The Rest of Rest

Having spent the last week or so sick and alternately in bed or tottering around to my various commitments, I've had some time to think about rest. Add to this the ethos of this season, this dig-deep-place of Advent, and rest has been hard to avoid.

Oh, but avoid it we (and I) do.

One of the first things that I ask a new directee is about their sleeping habits. While that may seem a little bit outside of my purview as a spiritual director, I hold by the truth that, at least in North America, the number one enemy of spiritual growth is exhaustion. Last year, my lovely small group went through James Bryan Smith's The Good And Beautiful God: Falling In Love With the God Jesus Knows. Do you know what the first spiritual discipline Mr. Smith had us practice was?


Yes, sleep. The exercise involved picking a day (and enlisting help if necessary) where we could stay in bed until we were entirely sick of being in bed.

As a culture, we're so focused on being in control, accomplishing, making things happen. Rest and sleep are almost seen as defeat. Especially this time of year, when there so much to do, buy, arrange, bake, wrap, cook, send and give.

We often quote, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" from Isaiah 30:15, but no one seems to finish the verse. The last few words get left off… "but you would have none of it."

We like the idea, but we don't like being called to the carpet by God when we're not living the truth.

Well, I've been called to the carpet this past week. In the rest that my body as been forced into, I've been reminded that I'm not in control, that God is truly good, even if my circumstances seem snotty. And that, especially during Advent, God is reminding me, and the rest of His bride, that His rest is what He requires of us. We can wait on Him and rest in Him—He's trustworthy.

So how about it? Can you take up the challenge to choose rest this Advent season?



Further Resources:

The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

The Good & Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith