Rest: is it even possible?

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We live in a frenzied world.

There is so much to do, to read, to take in, to absorb. The development of so-called ‘time-saving’ gadgets, devices and systems seems to give us reason to do more, rather than rest more.

The time my great-grandmother might have spent hand-washing clothes, should now be a time when I am able to put my feet up, while the washing machine takes care of my family’s clothes. And yet instead I use that time to take on another commitment, absorb another pressure, communicate with another person on yet another social media platform.

I would argue that perhaps we have more demands on us than any other generation in history. And, judging by the poor state of mental health in Western adults, we’re not coping very well with it all. We were never meant to.

It’s all very well knowing this, but how do we make the necessary changes? When our jobs, our families, our churches, our communities, our hobbies make so very many demands on us? Where is the let-up?

The world loves to talk about ‘self-care’ in response to the pressures of modern life – but often the suggestions made are so superficial. I’m not saying that it’s not important to drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, give yourself time away from screens, regularly meet with friends, or whatever other practices are recommended. But if these things are done without a fundamental change in attitude then their effectiveness is time-limited. What will happen, for example, if exercise doesn’t happen one day? If you spend an evening binge-watching your favourite box-set?

Over the summer I very much appreciated Gina Poirier’s online course Choose Rest: Biblical Self-Care Practices. While the world talks about ‘self-care’, the Bible talks about ‘rest’, and Gina has a wonderful way of connecting Biblical theology with practical applications.

Rest is a Biblical priority – it was a part of creation, built into our week from the very beginning, and later being included in the Ten Commandments. Jesus also reinforced this teaching by making rest a regular part of his days, weeks, and ministry in general.

I loved the way Gina was so rooted in Scripture throughout the course. From the introduction, where she clearly explains what the Bible means by ‘rest’ (and how it differs to the world’s idea of rest) to the main three sections, where she gives practical ideas for physical, emotional/mental, and finally spiritual rest, Gina firmly plants all the main ideas in Biblical teaching.

Yes, you’ll spot some familiar self-care strategies. But it is the change of heart and mindset which Gina is so good at articulating.

Now I can’t say my attitude has changed totally – I’m writing this when I should be in bed, for example – but I’ve certainly moved towards a healthier, and more restful, lifestyle in other ways. I’m learning to set deadlines for jobs so that I build in time for rest. I’m pro-actively trying to rest with my kids, rather than hurry about doing stuff all the time. I’m taking time to engage in hobbies which bring me joy and relaxation.

This is a video course, which was great for me as I was able to listen to Gina’s teaching while hanging washing or cleaning my teeth. (Eek – maybe in order to practise ‘rest’ I should have forced myself to sit down while listening to the course!) Perhaps you, likewise, find it easier to listen to something ‘on the go’, than make the time to sit and read text?

If you haven’t already worked it out, I totally love this course and wholeheartedly recommend it to you. It retails for $37 (nearly £29 currently).

But you know I love a bargain!

I’m proud to say I bought this course as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle back in April for just $29.99 (around £23). Sadly, this bundle sale has now ended, but look out for next year’s bundle in the spring!

If you enjoyed this, why not read:
* 6 things I got wrong about decluttering
* 5 things to ask before you get a cleaner
* Outnumbered

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