Rest is a continuation of Breathe, as Keri expands on the topic of observing the Sabbath. I've gained a lot from her practical insight into how the Sabbath can look and feel different for each family, but yield the same benefit.
When we rest, for a day or just for a few moments, we are free to love and to notice the needs of others, needs which often are not material but spiritual. And in a divine paradox, when we meet others' spiritual needs, our own are mystically and supernaturally met as well.
When we spend a day resting, focused only on loving God and loving others, we experience the presence of Jesus in simple things. We experience peace, the sacredness of the ordinary.
Why is it so hard for us to rest? Perhaps because we're convinced that we have to knock ourselves out to please others, and even God. Yet Keri points out
That lie, that if we are busy, we must be important, is what drives much of our frantic activity. The Sabbath command reminds us of our value but also warns us not to put our faith in our accomplishments.
God knows...that we tend to think too highly of ourselves, that we tend to think our value lies in our accomplishments. That we believe way too much in our own indispensability. That we make ourselves God.
How, then, do we rest? In an interview for Rest, Keri gives great tips:
Q. What are some simple steps anyone can take to seek Sabbath Simplicity in their own lives?
A. The first step is to assess the current pace of your life—what activities have you and the people you live with said yes too. How hurried are you? You can’t figure out your next step, really, until you know where you are starting from. You may have to get very concrete and write down your schedule and look at it. Because your activity level during the week is going to affect your Sabbath.
Second, choose a day that you will keep Sabbath. I recommend Saturday or Sunday, and go from sunset to sunset. The Old Testament Sabbath was from sunset on the 6th day of the week to sunset on the 7th day—although as I explain in detail in the book, their ancient calendars were different from ours.
Third, choose one thing to refrain from, one thing to engage in. For example, refrain from housework or running errands, and engage in reading a spiritually challenging book, or playing with your kids. Start with small steps, and think about building your Sabbath Simplicity life a little at a time, gradually. After a few weeks, add another thing you will refrain from, and another thing you’ll engage in. Pray and listen, let God shape your Sabbath practice. Make your relationship with him the focus. Allow yourself flexibility.
Although I've taken great strides in observing the Sabbath during the past year, Keri brought points to mind I hadn't thought of. I'm so glad I've read Rest to help me in this journey!
Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity is available at bookstores everywhere, and on-line. Click here to purchase it from amazon.com or here to purchase from christianbook.com. BUT, one blessed reader will have a chance to win the book here! Just leave me a comment and let me know why you'd like to read Rest. (make sure I have an email address if you're a no-reply commenter), and we'll draw for the book on Wednesday!