy dream group. I was like a kid in a candy shop who finally found her professional life manageable enough that personal pursuits were once again possible. I had taken up yoga. I got back to working out each day. I even started juicing fruits and vegetables for breakfast every morning. The sister and I had a wonderful conversation about all the amazing ways life was opening up before me. Then, I got on the massage table to have my energy read as the first part of a healing touch exercise. After our conversation, she was more than a bit puzzled that my creative energy was closed.

I wasn’t. It was a gentle wake up call. A reminder to re-prioritize. You see, I finally am in professional work that allows enough energy and time to put towards personal, creative endeavors. And little by little, it all had become a chore. Not something to look forward to each week when my regular day of Sabbath rest rolled around; but tasks on a list that I have to accomplish by certain, set deadlines. I was starting to dread Sabbath instead of welcoming it as the blessed gift of renewal it is meant to be.

We might be able to pull a fast-one on a nun who really doesn’t know us well, but the instrument in which we live our daily lives – our bodies, minds, and spirits – cannot be fooled. My personal life, with all the possible creative pursuits, has become overloaded.

I admit: I’ve felt guilty about it. There are so many wonderful things I want to do these days. So much I want to undertake in hopes of putting something beautiful and inspiring and helpful out into the world. And then I remember all the over-stuffed suit cases with which I’ve tried to travel the world. The mounded plates from buffet tables I’ve done my best to consume. Balance remains my life-long struggle.

I’ve put down the paint brush, at least for now. I think words are more my gift than acrylics. The dream work commitment soon will come to an end and I am re-thinking how I might use that time instead. Perhaps for more journaling and blogging or getting on with chapter ten of the book. Finally I’ve decided that if I have to do as much reading as I must for spiritual direction training, I will NOT choose to read the 500 page Jungian analysis book just because I already own it. I ordered Thomas Merton instead today. And Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Keating. Only one of the three is required, but how can one resist the beautiful insights of such iconic, spiritual gurus?!

The balancing act continues.

How about you: how are you doing on NOT overloading?

Keep in mind the wisdom from one of my favorite refrigerator magnets: Only a field that lies fallow will produce great fruit!

In other words, pick one or two favorites and remember to rest really well too!



A friend of mine who works a lot of hours was told last week that they are a grown adult.  They don’t need a day of rest.

Shudder, shudder, shudder!  Ugh, ugh, ugh!

It was in fact a church member telling a church staff member that such time for personal rest was not necessary.  The church member was angry that my friend put self care above meeting their expectations.  I was mortified.

The longer I live, the more I understand that there is a very fine line between the good ole’ Midwestern work ethic and work-aholism.  Every week I seek to practice Sabbath — an intentional pause.  To cease.  To stop.  In order to rest.  In order to re-connect with God in ways I cannot  during demanding weeks of professional and personal responsibilities.  To listen to my true name:  precious child of God — not because of anything I do; but just because of God.  Sabbath rest reminds me that I am not God.  It’s not all up to me.  If the church wants a Savior, I know a much better direction in which to point them.  🙂

I love the latest words about Sabbath that I discovered in Mary Ann McKibben Dana’s wonderful book Sabbath in the Suburbs.  Mary Ann quotes Blu Greenberg, who writes:  “Six days shall you be a workaholic; on the seventh day, shall you join the serene company of human beings.  . . .  Six days shall you be the perfect success; on the seventh day, shall you remember that not everything is in your power.  . . .  Six days shall you enjoy the blessings of work; on the seventh day, shall you understand that being is as important as doing.”

I need this reminder everyday, which is why I seek the balance of a sustainable life for my body, mind, and spirit.  I don’t always get it right — which is why I keep on practicing.  I used to spend untold hours on a basketball court seeking to perfect my jump shot.  I figure I can give just about the same amount of effort to perfecting a life as centered as possible.  Some days I’m like a wobbly lump of clay about to spin off the potter’s wheel.  Other days I’m as ready as pliable clay in the potter’s hands, about to be made into something absolutely beautiful, useful, useable for the sake of another.

Rest . . .  no matter what any other voice might tell us:  ALL adults need it.  All adults have been created for it by a most generous, peace-giving Creator.  The Holy One who longs for us just to be together!

What have you noticed about such Sabbath rest?

Let us all know here — especially if you are a working parent or someone taking on more just to make ends meet.  Extra prayers go to those of you!