Enjoying Rest & Play
When our children ranged from infant to five years old, I wished for 30 minutes alone without worrying why they were being so quiet. These days, now that they are all adults, I wish for 30 minutes with them, just to hear them talking to each other. Last week, we traveled together to South Carolina, and I sat listening to them.
In a month, the two oldest will begin new jobs, so, six months ago, I dreamed about a trip to the beach and began asking Jesus to please work it out. Our vacation was welcomed as a gift and answered prayer, but that’s not the focus of this post. You see, after being a workaholic mom while my children were growing up, I’m trying to model a more balanced life. Learning to balance hard work with play and rest is challenging.
While I sat looking at the ocean last week, the Holy Spirit emphasized Matthew 11:28-30 over and over to me. The paraphrased words of Eugene Peterson in The Message Bible describe the rest that Jesus offers:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
The Unforced Rhythms of Grace. That phrase stood out from the rest of the verse. We find forced rhythms in the steady beat of music. But, I wanted to understand the unforced rhythms of grace.
Greg Cootsona, a contributor to the HuffPost wrote about this idea in his article, “The Science of Unforced Rhythms of Grace.” Also a drummer, he calls the unforced rhythms of life as being “in the groove,” that space where he feels the right rhythm of beats and spaces, “not too fast, nor too slow.” Drawing from psychologist and researcher Mihaly Csikzentmihaly’s book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Cootsona describes life in the groove as harmonious order, the sweet spot between too much stress and too little stress. He suggests that one way we find the groove is to stop and listen to the silence between the busy spaces of life.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote about the quiet space in our day:
“. . . the first job each morning consists simply . . . in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger life come flowing in.”See the full article at The C.S. Lewis Institute, “Reflections: Engaging the Process”
In the quiet space of life, we relax. We breath deeply. We listen. We wonder. And . . .
- Life is savored.
- People are heard.
- Nature is observed.
- God’s presence is felt.
Consider the unforced rhythms that He has created–
- a human heartbeat
- the wind
- rain falling
- ocean waves
We don’t have to take a vacation to create space in our lives. We can create more space by simply saying, “No,” to something, by doing less.
I’ve written about the invitation from Jesus to come to Him and find rest in both of my books, Led and Surrendered. You can find them here. I’ve created a video series for Surrendered, lessons from the vine and branch. You can find them here.