Rest and Reflect

Good afternoon all.  Another whirlwind weekend has come and gone.  I am sorry I did not get this out yesterday as I was recovering from apparent food poisoning on Saturday.  Now I must figure out when to mow my tall grass lawn before I leave for camping in a few days.

I am sitting here at my desk looking forward to a very long weekend camping trip about 2 hours from home.  I have been camping over Memorial Day weekend for over 25 years with the same friends and family.  The kids have moved on with their lives, but the adults are still getting together.  Not everyone camps any more, but everyone still shows up on Saturday for a potluck dinner.  We will have around 20 people around the campfire sharing stories about our lives, our kids and grandkids and building upon decades of friendships.  Then we will do it again over Labor Day weekend.  If you are in the Deep Creek MD area, you are welcome to join us.

I usually get there first and set up my camper.  Although the friendships and conversations are great, I really enjoy the alone time in the woods before the others arrive.  My stress level goes down considerably, and I can listen to God much more effectively.  For 10 years I drove a crazy number of miles each week for my job and had many hours each day to listen to God.  Now, I must go camping to get away.  I plan to read, walk (now that my knees are better), take naps, and listen to nature all around me.  (Who knows maybe a bear or two!)  During this time, I plan to intentionally be quiet and listen to God.  I may play some music for a short time, but mainly just enjoy the sounds of the woods.

For 28 years in my first career, I worked crazy hours, and never stopped.  I saw it as a badge of honor to work 70-80-90-100 hour weeks.  But I never slowed down.  I know there were many things I missed along the way. I cannot go back, but I can look forward and find opportunities to step away from the stress of life and enjoy each day.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed.  My biggest stress reliever is spending time on my boat with friends.  It is not quiet, it is not always peaceful, but it provides a relief for me like nothing else.  I plan to be on the boat later in June through October.  If you are in Pittsburgh, contact me and we can go out on the three rivers and enjoy the boat and the water.

You may not be able to go camping this weekend but make time in your week to step back from work, school, and stressful demands. Since Christ has freed us, we no longer have to be obsessively driven. Take a walk, play, nap, meet up with friends, share a meal, or just take some time in solitude.

On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day

and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” (Genesis 2: 2, 3)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 28)

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements

of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2: 27)

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.

In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30: 15)

Ideas for Action: Vacation time may not be available as much as we would like, but we have the Sabbath that has been provided as a model for us to slow down and rest and reflect.   Can you make your Sunday more of a Sabbath day of rest for you and your family? Connect with God using worship music. Unplug from the devices for part or all of the day. Seek the joy of the Lord in Creation. Eat a meal together. Be silent with God and pray. Prioritize wholeness and rejuvenation in Christ.