Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fresh Start

Passing through the end of 2009 and crossing into 2010 has given me new appreciation for fresh starts. By the end, 2009 was a bit exhausting. I needed a chance to stop, rest, and recharge before diving into 2010. Luckily, the New Year's holiday weekend provided me with just such an opportunity. I slept a lot, unpacked from my holiday travels, took down my Christmas decorations, and cleaned up my house. I relaxed with my husband and tried not to think too hard about the obligations that were coming. It took several days for my sleep to get back on track and for me to feel positive and energetic again. A lot happened this year, and I wanted to start 2010 fresh. Luckily, I got that chance.

This experience gives me new appreciation for the rest periods that God builds into our lives. God created day and night and designed humans to sleep quite regularly. In fact, God thought rest was so important that He instructed the people of Israel to keep a Sabbath day. The people had a chance to rest and recover from each week before they moved onto the next one. They got to remove themselves from their daily tasks for a little while, providing them a chance to look at their lives with fresh eyes when the beginning of the week came around again. Although I do not observe a strict Sabbath (as perhaps I ought), I do enjoy weekends best when I have a chance to rest. Some weekends are furiously busy, but often I get to sleep in and I have some chunks of unprogrammed time when nothing specific is required of me. I love those weekends, and after they are gone I often feel very fresh and positive on Monday morning.

We need breaks. When the disciples returned from their first missionary journeys, Jesus took them to a quiet place by themselves so that they could rest before diving back into the ministry at hand. Jesus, in his wisdom, knew that they needed some time—even if it was just a little time—to relax, eat, rest, and just be with each other before they could go on with their work. Right now my husband is enjoying a few weeks off after a very difficult semester before he continues on with his graduate program. I enjoyed some vacation time over the holidays and have returned to work feeling much fresher and more focused than when I left. After leaving this blog fallow for a week, I find it much easier to start thinking of new ideas and topics of discussion.

In a hectic world where we often push ourselves to work long hours and to toil on endlessly, I would like to take a moment to thank God for inventing rest. If God isn't too good for rest, then neither am I. If the almighty can take a day off after creating the universe, then I don't have to feel so bad about taking a little time to recover after a long day, a tiring week, or a full year. Through His own example and through the instructions He's given us, God is telling us that it's OK for us to rest now and then. A little rest affords us the clarity and energy of a fresh start, and wise person knows that's worth it. So today I pledge to try to give myself the rest I need so that I can be more productive during my work time. A fresh start can make a big difference.

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