Why Rest?

Extended Rest

Extended Rest (Photo credit: MikeVC)

For a musician, the symbol for rest on a sheet of music signals them to completely stop playing for an interval of time.  It is a period of silence that is sometimes used as a dramatic pause to draw attention to the next few stanzas, sometimes it is used as relief for the intensity of the previous stanzas, sometimes it is used when changing from one cord or instrument to another, and sometimes it is used to mark the beginning or the end of a piece.

There are several different symbols used in music to signify different periods of rest such as whole note rests, quarter note rests and eighth note rests.  Just as in music, we too have different periods and purposes of rest in our lives.  We need rest both mentally and physically in order to renew our strength, gain proper perspective on our circumstances, or prepare of a period of future intensity such as the birth of a baby, new job, new home or new relationship.

Daily Rest.  Our bodies are naturally designed for daily rest through sleep.  The amount of sleep depends on the individual, age, and circumstances of the day.  For instance, a growing newborn baby requires more sleep time than awake.  In contrast, an adult doing little physical labor may require less sleep then one engaged in daily physical labor.  When we lack sleep or lack good quality sleep, our mental and physical abilities are not at their best performance.

Weekly Rest.  However, we need more rest than our daily sleep requirement which is why one of the Ten Commandments is to honor the Sabbath.  The Sabbath is one day from sundown to sundown of complete rest, no working every week, giving praise and thanks to God.  Some celebrate this day on Saturday, some on Sunday, and some on other days of the week depending on their work schedule.  This is an essential period of rest because it rejuvenates our energy levels, aids in proper perspective of our lives, and recognizes our blessings come from God.

Yearly Rest.  But the Bible does not stop there.  There are seven other holidays commanded in the Old Testament that last for a period of seven days or one day.   Each holiday has a different purpose, significance and period of rest:

  • Passover, one day holiday reminds us of God’s deliverance from slavery;
  • Unleavened Bread, seven-day holiday reminds us that we leave the old life behind and enter a new life;
  • First Harvest, one day holiday reminds us of God’s provision for our daily needs;
  • Harvest (Pentecost), one day holiday shows joy and thanksgiving for the harvest;
  • Trumpets, one day holiday expressing joy and thanks for the new year;
  • Day of Atonement, one day holiday reminds us of our sinfulness and restores our fellowship with God;
  • Shelters, seven-day holiday renews our commitment to God, trusting in His guidance and protection.

These periods of rest are designed to be like the rest notes in a piece of music.  Each has a purpose and period of time designed to renew our strength, give thanks, restore our relationships, reflect on the past, and remember the goodness of God.

What are the holidays that you celebrate?  Are you using your vacation days every year and resting?  Are you taking out one day a week for complete rest?  Are you getting enough daily rest through sleep?  Our periods of rest as in a music sheet helps to mark the significant events of our lives, binds us together as a family and strengths our faith in God.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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Help for When You Feel Discouraged or Unsatisfied

Have you ever begun a project knowing that it was the right thing to do but everything seems to be working against you?  Without even realizing it, discouragement overtakes you and what appears to be a good idea has now been put on the back burner.  Maybe the discouragement came in the form of criticism by a loved one or in the form of diminished enthusiasm from co-workers or in the form of last-minute emergencies that consume excessive amounts of time.  Regardless of the source of discouragement, it is there and the once great project is no longer getting any of your attention.

There is a story in the Old Testament about a group of people who tried to rebuild the Temple after it was destroyed but got discouraged (book of Haggai).  Several governmental officials went out of their way to prevent the rebuilding from happening and slow the efforts of the workers.  The workers in turn got distracted with building their own houses, planting crops and tending to the day-to-day responsibilities.  The irony is that the more distracted they became, the less productive they were and consequently the less satisfied they felt.  God’s solution to the problem is outlined in the following steps.

Be Strong.  Even if others get in the way of what God has put into your heart, stay strong in your conviction.  Make sure that your conviction is from God first, but once you have the assurance, rest in it and don’t allow others to steal your joy.

Get to Work.  Re-prioritize your life and put the most important things at the top of your list.  For instance, if God is first then how much of your daily time is dedicated to Him?  If your family is second, how much of your time is dedicated to them?  Work on your priorities in the order you have them, then if there is time left over you can do the extras.

God is with you.  Even when things do not go as planned or when things seem to be bleak, God is there.  He does not put ideas on our hearts without giving us the means to carry them out.  How do you know if an idea is from God?  Test it.  It will be consistent with His word and consistent with the advice of Godly people.

He keeps His promises.  Take a moment to remember how God has kept His promises to you in the past or to others around you.  Be thankful for what He has already done and patient in waiting for His timing for the future.

Don’t be afraid.  Fear is one of our greatest enemies and can paralyze even the strongest of Christians.  We are not called to be a people of fear but rather a people of strength.  There are many Christians who have accomplished much for God, look at their lives for motivation and keep moving forward.

Discouragement can creep up in our lives without notice and can prevent us from doing what we know is the right course of action.  Once you recognize the discouragement, the steps above can help you to overcome it and return back to the work you have neglected.  The satisfaction of completing the project despite the discouragement will become a memorable event for you to recall one day.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Did You Keep Your Last Year’s New Year’s Resolution?

I did.  Not to brag, but I can truly say that not only did I keep it but it has benefited me beyond my expectations.  My last year’s resolution was daily so it involved me being active in remembering it which in turn produced daily benefits to not only my life but the lives around me.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I will be doing it again this year however with slight differences to keep it fresh and new.  What was it you ask?  It was to read the Bible, both the New and Old Testament, cover to cover in chronological order.

This is not the first time I have had this resolution, however, it was the first time that I read the Bible in chronological order which is enormously helpful to those of us who think in terms of storylines.  Many years ago, I was impressed not by a Pastor, sadly enough, but by Oprah to read the Bible cover to cover.  Her valid point was that as a Christian I should know for myself what the Bible says and be able to speak with confidence about my understanding not because someone else told me about it but because I had studied it for myself.  After all, is this not what higher education is all about?  We major in a field of study and read volumes of books coupled with lectures from those more knowledgeable than ourselves.  Yet the very book that defines Christianity and embodies the whole nature of Jesus Christ, many have never read to completion.

How sad.  I equate it to marrying only part of a person and not the whole person.  Wedding vows often include the lines, “for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health” but what if the vow only said “for richer and in health” and left out the other parts?  How is that commitment?  Anyone can be committed to the good in a marriage but it takes a person of character and conviction to be married during the “poorer and sickness”.  The same is true for studying the Bible, if we only read the parts that are easy, fun, satisfying for the moment, or applicable to our lives right now, then we miss part of who Christ is.

So, many years ago, I read the Bible cover to cover for the first time and it has rewarded me beyond my initial expectation and now I continue to read and reread it while gaining deeper understanding and wisdom well beyond my natural abilities and talents.  There are many websites to assist you with this endeavor, you can even download an APP for free “YouVersion” Bible which has many reading plans to select from.  Or here is a favorite website:  http://www.ewordtoday.com/year/.

However you choose to read the Bible, just read it.  Come with an open heart and mind to what God is saying in His word about Himself and about your life and you will be blessed.  Embrace the whole nature of Christ through the reading of His word and your relationship with Him will deepen to levels beyond your understanding.  Just as the difficult moments in your marriage fostered a deeper commitment and understanding of your spouse, so reading the difficult parts of the Bible will strengthen your faith and love of Jesus.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.