Lent looks different for me each year, but I always find my way to rest. Rest from the pressures of life, from social media, sugar, rest from my to-do list.
Sabbath. A beautiful word in the Jewish/Christian tradition from the Hebrew word Shabbat, which means to stop.
The Lenten season points us to the cross, a time to bring more of God into our hearts and minds. A season for our souls to pause for breath and catch up with our bodies. A beautiful break to refuel for the future.
It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But of course, it will only come about if we put the brakes on our schedules, take some things off the calendar, say no to commitments, and intentionally make space for it to happen.
Purposeful rest requires purposeful action and intention.
After taking things off the plate, we can ask what fills my soul? For me, it is getting outside with a book, walking in nature, and laughing with my family. A Sunday afternoon with nothing scheduled. A morning without the alarm ringing. Beautiful moments in life to savor and cherish.
God created us for rest and refueling. Jesus showed us how to do this in the gospels and prioritized it. He gave an entire day each week to rest, refuel, eat, and enjoy His friends. “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” (Mark 6:31 NLT) These were familiar words spoken by the One who perfectly modeled a balanced life.
Here is how John Mark Comer puts it (I highly recommend his book with an entire chapter dedicated to this subject. See link at the bottom):
“To begin, just set aside a day. Clear your schedule. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. Say a prayer to invite the Holy Spirit to pastor you in His presence. And then? Rest and worship. In whatever way is life-giving to your soul.”
So, what might this look like for us in 2023? Here are some practical ideas:
- Turn off the computer you carry in your pocket. Or, if you cannot, put it on grayscale mode. This makes it far less interesting.
- Take social media apps off your phone for a season. A week. A day.
- Take a day off email.
- Get outside and put your face in the sun. Drink in the Lord’s creation. Take a walk or a hike.
- Pick up a novel.
- Take a day off house tasks (unless you have small children – then do the bare minimum. I used to take Sundays off laundry when my kids were small).
- Just say “no”! To the to-do list, the shopping, the friend who wants to entangle you in her latest life drama. No is a complete sentence.
- Rest from the news. The latest political issue does not bring soul rest.
- Treat yourself to a bath, a massage, or a good stretch to relax the body.
- Do nothing.
Let us take intentional time for more of God, to rest our bodies and souls while we look at His life as the perfect model to follow.
“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus, Matthew 12:8, NIV