Monday, November 2, 2020

Soul Rest

This past week I started a short, one week devotional, Soul Rest: 7 Days To Renewal. The subtitle reads, Reclaim Your Life. Return To Sabbath.

Just yesterday we were forced out of a quiet, beautiful little campsite due to the threat of rain, snow and 40 mph wind gusts. It wasn’t the rain or snow as much as the threat of high winds that influenced our decision. Walmart parking lots seem more favorable at the moment, without the threat of falling trees.

I was sad to leave, as we were really enjoying the beauty of the late autumn forest and the especially the quiet. Constantly being on the go and with little to no time alone has left me a little weary. Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying all the wonderful places we have visited, and depending on the mood of the country following the election tomorrow, we hope to spend some time in and around Boston for my birthday. With that, I am learning to find rest in smaller pockets and in the midst of the hustle and bustle of life, EVEN when boondocking at Walmart!

This devotional has been so good and has prompted me to begin practicing what I call my rest reset, which is just ten minutes (preferably, sometimes it’s shorter) to just close my eyes and sit in silence. I got the idea from my reading on the first day of the devotional and I want to shares little of it it here with you.

“In our fast paced culture, we are constantly in motion, whether it’s our always-packed calendar, always racing mind, or always connected technology, we aren’t very good at resting. At the root, many of us are consumed with working, performing, and longing to earn respect, position, authority, value and love. Whether we attempt to receive these things from people or God, this striving causes us to become tired. Soul tired. The only way that we can begin a journey toward rest is to give ourselves permission to stop.”

The author goes on to suggest that you need to be intentional and find a few quiet moments, and it is further suggested that ten minutes is a ”reasonable amount of time to hope for.” It would be best if you could find a place that is restful, but in a pinch you should try to find a way to create stillness in the midst of your regular flow, such as drinking a cup of coffee or eating breakfast without the aide of technology. The key is not to allow anything to populate the time that you have set aside to be still and quiet.

I’ll be honest, I found this more difficult than I imagined it would be. Isn’t it amazing how dependent we’ve become upon our devices? It’s especially hard for me, living in the van, as the very devotional encouraging me in this comes through an app on my phone! It even warns that there will be the temptation to minimize the importance of being still and encourages the reader to be diligent. The first day I began this practice we were camping by a steam with a small waterfall, so while finding a restful spot was easy, my mind kept racing with a million thoughts. Then I realized I had my eyes closed and when I opened them to take in the beauty, it helped to still my heart and soul. Today, boondocking at Walmart, that may prove a bit more challenging.

What about you? Do you regularly engage in times of stillness? What do you find is your biggest struggle or distraction, and what have you found that helps?

1 comment:

Julie said...

Kim - I began the practice of sitting with God for about 15 minutes each morning about 8 months ago after the encouragement and example of a friend who sits every day for 1/2 hour with Him. She's found it life-transforming (and so have I) - the old principle that we become like those we spend time with also holds true with God! Anyway, I now can easily sit in quiet that long, but I had to work my way up to it, starting with just a few minutes at a time. I literally had to set a timer to free my mind from wondering when my time was up! Also, I find it helpful when something pops into my mind to visualize that thought going down a large drain and re-focusing back to Him. I also find it helpful to focus on a mental image of an incredibly peaceful memory in my past. A few deep breaths also help still me. Don't give up on this practice of contemplate prayer! I can't tell you how much it has helped to cultivate a peacefulness in my soul. It has also cured me of thinking that I must continually be DOING something for Him every moment of the day. I have learned that He delights in my simply BEING with Him! And when the storms of life are raging on the surface, knowing that I can enter His presence at any given moment (which is really my True Reality!) is such a precious gift. Julie