I believe in my heart that I don’t deserve to just rest and have fun. I feel like if I’ve worked hard or accomplished something, then I can rest. I’m sure glad God doesn’t see me the way I see myself. There remains a Sabbath rest for me.
July is often a time of vacation and rest. Not everyone has a chance to take time off, but if you do, take advantage of it.
If you can’t actually leave town, take some down time to rest as much as you can. Cancel stuff. Play. Have fun.
If you are going through a difficult time in life, this may look a lot different for you. If you can take even an afternoon to enjoy creation, take that opportunity.
If you’re a pastor, don’t schedule a lot of events in July. Give yourself and the folks a break. If you lead a small group, don’t meet this month. If you go to the gym six days a week, go four this month. If you get up at 5am, get up at 6am. (you get the idea!).
God rested on the seventh day. Jesus said that his yoke was easy, and his burden light – and he went off to the mountains alone to pray. St. Paul said that we should strive to live a “quiet and peaceable” life.
Take it easy. Rest. Recharge.
As a Rector, I felt it was important to actively encourage people to rest. We aren’t robots.
And if you feel like you don’t deserve rest, then think again. We neither deserve nor don’t deserve to rest. It isn’t that kind of thing.
Rest is normal. It doesn’t need to be earned. Its like eating food. You don’t have to earn the right to eat food. Its a human need and it’s normal. Rest is the same kind of thing. If you are waiting around to really relax until you deserve to take a day or a week off, you’ll never relax.
But keep in mind that if we tell ourselves, “RELAX!” we often can’t rest. Its just another assignment. Taking time away, like Jesus did, doesn’t always mean that we feel rested. But nevertheless, it can do good work in our souls even when we don’t feel it at the time.
This is what Jesus intended for his followers. To rest in him. And he didn’t just mean a spiritual, invisible rest. He meant that we can release our cares to him, and enjoy the world that he gave us, he created it. Enjoy the people around us, he loves them and he loves you loving them. Celebrate life, its a gift from him.
You have his permission, and that’s all you need.