Remember the Sabbath

God worked. We are to work. God rested. We are to rest.

(Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality)

Amid construction paper projects and figuring out how subtraction supposedly functioned, my childhood school day was dappled with monkey bars, swing sets, slides, a wide-open field, and huge shady trees. Recess! At some blessed point in educational history, brilliant grownups decided it would be cruel and unusual punishment (for both teachers and students) to not allow children a regular mental and physical break.

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Hearing Voices

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on January 15, 2020. You can find it here.)

“Who do we become when we stop allowing all the voices in our head to crowd out the one voice we must hear to come to life?”

(Erwin McManus)

I find deep beauty in the hush that falls over my heart and home after the holiday chaos has ebbed. Décor is stowed until next year, surfaces are reordered, and a gentle blanket of silence fills the previously riotous internal and external spaces of life. 

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In Returning and Rest

She was never alone—the questions kept her constant company.

You know those questions that latch onto you and refuse to let go? The ones that, despite their simplicity, bump around in your brain during the early hours or while you’re in the carpool line? 

For the past year, I’ve been haunted by this ponderance: what does it mean to just sit and be loved by God?

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Summer Heat Soul Retreat

With the heap of hype about self care currently rumbling around the interwebs, it’s no wonder our culture is dumping such enormous amounts of time, effort, and money into internal investment.

Okay, that’s theoretical. Let’s make it personal. In the last month, how much time have you spent on investing in yourself/your family:

  • physically (grooming, exercise, doctor visits, healthy meal planning/shopping/cooking, etc.)
  • emotionally (formal counseling, playing, visiting with friends, etc.)
  • mentally (reading books/blogs/articles, taking classes, etc.)
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The Well-Tended Garden

Self-care has been weighing on my mind like a quick-ripening fruit recently. John Ortberg’s Soul Keeping and The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner sit dog-eared nearby. Small pockets of peace wait around my home—a facial mask, some doodling pens, the Bible study I’m loving entirely too much to not be considered a nerd. Bits of beauty scattered throughout my space and schedule. I used to think the whole “me time” thing was for weenies with lame theology and weak wills. (Grace abounds, friends, even for this brand of self-righteousness.) The longer I’m in ministry, though, the more crucial tending my own heart feels to me.

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(Re)treat Yo Self

“When you work, Jesus rests. When you rest, Jesus works.”

Jack Frost

A clean house. Zero responsibilities. No drama. Remember the part in How the Grinch Stole Christmas where his “small heart grew three sizes that day?” That’s how I felt during my first ever personal retreat earlier this week. I’ll give you a rundown so that you can plan out your own staycation. (If you can’t do it in the next month, maybe soon after the chaos of the holidays has ebbed?) When we begin to see time for personal care as an investment rather than a waste, sabbath can move back into our schedules—and with it, the renewed energy, joy, and peace that result from doing life God’s way.

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Strength in Weakness

Liar, liar, pants on fire! (Some random line about a telephone wire…)

Kids chant about obvious falsehood, tiny truth radars built into their DNA. They can often spot a lack of genuine character a mile away. Sadly, though, we grow out of our ability to quickly spot lies around us, and nowhere is the resulting damage more significant than in our souls. There is a liar out to get us, prowling around seeking whom he may devour. Inattentive hearts are easy prey for him.

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The Bungalow

See: Soft floral linens being lifted and spread over a comfortable mattress in the corner; whitewashed wooden planks underfoot; the dying evening light filtered through palm trees and wavy-glass windowpanes; a bouquet of greenery spilling over onto the counter; flickering shadows cast by a cheerful fire; candles and lanterns strategically placed throughout the loft; books stacked next to a plush sofa; an easel with paints and canvas standing ready next to the window

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Take a Breather

The worst words to my 7-year-old ears: “It’s naptime!” Oh, how I would cringe and move dejectedly to the absurd halting of my fun. My little brother and I would put away our toys or books or costumes and climb up into the arms of oblivion. Dumb bed. When I grow up, I’m never going to take naps!

How the times have changed. Even as soon as high school, I was eager for an extra rest in the afternoon. I’m sorry I was so mean to you, sweet naptime. Can we be friends?

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