The Rest of God…Oxymoron at Christmas?

Years ago we lent my mom a book entitled, “When I Relax I Feel Guilty” by Tim Hansel.  She returned it a year later saying she was sorry she just hadn’t found time to read it.  Love that woman!  But why do I tell you this?

Well at the end of each year, my husband, John and I spend some time looking back, re-reading our journals.  In addition to helping us notice the faithfulness of God, and helping us pay attention to the stuff He’s been trying to teach us, we are also reminded of good books we’ve read.

One of the best books we read was called The Rest of God about Sabbath by Mark Buchanan.  I thought during this busy, stressful season it might be helpful to rememeber what impacted me almost a year ago.  Here’s some of what I wrote…(can you relate?)

I think John does a good job of living a balanced life – working hard, maintaining appropriate boundaries, making time for recreation.  Me?  Not so much.  But I’m trying.

Buchanan writes, “In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest we miss the rest of God: the rest He invites us to enter more fully so that we might know Him more deeply…Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness…both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart…

Sabbath imparts the rest of God – actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God – the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness…”

For me, technology blurs the lines. For a true Sabbath day that is distinctly sacred (set apart), I need to unplug.

When I do, I’m reminded of 2 things:

  1. I’m not God and the world won’t stop spinning if I’m unplugged (how sad is THAT – needing to be reminded-but I’m guessing I’m not alone). God’s got the God thing covered and doesn’t need me.
  2. I’m not defined by my roles, or titles, or responsibilities. I am a beloved child of God and that’s enough.

Mark Buchanan writes that when we don’t Sabbath we’re in danger of letting ourselves be “consumed by the things that feed the ego but starve the soul.” 

The rest of God is a challenge to embrace in “normal” seasons of life!  Have we made it impossible at Christmas by adding so much busyness on top of our regular commitments?  Instead of a “to do” list, do we need a “not to do” list?

What about you?  Does the idea of Sabbath seem like a generous gift or an irritating interruption?

I really would like to know (if you have a minute)

4 thoughts on “The Rest of God…Oxymoron at Christmas?

  1. Your thoughts have stopped me in my tracks. I feel so busted! 🙂 This part specifically hit me:
    Mark Buchanan writes that when we don’t Sabbath we’re in danger of letting ourselves be “consumed by the things that feed the ego but starve the soul.” Why is it that I feel like taking a Sabbath is an indulgence even though I feel restored and wonderful afterwards? I think I’ve created a monster. Definitely time to re-evaluate this piece of my life. Once again, I’m grateful for your thoughts. I can’t change the past but I have today and onwards! Thank you Laura.


  2. The world is spinning so fast it deceives me into believing I must hurry. Hurry to accomplish a list of tasks which leads to? A hope checks on a list will bring peace & encouragement to my soon to arrive complex & complicated family. Yikes! It never has in the past. Why then do I continue to try harder? Hmmm –
    A “not to do list” I love the idea! God can bring the peace & encouragement this year. Resting in the hope of the world, a gift. Merry Christmas.


  3. I love your posts. I always feel so encouraged by them. Thanks for your honesty and integrity. I try really hard to not have a to do list, unlike what I would like to have. Christmas is such a busy time. I pray that we all can settle into the awesomeness of God. The idea of a Sabbath seems both like a generous gift and an irritating interruption. I have seen it both ways this year. I understand both sides and desire to seek my Sabbath rest filled with His gift.


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