The Sunday Dance: Joy and Rest

If you’re anything like me you might get caught up in the minutia of resting - what is it that I’m supposed to be doing? What is it that I can’t do? Are there certain parameters that I need to be following? 

These are the same questions that preoccupied the Pharisees in the New Testament and we see more or less how Jesus handled their legalism. In essence they took what was supposed to be a gift and re-shaped it into something a lot closer to a burden. Instead of the Sabbath being a day of rest and remembrance, hope and looking toward all that God would do In the future, it became a list of rules to be imposed and policed. 

Somehow I don’t think that policing the behavior of our neighbors is really the kind of Sabbath activity God had in mind.

But then we are still left with the deeply practical dilemma of what it is that we are actually supposed to focus on on Sundays, or whatever day we observe as a day of rest?

How do we know if we’re doing it right?

And I feel like that question in and of itself belies how far gone I am personally into the worship and prioritization of productivity and control.

I want to check Sundays off my list.

But I think that is fundamentally the wrong approach. Doesn’t keep me from trying it three Sundays out of every four, but when I reflect and really focus on being intentional with rest, not legalistic, but intentional, I find that the rest is always marked by real joy.

I feel connected to myself, to God, to my husband, to my children. I feel at balance in my body, in my mind, and in my spirit. I feel the closeness of Jesus, which ultimately is the harbinger of joy.

So if you find yourself lost in trying to rest intentionally this week, here’s something that has helped me: I start with remembering. I remember my childhood, what my life was like in the past, the good things, and the bad things, and throughout it all I consciously trace the line of God leading me. 

This activity brings me a huge amount of peace. Looking at all the ways that God has been faithful, even through the most challenging seasons, brings me back to the right posture before Him. It gives me space to rest because I am reminded of all the things that do not depend on me and yet are taken care of anyway. 

And that remembrance brings me to joy, and I find that the dance continues with much less rules and coaxing when I simply let joy and rest dance through the day together, a mesmerizing swish that flows when I let it go and not when I fuss about steps and boundaries and what it should be.


It works when it just is.

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