"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

06 April 2014

All Work and No Play?

photo courtesy of pinterest

As moms of teens and wives of busy husbands and women in the workforce and ministry, we are BUSY.  We know how to work. We have the work thing down pretty good.  Or at least we should.

But do we know how to play?  Do we know how to really take a rest?  Do we know how to be in a quiet place with our Lord and Savior? 

do we even want to?

This post is a summary of the small group meeting held in my home last week.  I had a couple of women miss it and it's too bad because the discussion and study was excellent, timely, and well......important. Because, sadly, not enough women...Christian women, really understand the concept of a Sabbath.  Of a rest.  Like God did after creating the world.  Like Jesus did after he ministered to thousands. Like Jesus commanded his disciples (and thus, us) to do.  To go away to a quiet place and rest.

The lesson (#4) was titled "balancing work and rest".  It is taken from the Women of Faith Study book Living a Life of Balance (see sidebar)

  • I opened the meeting up with prayer which really set the tone for the evening.  Everyone seemed glad that we started like this.  It will be the way we begin from now on, rather than ending with prayer.
  • I then asked each woman to quickly (don't think too long about it) answer the question "If you had free time, what is something you would love to do?"  or "What do you do when you have free time?"  They had to reply in a one-word answer. I, of course, said "hike".  Other answers were "deck-sit", "hobby" (do it yourself projects), "read" and ...yes...one woman actually said "organize" (and no, it wasn't me again!)  Apparently, to her, organizing helps her relax.
  • I then passed around the "Treasure Trinket" and told them that rather than looking for plastic ants like the book suggested (based on Proverbs 6:6), I laminated a photo of a robin sitting on a nest.  I told the women to think about whether the picture was showing the robin at work or at rest.  the answer would be revealed towards the end of the discussion.

  •  Resting in God is something very dear to my heart....i have a real passion for it.  I think it is something more American women need to do, especially in today's culture.  I am not talking about being lazy and doing nothing.  (although there is a time for that). I am talking about resting IN HIM.  Getting to know Jesus more intimately involves spending more time with Him.  I talked about how when those of us went through labor at the end of our pregnancies (labor means work) that we were working so hard...our bodies, minds and souls were working.  Yet we were focused on the end product so could stand the "pain" of work.  After that baby was placed on our tummies or in our arms (we have a couple of women who have never experienced labor....they adopted, but they were still "working" towards an end product...having that moment with a precious baby) ....after that work, came a much needed rest.  Even when nursing our baby at the breast (or giving him a bottle if you adopted), you were working yet also resting. It is fascinating to think about.

  • We then discussed Question #2 which centered around the Lord's commandment (and discussed by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3:10) that if we don't work, we won't eat!  This started in the Garden of Eden.

but....God also commands us to rest!!  To take a Sabbath (which just means "rest").  God was our first example of this. After He created our world, He took a day of rest.  A Sabbath.  I briefly discussed that our Sabbath does not necessarily mean it has to be on a Sunday.  A Sabbath is whatever day of rest you designate. We don't need to be legalistic about it.

I did take this question a step further and shared about how we do need a time of recreation or rest to simply refresh our bodies, minds, and souls.  Resting in Jesus is an intimate act.  I suggested to the moms that if they have never rested with a journal, the Bible or their notebook, to just start doing that.  Carve out a time to just "rest in the Lord".  It doesn't mean doing prayer intercession but it does mean talking with God in your spirit. It doesn't mean working on the Bible study or browsing devotionals on the computer or other electronic devices.  It means going to a place of retreat, whether it's in the woods on a hike, a rock by a lake, your front porch, or your back deck.  It could even be on your couch or sitting on your bed.  Get quiet with the Lord somewhere.  And read or meditate on a Scripture.  Then journal what He speaks to your heart.  Save it. And look back to see how God is working in your life.  Spending TIME with God is resting in Him.

  • We discussed practical ways we can find the balance between work and rest....between work and play.  Work is good for us....we have gifts and abilities that God has given to us.  We are commanded to cultivate those gifts and use them for His purposes.  That is why we work. We can be a shining light and bring the Source of Light to our workplace whether it's in ministry, in the career/job market, or in the home as a housewife/mother.

  •  BUT...we also need to rest.  Not enough of us build rest time into our days....I shared how I do it. I simply come home from work and take a few minutes (sometimes it is only 10 min) before switching roles from special educator to wife/mom/taxi driver, cook, house manager.  If you keep a calendar or day-timer, mark off the important chores, etc.  Clean one room a night after work so it all doesn't pile up on the weekends.  After work, do a quick errand on the way home to again free up your weekend.  Schedule play time!!  Seriously...if you don't schedule some free time with your husband, or child, or just yourself, it simply won't happen.  I schedule hikes...I carve out time on weekends during the school year to either go to the library or do something outside.  In the summer it is easier....but I still get it on the calendar. This way, if the weather doesn't cooperate, you still have that chunk of time to do something else that is restful...that takes you on a "retreat".  It doesn't have to be a women's retreat or a lunch date.  In fact, it is best that it is something you have a passion for...a hobby. Schedule time with just YOU.  We need alone time to refresh, recharge and renew.  This should be happening once a week.....or at least once every couple of weeks.  You are the one who needs to make it happen.  By doing so, you will be following Christ's example.  He told the disciples in Mark 6:31 to go to a quiet place by themselves!!  He also had to. This was after a time of much serving.  Jesus worked. And then He went away to a quiet place.

  • We briefly discussed that rest is not wasted time.
  • We briefly summarized the various Proverbs found in #6.  We are to be diligent in our work.  We are to be diligent in our rest.
This brings balance!

  • We discussed #7 by summarizing that above everything....above work, and play, we need to be guarding our hearts.  This is also a commandment.

photo courtesy of pinterest
 This is a warning given to us from God.  In everything we do, we need to be guarding our hearts.  Everything flows from our hearts.....the best way to do this is to stay in the Scriptures....read the Word of God daily, work according to His purpose and plan for your life...and take time to rest.

By applying all of these principles, you will find the balance between work and play. 

I briefly spoke about teaching these concepts to our teenagers as well.  They also need to learn the balance between work and rest, especially once they are in college.

  • We wrapped up our discussion by sharing/summarizing what the various "Dig Deeper" Scriptures meant to us.  A couple of the women shared their thoughts on 2 Corinthians 8:7 and 2 Peter 1:5 and I shared on Romans 12:11 

photo courtesy of all about God website

We need to value Christ above all else....whether we are working or resting, our faith will be built up....staying in the Word, keeping our zeal for God and for the work He has placed before us will strengthen our souls.  Resting in Him will continue to bring intimacy with Him.

Are you all work and no play?

Or are you always resting/playing and not doing the work set before you?  

Look at the robin on the nest.....Is she working or resting?

The answer is BOTH.  She is "Working" because she is sitting on the eggs waiting for those babies to hatch.  Robins work hard to build their home and then work until that end product:  baby robins.  

But she is also at rest....she is just sitting...resting in the knowledge that good things will happen.

Be blessed today......find the balance between work and play.  Your soul, mind and body will be in balance the way God wants it to be.

as will all posts under the Small Group/Got Teens?! label, you do have permission to print this out/copy.


Deb said...

This is a great post about a subject near and dear to my heart. I love my Sundays and am trying more and more to make the Sabbath a day set apart to rest and renew and spend time with God. Thanks and do have a good Sabbath Day.

Faith said...

Oops....sorry readers. I will have the photo of the robin up tomorrow!!!

Susanne said...

What a great study. There is so many good things in there to think on. In this day and age, we almost feel guilty if we pause to rest. I loved your question do we know how to be in a quiet place with our Lord and Savior?