January 19, 2009

Rest by Keri Wyatt Kent

If you've read this, this, or this...you know that Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life has been a big life-changer for me. I was beside myself when the author herself, Keri Wyatt Kent left a comment on my blog one day. (I was pleasantly surprised to see that Keri has a blog.) She asked if I'd be interested in reviewing an advanced copy of her latest book, Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity. I jumped at the chance.

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!


Leah said...

I would love to win this book as it's something I have struggled with for a LONG time! I even wrote a letter to our church deacons several years ago, stating both how I felt and what the Bible said about Sabbath. Seems like nowadays, Sabbath (Sunday, for us) is used for either catching up on all we didn't accomplish during the week, or planning ahead and trying to get a jump-start on the coming week. Aaahhh!!!

Maybe I'll see if that letter is still on my computer and email it to you to see if you feel any of the same things.....

Heather C said...

This is the second time I've seen this book mentioned this week, so I think the Lord must be trying to tell me something. :) My word for this year is "Diligent", and I hear Him calling me to be diligent in all aspects of my life. This is one area that could certainly use extra personal care and attention. Please enter me in the drawing! :)



Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

Ooh...pick me!

I want to read it because:

I love the idea of Sabbath.
I love to read.
I trust your judgement.
And I love free books!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Nice review and equally nice site. (I don't think I need a copy of the book though; I read and reviewed it on my site recently).

Lisa Spence said...

Pick me! Pick me!