Friday, April 10, 2009

Rest and Renewal, by Carol Steward


There comes a time when everyone needs renewal of some sort. It may be a time of physical exhaustion, recovery from an illness, or a season of spiritual crises. When this time reaches out to you, it's time to reach out to those who love you. It's time to let them give back and give to you.

When I'm writing, I build a cocoon around myself and force myself to focus on the current book. My family builds the layers of protection around me, supporting me so I can focus. When I was younger, letting others take charge of those chores around the house was out of the question. Who knew that letting go would be such a challenge?

As a mother, I learned to juggle everything to keep my family going at warp speed. I didn't know what sleep was, literally. The time I thought I needed for renewal was shorter then, maybe an afternoon of shopping with a friend, a date with my husband, sleeping in for an extra hour on a Saturday morning. I had things to do and people to meet… I didn't have time to "waste" on the frivolity of renewal.

As His child, I realize more than ever that God intended for us to renew ourselves regularly. Much as I try, to this day, I can't seem to sit still on Sunday. It's often my one day to catch up with housework or writing for a longer stretch of time.
His plan included a day of rest, as documented in Genesis 2: 2, "And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested..." Even God took time to renew and reflect, setting an example for all of us.

Mark 6:30-31 says, "The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. And He said them, 'Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat." Stress and busyness has been around for as long as man. Exhaustion leads to stress and stress kills - not just the body. Stress kills our hope, our joy, and our love.

It's critical that we continue trying to fit rest and renewal into our lives. Rest and renewal go hand in hand. Through the winter, many plants go into dormancy, a time to renew. Spring is a perfect visual example of God teaching us the importance of renewal. Trees and flowers wake up from a long winter's nap. The icy cold melts away to warmer days of light. And light naturally boosts our mood, our hope. God has that one ALL figured out, doesn't He?

A few years ago, my daughter and daughter-in-law helped me replenish our supply of sugar Easter eggs - one for each family on Easter morning. By sharing that time together and taking my mind totally off writing, He refreshed me and I was able to get back to writing again. Find ways to treat yourself and make it a concentrated effort to follow through. Here are a few ideas to let grow on you this week. I'll be working on several of them, too.

Go to bed early one night a week. (not tonight)
Turn off the television and pick up a book.
Reach out to someone else who might need a reminder to slow down and let God refill their cup.
Sit down and eat dinner rather than eating it on the run.
Have a friend over for coffee.
Pick up a craft or hobby that you never finished.
Listen to soft and relaxing music.
Get a massage.
Go for a walk.

The list is endless. Just stopping to plan to rest gives my mind a much-needed break. What about your ideas? How do you Renew yourself?

3 comments:

PamelaTracy said...

Really enjoyed your post today. It was what I needed.
So, in your blog, what exactly is a sugar easter egg? Is it something neat to make? Easy?

Carol Steward said...

Sugar Easter eggs are such fun, but a mess and time consuming. I learned to make them when I was pregnant with my youngest son, 25 years ago. The kit is probably still available through Wilton. You mix sugar, meringue powder and water like you do sand and water for sand castles. Then you pack it into an egg mold. Then after they dry a little bit, you scoop the middle out very very carefully. You can make them with a "hole" in them so you can set up a scene inside, which is what I mostly do. When my original set got spotted, we decided to remake them. Since a lot of the "figureines" that I used inside were plastic, I was able to recreate them pretty inexpensively. The girls had fun learning, and of course, it was fun sharing that time and laughs with them. But best of all was giving them to the next generation. I actually saw a feature on "How it's Made" last year. They're fun, and if you like decorating cakes, it's easy. If not.... I'm not sure.

Missy Tippens said...

Great ideas for renewal, Carol! I'm going to challenge myself to do at least one this week.

Missy