By Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S
Author Robert Barron makes this claim, “We imitate God by stopping our work and resting.” It’s a strong quote. As children made in the image of God, what do you think about when we stop our work and rest, we look like our Creator?
It seems that this is pretty important to God to stop and rest, but there is not much support for us to do the same rhythm. Think about what we have been taught and what we hear regularly. A friend said she recently took the day off and the only thing on her “list” was to get a massage. Her masseuse actually asked her, “So getting a lot done on your day off?” Our normal expectation is that our time is best spent accomplishing, performing and achieving. But that’s not what God is inviting us to do…all the time.
So here is your challenge for this weekend. I’m giving you a couple days to plan and then to apply the rhythm. Stop your work for one day and rest.
When we do this the way God has invited us to it includes 4 components that truly help us imitate God.
1. We actually stop. To stop is built into the literal meaning of the Hebrew word. We all have limits. We are called, even commanded in Exudus 20:9-10, to let go of our work and trust God has got it. The spiritual discipline, or practice, of the Sabbath says we do what we can in 6 days and then we stop for 1 day.
2. We rest. Once we stop, we are called to rest from our work and our “doing” so that we can return to human “beings”.
3. We delight. Slowing down is not just for the purpose of stopping, it is for the purpose of enjoying what we have been going. So here is the reason you get the permission slip, it’s for this purpose. We often hear, I’ll rest when I retire and then I’ll go do what I dream of. Retirement is not the only time we can look forward to enjoying the blessings of resources and relationships. God actually invites us to do this on a regular rhythm.
4. We contemplate. When we stop, rest and delight we are to let ourselves ponder the love of God. We can regularly let ourselves taste and see the gloriousness of God’s love and his eternal hope for us.
These 4 components are found in the book and workbook, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. Our staff team has been working through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course since January and it’s having a powerful impact on us.
When you implement the stop rhythm, you don’t have obligations, pressures or responsibilities. You have permission to play, be with friends, take a nap, take a walk, read a good book or try that new recipe. Few of us routinely give ourselves a “no obligation day” outside of vacations. But that’s what God is inviting us and commanding us to do as a rhythm.
So just as often as we brush our teeth, eat our meals, go to sleep, and hug a loved one, we need to stop.
This might look different in life stages or with certain current life responsibilities. Some of us might be able to have an actual Sabbath of a day off while some of us can practice the rhythm for a couple hours on the same day each week. The whole idea though is to implement all four components on a regular basis as a rhythm.
• Now what could this practically look like for you?
• If you already implement the stopping rhythm, what’s it like for you?
• If you have been practicing the rhythm for a while now, how has it changed things for you?
• What is a fear or a concern that keeps you from trying this rhythm?
Connect with me if you would like some additional info on the spiritual discipline, or practice, of Sabbath, Reflection, or connecting with God.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at http://www.lizlawrencelpc.com or http://www.renue.me
Originally posted on Facebook, Liz LawrenceMALPCLPC-S
Stop sign posted by Erica Reid on Flickr, reposted on Pinterest