On my morning walk, sunrise casts its glow across dewy hayfields. Breathing deeply, pushing hard on uphill stretches, and swinging my arms purposefully to keep my heart rate up, I am beginning to understand this ritual as both spiritual and physical discipline. Since exercise has been medically proven to slow the advance of Parkinson’s disease, I have a choice to make everyday:
I can operate from a negative stance, and, truthfully, some days it feels as if the disease is chasing me down the road, nipping at my heels. That’s unpleasant and quite unhelpful, so I’m trusting for grace to embrace the walking and the daily physical therapy exercises as a pursuit. I’m the one doing the chasing, and what I’m after is a strong body that will enable me to serve God and my family for as long as I can.
A Call to Rest. A Call to Worship
The world outside is glorious in every season, and giving my mind to the expression of wonder over the works of God is somehow restful. Working from Psalm 92, this is no surprise:
You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;Psalm 92:4-5
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Since Psalm 92 is a song for the Sabbath, it becomes a call to rest and a call to worship. God’s work and his ways certainly do make me glad, and they are also the best motive I can think of for engaging in true rest. I can rest because of God’s finished (and yet unceasing!) work on my behalf.
This connection between worship and rest requires me to look squarely at the connection between my spiritual life and my physical life. The condition of our bodies affects the condition of our souls–and have you noticed that the opposite is also true?
Since I no longer have the luxury of ignoring my own physical decline, I am trying to pay attention to all the influences that affect my ability to rest.
- For instance, does continual accessibility on social media nurture my soul or does it leave me feeling tattered and scattered?
- Will I profit most from another twenty minutes of reading at bedtime? Or is it more important to turn off the light and start winding down for rest?
- What occupies my mind on that morning walk, or as I drive the car from Point A to Point B? Worry and meditation use the same mental muscles. If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate on scripture. Which one do you think will be more productive and more restful for body and spirit?
What disciplines shape your daily routine?
Can you make good decisions today that will influence a more productive future?
“You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work…” This song for the Sabbath, becomes a call to rest and a call to worship. I engage in true rest because of God’s finished (and yet unceasing!) work on my behalf.Tweet
And Now Let’s Talk Books…
The Life We’re Looking For
Once again Andy Crouch offers startling commentary on the culture and our relationship to technology. Picking up where The Tech Wise Family left off, The Life We’re Looking For addresses the state of our hearts, for our obsession with our devices is truly an obsession with ourselves. Over time, humanity has traded our search for significance in the eyes of another person for the self-affirming mirror of customized entertainment and digital distraction.
Somehow, in a world obsessed with identity, we have lost touch with some of the most important ways of being human. Part One of the book laments this loss, and Part Two responds by offering strategies and a mindset for a more fully human life.
I have been personally challenged on some specific fronts:
- To continue to see my dining room table as a place where genuine change can happen.
- To be suspicious of the word “superpower” as a dehumanizing influence. Wherever the sensation of strength is separated form the sensation of effort, we have been diminished.
- To be cautious about making choices that mask emptiness, all the while deepening it. Crouch puts a finger on our “small consolations and addictions,” the things that keep us just barely comforted, when God has designed us to flourish.
- To beware of the allure of “impact.” What I really want to have with my readers is influence, a subtle and lasting change over time and through relationship and intentional, consequential contact over words and ideas.
Rather than replacing people with cyborgs, the goal of truly valuable technology is to re-place us, to “put us back in our place as… the crown of creation.” (1480) As an instrument in the the hand of a skilled practitioner, technology benefits us most when it enhances our human capabilities and lifts our burdens.
Holding You in the Light,
Somehow, in a world obsessed with identity we have lost touch with the most important ways of being human. #thelifewerelookingfor by @ahc laments the loss and responds by offering strategies for a more fully human life @ConvergentBooksTweet
If Andy Crouch’s work sounds interesting to you, you might also appreciate Strong and Weak. It’s being re-released this year from IV Press, but I reviewed the first edition here back in 2016. It’s a book I keep returning to for many reasons.
With elements of memoir and story, Strong and Weak is deeply informative for leaders, or for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world, and this in itself would be “enough”; however, Andy Crouch shares intensely practical advice that brings principles for flourishing into everyday life, as well as some of the best and most memorable advice for public speaking that I’ve read anywhere: do your homework, love your audience, be yourself.
Do You Wonder If God Is Okay with Your Questions?
Curiosity has been my strange companion since my recent diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease, so I’ve created a resource to invite you into curiosity along with me! God is not some grumpy parent, silencing his children and condemning our questions.
This line of thinking sent me on a biblical scavenger hunt for questions posed by the Bible’s authors. What were they asking and how should this affect the questions I’m asking and the way my curiosity is framed?
To receive your copy of “Half a Dozen Biblical Questions for Entering (and Enduring) Hard Times” simply enter your email and then click on the button below…
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Many thanks to Convergent Books and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.