How To Rest | Spiritual Direction - The Work, J.R. Mahon

Rest is not an exercise in unplugging from the world, but the practice of being present. We are not turning off to turn on. We are living an experience with God, in that, rest becomes the awareness of love, service and provision. 

The metric for rest is rest. Not the amount of it. Our engagement with rest exists in everyday movement, intentionally understanding we are in relationship with God and that He will take care of us. Therefore, the rebellion of rest will erase time limits, restful environments and do away with the idea that doing nothing is rest. We will Instead take aim at having an experience with God. In doing so we will turn life “on” and keep it on.  We will refresh, restart, rework and restore our life’s work as we come to rebel in rest. 

Rest was never meant as an unconscious state of mind, body and spirit. God gave us rest and He was clear. When you rest, take in the act of creation, mine, yours, ours. Reflect and allow life to breed more life. Down time should reflect your dependence on God. If you wait for a break or an exhausted collapse you are placing dependence on yourself, not the Trinity. 

Your rest should never hold judgment to time or place. It should possess the wisdom of the Creator with a deep centered reflection that can allow its time to be wasted, even forgotten. It's the irony of rest. Collapsing into God can often look and feel like you are doing nothing and that's ok. Ultimately you work at rest. It is not simply a function of being down for the count waiting for the bell. It requires engagement and endurance. Seeking rest means seeking God while embracing true self; that person waiting patiently in the spiritual wings hoping you lose the persona you built while proving your worth to the world. Ignoring rest allows false self to settle its gentle grip around your throat, giving way to the disasters of identity. 

We are busy and it's hard to get any time, let alone time to rest with God… and He knows it. He knows you're busy. He sees what you see: kids, jobs, bills, social media, the desire to be loved. He’s not cloud sitting, depressed, rocking back and forth biting his giant nails worried you’ll forget Him. In fact, quite the opposite. He’s hoping to create time with you, helping you become aware that time with Him is the most rewarding, refreshing, stimulating experience of your life's work. Rest is the experience of awareness in Him. That's it! It leads to peace, joy and a big fat giant reset everytime you go in looking for His shelter in your life. 

God is right now, not locked in a different space of time saying to Jesus and Holy Spirit, “Things were different in 1620. Humans used to give us more time. They would rest, but that damn social media took them all away!” We must allow life, allow busy, allow the presence of His creation to wash over us and intentionally lose ourselves in Him during our day. Whether it's driving in traffic, sitting in the park, skiing in colorado, walking on the beach in the Caribbean, feeding the homeless, helping the widow, adopting kids, stopping the plight of heroin addiction or simply laying in bed before you close your eyes saying, “Thank you!”  It's not when to rest, it's learning to rest, every single day with every move you make, constantly checking in on His provision for our lives. It's a shift in spiritual thinking. If rest seems elusive, you're stuck in a gear that says control is reality and not illusion. Controlling rest will kill its very nature and beat faith into a submissive posture.

The practicality: 

Rest will come in many forms. Learning what intrigues you or sets your heart on fire is the goal of rest. If you are resting in traffic, be able to contemplate His presence, knowing He satisfies, fills and takes care of you. If you desire a more structured process, go for it! From centering prayer to a mountaintop retreat center, it’s olly olly oxen free! Time with the Trinity is time with the Trinity and nothing will be lost in their midst. Email me or call for help with spiritual practices. 

At the end of the day, rest is not downtime from work, social media and the busyness of life. It's the understanding that we have found everything we need with God. It can be so overwhelmingly satisfying that the busyness of life can have its cake and eat it too. No more mindless downtime, plug directly into the presence of God by simply allowing time with the maker of love. 

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J.R. Mahon