Renewal Through A Quiet Place And Rest

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Jesus – Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Is it just me or does life seem to be adding more noise to your life? Does it feel like all your energy is depleted trying to keep up with the demands of work and perhaps the commitments outside of work?

Today, many Americans might describe their lives like a rat caught in a wheel – never stopping, always moving, going around in circles, wondering when it will stop, considering whether or not it’s worth it or not. The pressures we find ourselves in can seem unending. Work requires more of your time and attention. You are in an endless pursuit of more trying to keep up with those around you. You are trying to provide the very best for your family – best college experience, best home, best exposure to the world.

Soon the more, better, faster, wealthier, sooner, and so on becomes so normal that we don’t know how to stop. We don’t remember what it means to experience real quiet and real rest in our lives.

I know it is true for many of you, because it is true for me.

In my year of renew, this could be one of the most important revelations. In order to experience the renewal I truly need, I must learn to seek out quiet places in my life and to relearn how to rest.

I’m on the go. I operate on minimal (probably unhealthy) levels of sleep. When I do finally find a few minutes at the end of the day to sit down, I too often rely on the screen on the wall of my family room (the television) to provide a break. While this is okay in moderation, it is not really providing the renewal my mind and body need. I quickly fall asleep at night out of exhaustion, but I often find myself awake at two o’clock in the morning as my mind processes the events of the past day or tries to solve the challenges I know I will face in the day ahead. This kind of sleep is not restful.

This weekend, Leanne and I got away to a bed and breakfast in the Delaware Water Gap in northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s just what I needed. It certainly is a quiet place. With over two feet of snow on the ground and no other places in site, it provided the perfect place to get away from the noise I typically face. It provided a place to rest – going to bed early, waking up late, and taking it easy for the first part of the day. I found rest.

I need to do this again!

Our reality doesn’t necessarily afford the opportunity to get away like this every weekend, so we must learn to find quiet places and rest in our every day. Here are some ideas to get you (and me) started:

  1. Turn off the notifications. You don’t need to know everything right away. In fact, many of the messages that pop up on our phones aren’t necessary. They only add to the noise in our lives.
  2. Get outside. Go for a walk. Sit on an outside bench. Do something that takes you away from the distractions of your devices or your chores at home. In a way, my daily steps discipline has often provided some of the quiet and rest I need every day.
  3. Schedule quiet and rest time on your calendar. If you are like me, my calendar is often filled by others demanding my time. In order to ensure I get some quiet time, I must learn to schedule it. I must also learn to take advantage of my out of office assistant that alerts others of my current unavailability. It’s okay, people can either wait for me to return or they can contact my delegate. Even a ten or fifteen minutes slot on your calendar for quietness or rest can make a huge difference in your ability to experience daily renewal.
  4. Find quiet and rest with someone else. A weekend away with your spouse or with a couple of friends can provide the refreshment and renewal you need and the connection you need with your spouse or friend. It doesn’t have to be a weekend or a long period of time. Invite a friend to go on a hike with you for an hour or two.
  5. Give yourself permission to take a break. It’s going to be okay. Your work, your commitments, and your responsibilities will be there when you get back. I’ve written about the importance of regular sabbaths before. You and I need regular sabbaths in our lives. The concept of sabbath was made for you and me to find the regular renewal we need. Learn to practice sabbath – hourly, daily, weekly – in your life. You deserve a break today!

Slow down. We are moving too fast. We’ve got to make our lives matter. We were meant for so much more than the noise and exhaustion we have come to know in our lives. We were meant for opportunities to find a quiet place, to find rest, to find connection with others and with our God.

Go find a quiet place and discover rest!

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.”