Today is my first day back in the office after two weeks of vacation and I am happy to say I feel rested. This is by no means a given. I have often recreated so hard during time off that I return feeling the need for a vacation to recover from my vacation. Ever been there?
Resting, I have learned, is not as easy as it sounds, especially for a natural born doer like myself. Turns out I’m not alone. Mark Buchanan is a fellow pastor who needed remedial rest training and I’m three-quarters through the book he wrote in the process; The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.
When we hit Highway 101 in Lincoln City last week we rolled down the window to let the refreshing, salty tang of the sea air blow through the cab of our truck. Mark’s writing has had a similar effect; it has helped me savor and revel in the gift of rest. It has not so much changed the activities of my vacation, but rather the attitude in which I have done them.
If I had been taking notes it would be easier to share a helpful summary of what I’m learning. But that would have felt a lot like work, so I’ll just give you this tiny taste instead. “Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life. These two things, taken together, make up Sabbath’s golden rule.” (p. 129)
I sought to honor God’s command to rest as we went to my parents’ beach house near Yachats, leaving the schedule very loose. We walked on the beach, read novels with our toes buried in warm sand and I even boogie boarded with a sea lion. We celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary with nearly 200 of their family and friends. Last week I built a bookshelf in my shop, built a bonfire in the woods and snapped a pic of a beetle with the most brilliant paint job I’ve ever seen. Then Saturday night we celebrated with God with the Evergreen family and I delighted in the sheer joy of having no responsibility to make anything happen. I was free to greet, hug, sing, pray, listen, learn, respond and savor the Lord.
Now I’m back and I’m staring at a large to do list: VBS prep, Family Camp planning, sermon prep, Leadership Team work, worship service planning, counseling… But this is good. Work is good and I’m glad I get to do it. Rest is also good and I am grateful God gives us a whole day of it every single week.