In August, I injured my back–poor timing indeed with canning to do, tomatoes to pick, lawns to mow, and a family beach day on the calendar. Nevertheless, I know the drill: ice, rest, ibuprofen, repeat. I can cheat and be “more productive,” but, when I do, I’m just slowing down the healing process.
Which makes me wonder about all the other ways I try to cheat myself out of resting. At bedtime, I trade an extra half hour of reading (maybe a dozen pages?) for a slow and silent unwinding in the dark. What I have gained is a slow and reluctant rising at 5 a.m.
Rest as Soul Care
Even though I know the secret to a well-rested rising starts the night before, and even though I’m well aware that a rested body carries a chronic illness far better than a tired body, still I unload the dishwasher, putter in the laundry room, or read “just one more chapter” instead of taking myself by the scruff of the neck and putting myself to bed. I exchange my version of productivity for the rest my body and soul need.
As usual, there’s a bigger question on the table here than simple time management. Jesus framed the question in a way that reaches across the centuries and calls us to a deeper and more intentional discipleship:
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?Matthew 16:26
Knowing the importance of rest in a life of faithful and sensible soul care, what exactly am I prepared to hand over in exchange for my soul?
Friends in Formation, a Renovaré podcast, took on the topic of rest in a recent episode, and Richella Parham threw down a challenge: “Stop working at 8:00 p.m. and see what happens. Do you worry? Do you feel unworthy?”
That anxious feeling may point to an insufficient understanding of the gospel. Resting is not laziness, failure, or irresponsibility. Furthermore, the most important work of securing my soul has already been accomplished in Christ.
In Exchange for Your Soul
What does a woman hope to gain in return for handing her soul over to some futile pursuit? Have you asked yourself the same question? Maybe rest isn’t the issue for you, but in some way, you’re giving up something your soul needs, handing over your soul to some other pursuit in hopes of “gaining the world.”
What does “gaining the world” mean for you?
- A clean house?
- The approval of “the inner ring?”
- A career boost?
- A bigger following?
- A bigger bank balance?
- A smaller jean size?
What are you willing to sacrifice?
And what will be the ultimate cost to your soul?
Knowing the importance of #rest in a life of faithful and sensible soul care, what exactly am I prepared to hand over in exchange for my soul? Resting is not laziness, failure, or irresponsibility.Tweet
And Now Let’s Talk Books…
Christian Poetry in America Since 1940
When I homeschooled my kids, our routine included a poem a day. I’m sure I enjoyed it far more my sons, but it’s a rhythm of life I recommend–in spite of the challenge of selling its merits to a band of boys.
This year, Paraclete Press has published an anthology of Christian Poetry in America Since 1940, providing a scholarly and immersive head-to-toe baptism into the modes and voices of contemporary Christian verse. The brief biographies preceding each featured poet were like program notes before a concert.
However, if you are more of the “poem a day” type of reader, this book still belongs on your nightstand as a daily (or nightly) companion, a vitamin for the soul.
A scholarly and immersive head-to-toe baptism into the modes and voices of contemporary Christian verse: Christian Poetry in America, a new anthology via @paracletepress!Tweet
Editors Micah Mattix and Sally Thomas have selected representative works of diverse styles but common focus. Borrowing from C.S. Lewis, they make the helpful distinction that a Christian poet is not “bringing into existence beauty or wisdom which did not exist before, but simply and solely… trying to embody in terms of his own art some reflection of eternal Beauty and Wisdom.”
Since each poem is distinctly Christian in subject matter, the reader is invited to join Marjorie Maddox’s picturesque lament on “the human beneath” all our fragile piety; to receive the gift of Timothy Murphy’s gently-rhymed psalms and prayers; to ponder Julia Spicher Kasdorf’s perspicacious commentary on her Mennonite heritage; and to receive joyfully Tania Runyan’s exhortation that the fruit of the Spirit “aren’t commandments, but signs.”
Poetry meets faith at the intersection of comprehension and application. I’m jolted awake whenever timeless truth comes to me through the lens of fresh expression.
Holding you in the Light,
Is It Time for You to “Get to Know God?”
I recently heard from a reader, awake at 3:00 a.m., and downloading my latest free resource: “Although I have been a follower most of my life I have never really tried to get to know God.” She had decided that Isaiah 43 was a good place to start.
How about you?
This guided meditation based on Isaiah 43 highlights the truth that we live and work according to our concept of God. What if you began every day with the conviction that God, YOUR God identifies himself as the God who does a new thing, who makes a path through the wilderness, who blots out your transgressions and says, “Fear not!”
I’m committed to the truth that women can become confident followers of God and students of his word, and it’s my goal to provide resources to help you along that path. Subscribers receive them automatically, and you can receive your copy by simply entering your email and then clicking on the button below…
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Many thanks to Paraclete Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.