Saturday, 18 July 2015

Striving to rest by Joy Lenton

It's summer-time and the living is easy, yes? 

Or maybe not, as we can start the season already feeling burnt-out and burdened. 

Parents are hard-pressed to see their offspring through to the end of term – not to mention how stressed and stretched their teachers may feel.

Many of us wilt in the heat and find it takes all the energy we can muster to face a new day. 

All we long for is a cool pool, iced drinks to hand – plus some rest and peace..please!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if rest and soul's ease simply fell on us like a comfort blanket?

Instead, in our pursuit of peace we may feel like all hell's been let loose. And in a way, it has.

Because the enemy of our souls knows how beneficial it is for us to have a deeper experience of God's restful presence in our lives, so he will do everything in his power to try to stop us.

We get attacked with arrows of anxiety, become crippled with confusion, falter in fear or fall apart with frustration.

Discouragement and daily dilemmas can tip us sideways and our need for rest become ever urgent.

Resting can seem counter-intuitive when we are in the middle of a writing project (or three), or other heavy commitments. Surely we can't stop Now? There's so much to do!

And even as we realise it is possible to halt the workload for a while, it can feel as if we fall more often than we move ahead.

Who knew resting could be so challenging?

Maybe the answer isn't to fret, fume, stress or strive about resting, but simply to start seeking some soul-saving seconds in our days?

Make it a regular practice, and aim to linger longer when we are able to.

Because in the seeking of Sabbath moments our spirits are refreshed, our minds relaxed, and we achieve far more than by pressing on regardless.

If we heed and yield to the need to come aside for a while, we will find it brings great benefits to body and soul as we actually listen to what our lives are saying to us, no matter how hard it is to gain self-revelation sometimes.

For our faults and failings can become our truest teachers of transformation. They bring us into deeper dependence on God while he works in everything for our highest good.

Taking our eyes off our circumstances and placing them on Jesus instead is how we can put the emphasis back where it belongs. 

He lived a full, unhurried life of divine purpose, and we can learn to do the same as we follow his example.

A Prayer 

Saviour of solitude,

Thank you for being the Lord of rest, peace and soul's ease

You knew how to draw apart and come away from things that were not fitting for you.

You took your greatest pleasure in doing the Father's will.

You encourage us to draw aside from busyness and let go of life's burdens.

To release them into your care before we come apart on the inside.

Protect us from the snares of the enemy. 

Remind us how you have already gained the victory.

May we find our deepest peace as we rest in your presence.

May we experience you best in quiet, in stillness and in calm focus on you alone.

Be our guide. Be the Light to shine The Way.

Be the One we follow, always.


Joy is a grateful grace-dweller who weaves words out of the fabric of her days, penning poetry and prose in her PJs as she seeks the poetic in the prosaic and the eternal in the temporal.

As an M.E and chronic illness sufferer, she writes with a heart for the hurting and to support and encourage others who are struggling with life and faith issues.

You can connect with her on Twitter or Google Plus and find her writing her heart out at 'Poetry Joy' and 'Words of Joy'


  1. Thanks for the reminder, Joy.

    1. You're welcome, Sue. I think I'm writing this as much for myself as anyone else! Resting physically and mentally can be hard to do even when poor health makes it a necessity. And resting in God is something we can all learn to do as a matter of faithful dependency and surrender, as well as soul urgency.

  2. I'm struggling with that too Joy. Ultimately no one else can do it for us - we have to make our own decision to 'turn our eyes upon Jesus' and then to DO it!

    1. Absolutely, Marion. It's very much a matter of deliberation and wise choices. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in struggling with this issue! Thank you for reminding us of the part we play. :)

  3. I was at a seminar about Celtic Christianity last week and there was an emphasis of solitude, silence, calm, peace and rest BEFORE we work not just 'after-if-there's-time'. Those old saints (Columba, Aidan, Ninian, etc) achieved an amazing amount but they still held to the importance of their times of silence, solitude, etc., not just daily but several times a day. Nothing new under the sun, as they say.

    1. I agree that Celtic Christianity has a lot to teach us. And I'm finding myself more and more influenced in the practice of my faith by Benedictine spirituality too. We are in danger of forgetting to tune into God when busyness descends but being at rest inwardly and centred in God's presence is a great way of staying at peace in the midst of the daily clamour. Thanks for sharing your insights, Fran.

  4. I received a card this week and at the bottom it said - Pray, Coffee, Write - It was from our own Merrilyn Williams and she's right. If we came to our work in that order, seeking God and resting first then I am sure our production would be more fruitful. Busy is not the same as productive.

    1. I like the sound of Pray, Coffee, Write, although the coffee may have to come first for me to feel awake enough to achieve the rest! I agree that Merrilyn has the right idea here. We definitely benefit from "seeking God and resting first" before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. And it's so true that being busy isn't necessarily a sign of using our time wisely. Thanks for sharing these wise insights, Tania. :)