Friday, February 25, 2022

My Personal Rule of Life - Rest

This picture came up in my memories this week from 2016. This was my bedroom when I was living in Texas and taking care of my mom. At that time I was enrolled in school full time majoring in education and saw little hope of my husband and me getting back together. I was so certain of that future I had already picked out my new last name, Kimberly Crews, borrowed from my paternal great grandmother, Jennie Jordan Crews, I even toyed with Jordan-Crews, but that seemed a bit stuffy. But Crews I liked, and I'm a bit sorry I wasn't able to use it. In the end rather than a new name, the Lord chose instead, to give me a new life, and for that I am grateful.

But what struck me the most about this picture is that it is proof that as much as things change, there are some things that remain the same. If you were to come to my house right now you might easily step into this very scene. My favorite red and green sheets, my barn star quilt, one side of the bed unmade, pillows propped and surrounded by books, magazines, my laptop, and though you can't see him, my faithful Chiweenie who lives 90% of his life under a blanket. Every day begins and ends the same way, just like this.

One of the disciplines of a Rule of Life is rest, and this depicts that perfectly. You might not be able to tell just by looking at it, but this is a sanctuary. A place I long to linger a little longer in each morning and look forward to returning to every night. No matter what has happened, good or bad, at the end of the day, this remains. It is constant, steadfast, and certain. rest will come.

Unlike relationships, rest comes more naturally for me, both from a physical standpoint, as well as an emotional/spiritual one. It has taken me many years to come to this grounded center, where for the most part, I exist in a state of rest. Of course, a lot of that is due to the fact that I am introverted and spend most of my time at home. When you're alone as much as I am there's not much to cause you a lot of unrest. I realize that very statement would be the epitome of unrest for some, my daughter included, who is constantly going. But going out and being around large crowds of people is the biggest challenge I face in maintaining rest. If I'm going to become anxious, that is usually directly related to going and doing. Depending on the setting and the circumstances, a 3-4 hour outing will often take me a full day to recover.

Part of this is due to my makeup, which is much more complex than simply being introverted. I am also a highly sensitive person, which does not mean that I am prone to emotion. In fact, I rarely cry. Instead, being a highly sensitive person means that I don't respond well to large crowds, busy places, bright lights, loud music, or drastic changes in temperature, just to name a few. As you can imagine, that eliminates a large number of places. I still go out, just not with the frequency and length that the average person does. I am likewise, an empath, meaning that I empathize at a very deep level with people. I can feel their pain, and if I am not careful to guard against it, I take it on. For as long as I can remember, people I barely know have blurted out their entire life story the first time we met. In some cases they will ask for my advice on serious matters, conversations you would normally have with a trusted friend or family member. And if those things happen with too many people in a short period of time, it leaves me drained and depleted.

All this to say, I guard my rest, fiercely.

Some of the ways I do this are the same as abiding, which I discussed in this post. It's not uncommon for some practices to overlap.

- I begin each day in silence and solitude
Hearing from God and spending time with Him is the key to keeping my heart at rest.

"You will keep in perfect all whose thoughts are fixed on you."

- I try to plan to go out for shopping and errands one day a week, though typically I am out for shorter periods of time 1-2 other times. But it is not uncommon for me to go for an entire week without leaving the house, and 5 days is pretty normal.

- I limit who I follow on social media and unfollow anyone or any page that is not a positive, uplifting influence. Anyone can have a bad day, but if a feed is consistently negative or inappropriate, I either unfollow (remain friends but no longer see their posts unless I go to their feed), or unfriend them.

- I monitor what I allow to fill my mind and thoughts. This includes the television shows I watch, the music I listen to, and the books I read. I measure this using Phillipians 4:8 as my guide, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, think on these things."

I observe a weekly Sabbath. This is typically from 6:00 p.m. Friday night through 6:00 a.m. Sunday. I refrain from work during this time and prepare most of our meals ahead of time, breakfast being the exception because I love making a big breakfast on Saturday morning. Sunday is often a bit of an extension on this, although I do a bit of planning, it is still largely relaxed.

Being able to observe the Sabbath requires a little forethought and planning, which is accomplished through my weekly homekeeping routine and a practice known as "Blessing The Weekend". I've written about both of these in the past and will touch on them again in the near future.

Sundays are for self-care, which is when I give myself a pedicure and give my feet some extra attention. I love the look of a good manicure and beautifully painted nails . . . on other women. But I find the upkeep a bit much for me, so it's a tug-of-war. Does anyone have any tips for how to make your manicure last longer, especially when you're a busy home keeper and writer? My hands get a lot of use!

As I mentioned when I spoke of abiding, one of the ways I seek rest is with a weekend at home retreat every quarter and then a weekend away every year. I likewise mentioned that I had not been very good at seeing to this, and I'm hoping to change that, and at the very least be more intentional about the quarterly/seasonal in-home retreats.  In abiding, I am intentional about what my focus is on during the retreat, and making it a more concentrated deeper focus on my relationship with the Lord. In rest I focus on planning ahead so that I am able to completely relax during that time, and if possible, be largely alone. That last element can be a bit challenging when you live with other people, even just one! But I managed this successfully a number of times even when I had small children. It's just a matter of planning and communication, and hopefully a supportive spouse or a friend who can watch the kids for a couple of days, or even just overnight. You'd be surprised how refreshing just one evening and a day, say Friday night from 6:00 p.m. until Saturday at 3:00, can be. That's not even 24 hours, but it is 21! 21 glorious hours all to yourself with nothing to do but tend to your spiritual, emotional, and physical self. You might be shaking your head right now, but I'm telling you it's possible. I'll show you how in another post!

There remains only one other practice that I've not yet discussed which is Work and Money, and I had hoped to wrap this up today. But then I wasn't counting on a full day of plumbing, followed by a half-day of problems with our thermostat and running errands. But no worries, one of the ways I rest is by not getting hung up in the details and holding things loosely. At this point in the game, I'm only failing to live up to my own expectations, one of the blessings of the latter years of life, I'm discovering. Of course, that's not a blanket statement, well, not entirely. But as it relates to this space, I am both the CEO, Supervisor, and Employee, so, I'll do as I wish, and right now I wish to write that post another day.

Lent begins this coming Wednesday and is for me one of the most solemn and beautiful seasons of the year. I'll continue to post in this space, and in fact, I'll be sharing some of the resources I intend to use in my post tomorrow.

Until then, my friends, I wish you REST.

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