The art of slumber

Practicing rest

We went to Italy for vacation not too long ago, and it was fantastic. We decided that, after the extremely trying 18 months we’ve had as a family, we deserved a wonderful time away, but we waited on pins and needles until the day we went since we heard friends’ flights had been cancelled, so I don’t take the fact that we were able to go on vacation at all for granted.

Even after an hour of waiting on the runway, we were told that the airplane was unable to take off. My dad hadn’t been out of the country in a long time (he had been my mother’s caretaker up until she passed away just before the epidemic arrived), but we made it to the quirky and magnificent villa that my husband had discovered, surrounded by gorgeous Umbrian countryside.

Whenever I go on vacation, one of my favorite things to do is to sit down on the first day with a stack of guidebooks and figure out what we’re going to do for the next several days. This time around, I was so exhausted that I did nothing except relax and read while my husband, who did an excellent job of planning, took the reins.

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Though I enjoy helping others when I can, I found it difficult to assist him in narrowing down the locations he had highlighted due to the exhaustion that had seeped into my very soul. I knew that I needed to give my mind and spirit complete rest, so I made that a priority.

The Lord is My Courage, by K. J. Ramsey (Zondervan), which my daughter and I have been reading together, takes a short phrase from each line of Psalm 23 as the title and focus of each chapter while grappling with the big issues of suffering and spiritual abuse, and this is a message that has been coming through loud and clear from many different sources.

The last Sunday of our “summer in the Psalms” series, my husband preached on the need of taking time to recharge. Many of my recent chats with friends have centered on the need of striking a balance between work and relaxation. Over the course of this summer, I have frequently prayed to God and responded, “Yes, I am listening!!

As we begin a new semester, I anticipate facing new obstacles and allocating more of my time and attention to new endeavors. It’s crucial that we make time each day to pause, reflect, and commune with God in whichever way works best for us.

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We endanger not just our spiritual, but also our physical, and mental well-being if we forego sleep. I don’t want you to misunderstand me, but I’ve seen it happen to people I care about and seen it in the Bible that God allows certain illnesses to’make us lie down in green pastures’ when we need rest (one friend kept being given Psalm 23 before she had an operation and even found that her hospital room was painted green!).

Because our God is a kind and compassionate Father who understands our need for rest, I want to gently encourage you as we enter the month of September to make rest a priority this semester.

My husband’s sermon challenged me by bringing up the fact that the Jewish week traditionally begins with the Sabbath, which is marked with a special meal eaten at sunset on Friday evening. In his words, “our weeks normally begin with the Monday morning alarm clock ringing; we work like wild through the week, then collapse at the weekend… With their schedule, you may avoid starting your day exhausted and instead go right to work.

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And he said, “I’m starting my week with a meal then sleep — safe in the knowing that God’s got this coming week!” This is a significant declaration of faith in God, he said, and the Sabbath is a great way to express that trust. Can we really put it that way? As we begin this new academic year, let us not forget that we may trust in his protection.

Claire Musters writes at clairemusters.com and works as a writer, speaker, and editor. Her newest publications are Grace-Filled Marriage and Every Day Insights: Disappointment and Loss. The latter was co-authored with her husband, and it features a set of free films that may be viewed in conjunction with the book via the Big Church Read website. Claire hosts the Woman Alive Book Club and contributes to and edits for Premier Woman Alive and Christianity publications.

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My Passion for The Gospel bought about this great Platform.. I love to share the Good News. That's my PASSION. I don't believe the Gospel should be boring. Nobelie is so exclusive. You won't find what we offer any where else. You ask a friend.
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My Passion for The Gospel bought about this great Platform.. I love to share the Good News. That's my PASSION. I don't believe the Gospel should be boring. Nobelie is so exclusive. You won't find what we offer any where else. You ask a friend.

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