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Are you tired? Worn out?

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by Jamie Roach

How are you? Not “how are you doing?”. How are you? What is the current condition of your soul? Perhaps you find yourself relating to the words of Bilbo Baggins, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
Parenting is hard work. If you aren’t exhausted most of the time, you are not doing it right. When you add a global pandemic to the mix and an extremely polarized election year, you have a recipe for extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression. What are overwhelmed and exhausted parents to do? I want to suggest we accept Jesus’ invitation:
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. (Matthew 11:28 The Message)  
Jesus’ invitation is one of connection. We have become disconnected from ourselves, God and one another. Jesus invites us to get away with him and rediscover ourselves, God and each other. The following is an excerpt from “The Dismantling of Illusion” written by good friend, mother and pastor Kara Root:

And when we go back to the Ten Commandments and look at the ways God said that life works best, right between how we’re to be connected with God and how we’re to be connected with each other, we find this big, strange Sabbath command, which we’re used to just kind of skipping over but which is a key to the whole thing, because it basically says:

You are going to keep disconnecting from me — the source of your life — and from each other, your sisters and brothers in this life. Instead of wholeness, you will keep choosing brokenness; instead of life, you’ll keep choosing death.

You can’t help it.

You are going to keep thinking this is all about what you can earn or prove or buy or win, so you’ll keep seeing each other as competition and threat and burden and obstruction.

That is the way of fear. The way of sin. The way of slavery and death.

But the reality is, you are free. The reality is, you already belong to me.

The reality is, I have all you need; I am all you need. I am a God of abundance and joy, and hope and rest, and peace and enough.

And so, because you are going to keep on forgetting this, here’s my big suggestion to help you remember. Ready? Every single week, I want you to stop.

Just stop.

For one whole day every seven or so, step off the ride.

Stop measuring and comparing and worrying and working.

Stop judging and competing and producing and buying and trying to win.

Just stop. All of you.

Rest.

Shut it down.

Come back to real life.

It’s enough. You are enough. I am enough for you.

I am your God. You are my people.

This whole world belongs to me, and I am not letting go.

Remember that.

And I know that if you stop, if you rest like I rest, if you celebrate like I celebrate, if you wake up from your angry and hectic stupor and raise your head and see the world, this beautiful world, and if you look at each other truly, without the screen between you and the to-do list in front of you and the wariness within you, and if, instead of the noise of the pressing world and all its violent, vying agendas pounding in your ears, you listen to the silence, and the pause, and the air, and birds and children and heartbeat and tears and laughter and dreams and sighing, you will remember.

You won’t be able to help but remember.

You’ll breathe again.

You’ll come back into the kingdom of God, back to your home in me.

You’ll see again that I am right here. That life is a gift.

That instead of living chronically fearful and anxious, there is so much to be thankful for, and so much to delight in.

You’ll care for each other and share with each other and be again my people, and I will be your God, because it’s how I’ve made it all to be in the first place, and how it will all be again in the last.

This is the reason for Sabbath.

It is one of God’s strategies for helping us come back into the kingdom of God, where we all belong to God and we all belong to each other, where we are not the ones holding the reins — God is.

Ways to practice Sabbath:

  1. Go for a long walk in creation and notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch
  2. Read poetry
  3. Listen to your favorite music
  4. Take a long hot bath
  5. Paint, draw, dance, sing, compose
  6. Spend unhurried time with someone who loves you and makes you feel safe
  7. Meditate
  8. Do yoga
  9. Sit in silence for 10 minutes
  10. Play with a child
  11. Smell a freshly cut bouquet of flowers
  12. Take a nap
Practicing Sabbath is a bold declaration of one’s trust in God. As we cease our constant striving, we discover God is fighting for us. As we “let go”, we discover the One who has been holding us. So if you are feeling tired and worn out, stop. Rest and allow the God who loves you to hold you and see if you don’t begin to recover the life you’ve lost.

About Kara Root:

Kara K. Root is the pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, a Christian community that shapes its life around worship, hospitality and Sabbath rest. She is a trained spiritual director and certified Christian Educator in the PCUSA. Root has written for publications including Sparkhouse, Working Preacher, Patheos and leads retreats and workshops on Sabbath rest, prayer practices and church leadership and transformation. She blogs at in the hereandnow.

Bio written by Faith and Leadership

 

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