Rest is not a concept that comes easily to most of us. We too often get caught up in the world to get the rest we need. How can we stop this?

Personal Fact:

For the past 17 years I have helped out with theater productions.

Fun Fact:

Did you know the concepts of allowing fields to rest and crop rotation are given in the Bible?

Rest and Margin In A Non-stop World:

We all have times in our lives that are busy. Some of those times are expected and others come by surprise. I’ve found that the world around me is non-stop and relentless. It is so easy to get pulled in, that I can feel like I’m drowning in busyness and stress. Rest is hard to come by.

In my introduction, I mentioned that I help out with theater productions. I help out with a Christian arts studio call Arts Alive. I have run sound for theater and dance productions, run lights and helped with set crew. It is a joy to help these kids and teens grow in the arts. It is a blessing for me, but I know that May and early June will be a busy time each year.

My primary job is in a school. I have cycles of busy and slower times each year. I really like that. Those cycles are great because they bring a natural balance.

Over the years I have suffered and my body has been worn down to exhaustion because of non-stop busyness and stress. I don’t know if I’m a slow learner, too much of a perfectionist, or I just don’t take enough time to think, but it took years of these cycles of busyness and stress to get things through my head

As you may have guessed from some of my SILY episodes, I’m a Christian. I had read a good deal of scripture. But, I had missed things that I really needed to hear. You see scripture talks about rest and work. It talks about health, busyness and stress. But reading was not enough to get through the busyness and distractions in my life. I was reading the words but missing the point.

Christianity is about a relationship with God and through that relationship I learned. You see going through those cycles of expected busyness and having unexpected times pop up hurt me in many ways. There came a point in 2007 that broke me. I didn’t know it until a year or so later but I had mono in 2007. I was tired, my energy levels dropped quickly and I got sick easily. Because of my relationship with the Lord and circumstances, He taught me some important concepts I needed to hear.

The first thing I learned was about the concept of margin. In the book of Leviticus, the Lord gives clear instruction not to reap to the edges of the field and not to strip vines bare. Why? It provided food and resources for the poor, but it also reminded the people they were caretakers of the land but the land and the crops were the Lord’s. I learned my work and life is not just about me. I have to leave margins in my life, so that other people will have room to grow, work and serve. I had to learn to stop, say no, and choose things wisely.

That mono year also reminded me I need rest. But I needed a refresher from the Lord about rest. How many times had I read the creation narrative and not given as second thought to day seven? God does not need to rest, but He set an example for me, by devoting one day a week to rest. Busyness burns us out and I need a day a week to rest. Yes, I spent my Sunday’s in worship and rest, but not fully living in the process.

God goes beyond just one day a week. In Leviticus, He commands Sabbath years and Jubilee years. The idea was that the land and people needed time to recover. During those years no crops were harvested. People lived off what they had stored up and let the ground recover. The Lord taught me that rest can be and should be planned. The concept is this, I plan to work but also plan downtimes. I also need to plan when to start back to work.

I was running my life without any margin and working to exhaustion. So I needed to make changes. I’m still working on that and still learning.

A way that I’m seeking to apply some of these lessons is time off. Every Memorial Day weekend, my aunt and uncle’s church heads to the mountains of North Carolina. I’ve been going with them most of my life. It is great because there is NO cell phone reception there. It is a weekend I can enjoy the sun or rain. I can read, do puzzles, rock in a rocking chair and talk with others. I can spend time in prayer and worship. It is a Sabbath weekend in the midst of busy times. It allows me time to rest and prepare before returning to work.

What I Learned:

So what have I learned? We live in a non-stop and relentless world and that will NEVER change. So we have to give ourselves margin. Margin to not take it all on. Margin to say no even when the activity would be really fun or worthy of our time. Margin to save our strength. We also need rest. The rest works best when we intentionally plan times to stop, step away, and plan to return.

I’m Geoff Gentry and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

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