The Gift of Rest AND a Giveaway

restful

 

We are approaching a time of year when busyness is prized. We sleep less, fill our calendars with more, and then wonder why we end up exhausted, irritable, and distracted on Christmas Eve. Pinterest would love for us to equivocate Christmas hospitality with extravagant entertaining. But what if we could challenge that idea?

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, means coming or arrival. Advent is the ultimate example of hospitality. It’s a breath of time reminding us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Rather than focusing all our energy on decorations and gifts, what if we could dedicate time every day to receive our King? What if rest was a daily practice?

“To brush past it, to rush through it, to not see how it comes for you up over the edges of everything, quiet and unassuming and miraculous–how every page of the Word has been writing it, reaching for you, coming for you. And you could wake up on Christmas only to grasp that you never took the whole of the Gift, the wide expanse of grace. So now we pause. Still. Ponder. Hush. Wait. Each day of Advent, He gives you the gift of time, so you have time to be still and wait.” (Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift)

chapel

Chapel Rock Retreat Center

 

That pause or sacred rest is something so important to me. As someone who has a tendency toward doing, it takes dedicated heart and brain space to practice being still and being present.

To encourage that rest, With Joy Retreats is hosting a giveaway this week. We want to champion the discipline of stillness. Our upcoming retreat in April 2015 has EVERYTHING to do with rest… pulling back, being still, and filling up on good things. One lucky person will walk away with some fantastic tools for being still – even during the Christmas Season. (See the picture below!)

There are three ways to enter every day this week, December 1st-5th.

1. Share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook.
2. Share the With Joy Retreats Website with friends via e-mail.
3. Tweet about the giveaway.

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
If your name is randomly selected by Rafflecopter, you will win: Breath for the Bones by Luci Shaw, Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts, Longing for More by Tim Willard, a “You Are Loved” Necklace from Lisa Leonard, a Scenty Plug-In and Two Bars, and a mug from World Market. Merry resting to you!!

Again, there are three different ways to enter each day until Friday, December 5th. Entries close at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday the 8th. Best of luck!

As you prepare your home this week, don’t forget to prepare your heart and give Him room.

Following,
Ginger

Gift Certificate SquareP.S. If you are looking for a unique gift idea (for yourself or someone else!), consider gifting the 2015 With Joy Retreat. Check the registration page for details!

Step #4. Rest

season

I know exactly when my daughter needs a nap. She switches from her usual lovely self to an angry/fussy version that if I’m honest, isn’t my favorite. Every noise sounds both sad and angry. She simply needs some rest. She ate, played, and her little body has to refuel before she can make it through the next portion of the day. It feels like she’s the only person on the planet who doesn’t realize that tired = I need to sleep. She FIGHTS sleep during the day. She could medal in trying to keep her eyes open. As her mom it can feel so frustrating to know that the one thing she really needs is the one thing she doesn’t seem to want.

We are approaching a time of year when busyness is prized. We sleep less, fill our calendars with more, and then wonder why we end up exhausted, irritable, and distracted on Christmas Eve. The challenge for today is to make rest a priority, and I don’t just mean sleep.

If I want to keep my heart tuned to sing of grace, I have to listen to the words of Jesus when He calls.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV)

“If you are caught, as I was, in the barrenness of a too-busy life, look to Jesus. The gospels reveal Him as a man who had learned the importance of saying no. The were times when He said no to the demands and requests made of Him, times when He said no to the crowd and got away to be alone with His disciples, times when He left the disciples to be alone with His Father.” -Colleen Townsend Evans

stepStep #4. Rest.

Our physical bodies definitely need rest and sleep, but our spiritual lives need just as much rejuvination. There’s a reason God commanded us to rest on the Sabbath.

The temptation can be to utilize the weekend or days off with the items that keep getting pushed down our to-do lists. We find an open Saturday or Sunday and quickly begin to fill them with lots of good things while God has the BEST thing for us: REST. On my trip to Israel last spring I began to view Sabbath in a whole new light. It wasn’t a rule to follow, but a GIFT from God. He wants us to rest from work because we need it!

“God presents the Sabbath rest as a shelter we can enter.” ― Charles R. Swindoll.

I don’t know what Sabbath will look like for you, but I know that God would not command something without an important reason. I started my own routine for Sabbath when I was working at a summer camp. In order to be refreshed for the whole week, I spent a portion of it reading, a portion of one-on-one time with a friend or family member, and a portion worshipping with a body of believers. I knew not to schedule much, but to train myself that just “be-ing” was necessary to keep my spirit at rest.

Some ideas for your Sabbath:

alone

1. Cyberless Sundays
2. Screen-free weekends
3. Cook ahead and just reheat leftovers
4. Family picnic
5. Spend the day outdoors
6. Reading
7. Attending a Worship Service
8. Sharing a meal with friends or family
9. Reading the Word out loud at the table before and after meals
10. Worship CD on in the house or car
11. Take a prayer walk
12. Refraining from shopping
13. Going through old photos and remembering God’s faithfulness together
14. Rest from worry!
15. Avoid homework/paying bills/and stress-inducing tasks
16. Learn the Shabbat prayer and why it is so important to the Jews.
17. Light candles.
18. Start small if necessary and build up: 5 hours, then 6, then eventually a full day!
19. Create a Sabbath box and place distracting items in the box for the duration.
20. Save stressful conversations for another day.

It is important to note: practicing rest or Sabbath when you “feel like it” does not make the experience more authentic. It’s so important to be intentional with our rest. Make rest part of your weekly rhythm. The gift of Sabbath will tune our hearts to sing God’s grace more freely!

“Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.”

May your rest be deep and nourishing to your soul!

Following,
Ginger

To catch up on the rest of the series:

Tune My Heart

Step #1. Demonstrate Gratitude

Step #2. Today’s Manna

Step #3. Limit Distractions