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Bella and the Spiritual Practice of Rest

Bella had read a fair bit about resting and Sabbath; she had jumped on the wagon and jumped off – experienced the blessing and forgot the blessing. One thing was becoming increasingly clearer and that was how one spiritual practice can really connect to another one in wonderfully surprising ways. For Bella, practicing silence in community was impacting her ability to embrace rest. The typical forward motion that she was so familiar with was losing its grip and being exposed for the striving that it was.


She read what The Spiritual Disciplines book said about rest and listened for what stood out to her.

From the book:

Lack of adequate rest can ruin our families, damage our souls, even kill us. When we burn the candle at both ends, we

· Lose sight of what we enjoy in our work

· Find even the thing we enjoy doing become a chore

· Fail to give people the gift of our attention and presence

· Impair our ability to hear God’s voice and discern His movement in our lives

· Become obsessive about the to-do list

· Lose touch with the human limits that are meant to keep us in touch with God


Adele Calhoun (the author) goes on to say:

It can be hard to tell the truth about our human capacity and limits because few of us want to accept the losses that come with this truth. We can’t say yes to everything. We can’t go everywhere and see everyone. We can’t have it all. We aren’t indispensable. We are finite beings who need rest. And that is not a bad thing. It is a Godlike thing.

God created us in his image. He is a God who works and then rests. When we rest we honour the way God made us. Rest can be a spiritual act – a truly human act of submission to and dependence on God who watches over all things as we rest.


Adele goes into piercing questions:

What is your alternative to work? Is it rest, or is it a different kind of work (work around the house or in the yard)? Is doing finances, cleaning a closet or working out your alternative to work? Can you ever stop producing and let down? Honestly, where does rest fit in? Rest is a radical thing in our day and age. It reminds us that we are human beings, not human doings. We are meant to live sane lives that partake of a deep and playful holy leisure. There is enough time in each day for all that God requires of us. And part of what He requires is rest. So settle in and breathe deeply of His gift of rest.


Out of all this that Bella read, one line especially stood out to her: When we burn the candle at both ends, we lose touch with the human limits that are meant to keep us in touch with God.


She had never thought of it this way! Being in touch with her limits are meant to keep her in touch with God. That made total sense. Bella loved being in touch with God and if humbly admitting her humanity helped with that, she was all for it.


She thought about what brought her rest and let herself dream about the answers:

· Laying in a hammock by the water

· Having a spontaneous nap in the living room on a day when the summer breezes blew through the window or the falling snow piled up outside

· Getting a cup of tea and going back to bed in the morning with a good book

· Floating on an air mattress on the lake or in the pool, with her face turned up to the sun

· Shopping for flowers

· Picnicking with the grandkids on an early fall day by the river, drinking hot soup

· Riding her lime green bike with the wicker basket along a trail

· Rocking a tired baby, with their hair damp on her arm and eyelashes closed in peace

· Sitting out on the back porch in the evening with candles lit, drinking warm almond milk with maple syrup and cinnamon


Just thinking and remembering these simple but restful practices brought joy and peace to her heart. To think that God smiled on these simple activities…that He wanted her to have these times…drew her close to His steadfast love. And closer to accepting her humanity.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez-Unsplash

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