Winter is a Season of Rest

rest_upContinued from here.

In his book, In Season: Embracing the Father’s Process of Fruitfulness, Wayne Jacobsen says that Winter is a season of rest. Spring is a season of rapid growth. Summer is filled with challenges as we endure through many obstacles to bearing fruit. Fall is a season of harvest. Only in Winter does the vine rest.

Western culture, and Americans in particular, have lost sight of the value of rest. We feel guilty if we are not constantly producing, and then we are surprised when we find ourselves burning out, dependent upon our next cup of coffee to find the energy to keep pressing through.

I just went through a period of burnout. For a four-week period, I had little breathing room in my life. God revealed to me that I was in a season of Winter, but there was no rest. I had built my schedule with little wiggle room. As a result, I had a flareup of acid reflux that caused a sinus infection, and there was simply no room in my life to recuperate, much less rest. Some of the scheduling commitments ended on Thursday last week, and I had Friday (my Sabbath day) completely off – no plans whatsoever. I slept for 14 straight hours. I had a quick bite to eat, watched a movie in bed, and then napped for 2.5 hours. I had another quick bite to eat, watched a second movie in bed, visited with my husband briefly when he got home from work, went to bed at 8:00 p.m., and slept for 9 more hours. I felt like a different person on Saturday morning because I finally experienced rest, which is what I should have been doing all along.

God then placed on my heart that it’s time to prune. He led me to step down from some areas of ministry – areas that are near and dear to my heart – to make room for the “new thing” He is planning. He wants me resting so I will have the energy needed when Spring comes. I don’t think it’s coincidence that I’ll be traveling to Ireland soon, where my cell phone will not have reception and where I’ll be completely disconnected from everyone and everything other than my tour group. I expect to return well-rested and ready for the next season of harvest, as the days gradually stretch longer and new life begins to grow.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding a pillow & blanket while saying, “Rest up!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

Seven Fundamental Practices: Sabbath Rest

rest_upContinued from here.

Taking a Sabbath day rest each week is one of my favorite fundamental practices and yet was one of the harder ones for me to commit to doing regularly. American culture does not support a full day of rest. We are a country of workaholics, and far too many Christians feel guilty if they are not running here, there, and everywhere every day of the week. Not taking a Sabbath rest is sin — it’s damaging to you and weakens you.

If we assume that the Ten Commandments were written in priority order, then the Sabbath actually outranks the prohibition against committing murder and committing adultery! God also provided a more detailed explanation of the Sabbath than the other nine commandments, so it clearly matters to God.

If you believe that the commandment to keep the Sabbath “went away” after Jesus, check out Hebrews 4:1-11, which specifically states:

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. ~ Heb. 4:9-10

There’s no getting around it. God has commanded us to take a day of rest weekly, and choosing to ignore this command is disobedience.

Now for the good part … Sabbath rest is AWESOME!! I look forward to it all week. As the week progresses, I find myself losing steam, but then I remember that I get to take a Sabbath rest in three days … in two days … in one day … Then, I wake up and have the glorious realization that I get to rest ALL DAY LONG!

My Sabbath feels like it goes on for days, in a wonderful way. It’s like time stops, and I get to relish every glorious minute of freedom from work. It’s like my battery is being recharged all day. Then, when I awaken the next morning, my battery is fully charged, and I am ready to face another week of productivity.

On the rare occasion that I fail to observe the Sabbath, I can feel the difference. I have less energy, and I accomplish less in seven days than I usually do in six. Thankfully, taking a Sabbath the following week gets me back on track, but it’s a L-O-N-G week in the meantime.

This is another topic I will need to write more about later.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding a pillow and blanket, saying, “Rest up.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]