Robin's Blog

The Art of Resetting: Rest

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The art of resetting must include a day of rest each week. Yes, a whole day.

It sounds luxurious in our culture, doesn’t it? One entire day a week set apart to rest our weary souls. One single day in seven when we don’t do the same things we do as we labor the other six days of the week.

That’s the secret of the Sabbath. Cease from labor. Rest. Worship. A whole day with no work, repeated fifty-two times a year. Fifty-two deliberate days of hitting reset with no guilt and no distractions.

Here’s the thing most of us have forgotten: a day of rest isn’t just a suggestion. It’s God’s command for us. His fourth commandment. “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”.

It’s as if we have been given a great, ancient secret for peace and joy hidden in plain view right there in Exodus 20:8-11. One day a week must be set apart. It is God’s provision for resetting our body, soul and spirit after the other six days of work and all other crazy-making.

I love how this sort of rest is described in Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Living in the “unforced rhythms of grace” will only happen if we obey God by taking a day of rest each week. Imagine what a fun person you’d be to be around if you weren’t stressed out and exhausted all the time.

Oh, wait. Did I say “you”? I meant me. What a fun person I’d be if I wasn’t so tired all the time. I was preaching to myself there. But if the truth happens to apply to you right now, so much the better. We can walk this path of obedience together. We’re down to only 34 more mandatory days of rest before 2016 comes rolling in. Let’s see how many of those 34 sabbath days we can use as they were intended —  34 opportunities to obey God and practice the art of resetting.

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  • Stephanie Lynne

    Thank you for this! I’m going back to the States for a short time after serving as a volunteer for 8 months. This time was not planned, but it is the perfect time for me to reset in preparation for when I return to service.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      I hope you have a great time resetting your heart and your schedule, Stephanie! Think of how much better prepared you’ll be to return if you are fully revived and restored.

  • Christy

    The New Testament NEVER states that commandment. The reason for that is because Jesus died on the cross for our sins. God gave that commandment in the Old Testament because they worshipped Him on God’s 7th day of rest in creation. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we give Him the 1st day (Sunday) and every day after that! I agree that making time to relax and reset it important. Going through life and never taking time to “stop and smell the roses” wears you down quickly.

    • Julia

      Actually, the world made this supposedly set date a Sunday. When in reality, it was actually a Saturday from the Hebrew calendar and we all know that Jesus is Hebrew.

      • Christy

        Yes he was Hebrew, but Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday. The Old Testament predicted to the day when Jesus would die and was resurrected many years before it happened. Then exactly 50 days later he ascended to Heaven. Even the apostles in the New Testament that went around to the different cities giving the Great Commission went to the gentile churches on Sundays.

  • Kris Shoemaker

    Rest is so important and it’s so easy to ignore that in our society when everything is 24-7. The Lord made our bodies and minds to work best this way. It’s just like our tithe, when we give to the Lord, He blesses. When we give our rest, He gives us extra time to get it all done.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      It’s true. The blessing is always inside the obedience, isn’t it.

  • Britt Grace

    How wonderful to know that God does not want us to be rushing around all the time but He wants us to rest! Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Casting our anxieties on Him and resting our weary bodies upon His grace pillow… into that eternal rest… :)

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      I love that thought, Britt — His grace pillow. Yes!

  • Melanie Dobson

    I love this post, Robin! Our family began deliberately (and painfully, at first) setting aside the Sabbath for rest about ten years ago, and this changed our lives. We’re not perfect about it, but we worship together as a family, eat together, read, take a nap, take a hike, play fun games. We’ve discovered that we are even more productive during our six days of work and chores, and we look forward now to Sunday (our Sabbath day) with anticipation as a retreat for all of us. Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      Hi Melanie! I’m so glad you shared this. You’re giving evidence that it IS possible to set this pace in life even when you have a growing family. Beautifully said.

  • Bekah Davis

    Hi Robin, this sounds amazing! I’d love to rest, but I feel so guilty and stressed when I do rest, because I think about all of the things that I could be doing and the things that I will need to catch up on because of my day of rest. I am a busy college student, so maybe I need to cut back on something to actually have this day of rest. I know I do not need to feel guilty because, as you said, rest is a commandment. Any thoughts on how to have rest as a college student?

    • Krisha Smith

      I know I am not Robin, but this struck a chord with me. I realized my need for rest in college. Yes, it meant cutting back on certain things, but I was still able to work and study… just with more energy. It was a frightening choice for me to give up that extra study time or those few extra hours at work, but I felt convicted on the matter. In reality, I did just as well in school because I had that day of rest to prepare me for a week of work. The secret to having that day was working diligently the rest of the week… something I was able to do after a full day of rest, worship and fun. Now, years later, I am a mom and once again struggle with taking a rest. The condition of the house is awful come Monday morning, but I still need the day to stop, rest and worship.

      • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

        I’m glad you shared this, Krisha. It’s crazy, isn’t it, the way that you end up being more productive when you take the time to rest.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      I think you nailed it when you said maybe you need to cut back. It seems that’s the only way to preserve the time. Developing this in your college years is a great way to set the pattern for the rest of your life!

    • Katie Dee

      Hey, Bekah. I often had the same problem as you, but the weeks when I made the effort to go to church, were the weeks when I was more energized and ready to tackle school. I still did homework on Sundays, but that three hour block of walking to church, worshipping, and walking home really helped me to rest my spirit and remember God. If you can find a church near the school or within easy transit, I think that would really help you, even if you only take a few hours. Remember, this may only be a short season of your life, but once you graduate, your job will replace the schooling. Like Robin said, it’s good to put the effort in now, so that when you move on to jobs, marriage, children, church won’t be an afterthought or something that can be pushed aside, but a fact of life. That makes the biggest difference in the week for me.

  • Debbie

    I would love to use those days as intended! I get so tired. More to the story….though.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      It does seem there’s always more to the story, doesn’t it? Seasons change. I hope there is a season of days of rest for you coming soon.

  • Beth Werner Lee

    This is good, the Jews are celebrating the year of rest, a seventh year. Many Christians are learning about the rest God commands also. My family growing up kept Sunday as a day of rest (no work, nor homework) because Jesus rose on a Sunday and it is called the Lord’s Day after that (in Greece today, dating from the time the epistles were written, Friday is preparation day, Saturday is Sabbath, Sunday is Lord’s day and the other days are numbered, 2,3,4,5!). In my adult life, my husband now becoming a pastor, we try to keep Saturday Sabbath and Sunday worship and outreach.

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      Great added insights, Beth. Thanks for posting this.

  • Rachel Barsha

    How do I do that as the mom of a newborn?! I know I’m guilty of not resting like I should, but now that Emma is here, I don’t know even know how to do that!

    • http://RobinGunn.com/ Robin Jones Gunn

      It will look different in every season but the foundational principle is always the same. Rest.

  • Renette Steele

    some times in life GOD helps us rest. by retirement and taking responsibilities away, a breaking of ties if you will. this is a tome to draw nearer and listen for your next assignment in life. i find my self there now and the rest period has been a long one but i can see where GOD has been using this time to prepare us for the future. (last 7 years running a church camp for 4 years taking care of an ailing parent)yet cutting other ties so we would be available to do what needed done for Him. Rest in Him and be open to what He has for you.

    • Kristen

      Thanks for this post Renette. Ive been struggling with a few things this weekend and your thoughts about GOD forcing me to rest have helped me see things in a new light. Im also now seeking to rest in Him and be open to what he has install for my Future. GOD bless.

  • Kristin

    Love it – thank you.

  • Jeanette

    I just remembered an old saying, “A month of Sundays.” In this context, that makes sense. But we only take a month of rest when we are seriously ill or recuperating from surgery. I’m glad God wants us to rest more than just when
    it is forced upon us.