R & R: Because We're All Fighting a War

12:25 PMHeather

We are all fighting a war.  Every day.  A war for our children's well being.  A war for a healthy and lasting marriage.  A war to stand for Biblical truths in a culture that has shifted.  A war to prove our worth and purpose.  A war to maintain our beauty.  A war to show our usefulness.  A war against the painful circumstance of grief and loss.  A war against worry.  A war against fear.  A war against loved ones.  A war for our loved ones, maybe.  A war to hang on.  For just one more day.  For just one more minute.

It leaves us battle weary.  Exhausted.  Yet, I think we hardly even notice.  We are too busy keeping up the mind numbing pace of tasks and needs and meetings and appointments and activities.  We press on, so used to being tired that we hardly even notice we're tired.  Or we've accepted it as the reality of life.  Haven't you been so tired that you know you just have to keep moving?  Otherwise you'd collapse.  And who has time for that?

This is the world we live in.  It's just how it goes.  And geez--have you noticed how busy so-and-so is?  I mean, she's super woman.  Surely, I can at least manage my measly little calendar.  

I think the enemy is thrilled.  I think Satan laughs his evil laugh at our frenetic pace.  Because if you can't make 'em bad, just make 'em busy.  Too busy to read their Bible.  Too busy to pray.  Too busy and distracted to maintain connection as a family or as a couple.  Too busy to notice their child is slipping away.  Too busy to see the subtle warning signs of a slippery slope that will lead to places they never thought they'd go.  

It's a war, alright.  The battle will rage on, as long as we live in this broken world.  But, there is one easy prescription. It's not a cure, but it is helpful for the symptoms of battle fatigue. There is one simple thing to do to help you battle on.  It's the one thing we don't know how to do, or perhaps we've forgotten.

Rest.  Slow down.  Take a breather.  Lay your weapons down, stop the fight, and just be still.  Rest and relax.  So your strength can be restored.  It's a perfect answer for every battle weary soul.  

Yet, it's become a forgotten art, I'm afraid.  Our culture has lost the rhythm of sabbath.  We no longer take a day and set it aside and just breath and gather together for the sake of being together.  Instead, we've traded that practice for busy, busy calendars that prove our worth and usefulness.  Margins in our day or our week are luxuries for the lazy and unimportant and weak.  

When God rested on the seventh day, it's not because He had to do it.  It's not because He was so exhausted from speaking the world into existence.  In fact, the Word assures us that He does not slumber nor sleep.  He was offering an example.  He was saying, "This the healthy rhythm of life.  This is the sacred pattern.  To work and toil and to take time to recover.  So that you can press forward and fight on."  How have we come to attach shame to the need to rest?

I wondered this over the month of December, as I was forced to do nothing but rest.  No coincidence, mind you, that it happened at what is typically the busiest time of the year.  I was given a pass this Christmas.  And somehow, because a doctor said I had to, I was able to give myself permission.  I couldn't help it, mind you.  I couldn't get out to shop and I had to pass on the holiday frenzy.  I was utterly and completely free of expectations--from others or myself.  And it was indeed a rarity.  In fact, I cannot recall a time when I felt quite that free.  To leave my phone on its charger.  To nap.  Watch a movie.  Read a book.  Accept the love and help and support of my family and friends. 

It felt strange, at first.  Yes, I wrestled with guilt through the medicinal fog in the beginning.  But, then, I settled in.  And I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed just being with my kids over the break.  Clearing the calendar.  No need to glance at a to-do list. Because my job was to heal.  

Don't our fragile hearts need this as much as our bodies in the world in which we live?  Do you suppose this is why God wanted us to set aside a Sabbath time devoted to rest?  Not in a legalistic way, as the Pharisees tried to bait Jesus.  But in a regular pattern of life.  To mark out time and devote it--protect it--for the sake of restoration.   

The U.S. Military know this need well.  It's called R & R.  Rest and relaxation.  


That's my dad and his R&R pass to Hawaii in December 1966,  It was during the middle of his first of two tours in the Vietnam War.  Yep.  the military knows that when a soldier fights long enough, they need some time to recuperate.  They need to step away from the battle and take a breather and rest.  This is an effective way to help the soldiers maintain their battle readiness.  It's required.  People can only go so long fighting hard before they need to regroup.  So that they can keep fighting.

Listen, bloggy friends.  You need an R&R.  You are daily fighting battles, whether or not you feel battle weary.  You need to remember to block out regular time to rest. And I don't mean that five hours of sleep a night when your body needs eight.  I mean, a time you can lay down your sword and step away from the fight.  And do what restores your soul.  Rest.  Read the Word.  Pray.  Read a book.  Take a bath.  Whatever it is that refreshes you--energizes you.  Men--go play golf.  Or paint ball or whatever.  Blow off some steam.  Girls--invite some girl friends over to watch a chick flick or to just gab.  Not to sell something at an in-home demonstration.  But just to be in community with no agenda.  Or, for everyone--if some alone time is what you need, then schedule it.  

Regularly.  Guard and protect and maintain this margin as if your life depended on it.  Because, basically, it does.  

We are wired to take time to give up the fight and just exhale. So that we can be restored to fight on and to fight well.  

So do it.  When you are worn thin from worry and fear and sadness and grief and working and parenting and keeping up with your activities. Lay your weapons down.  Put down that calendar.  That agenda.  That to-do list.  You don't have to be sick or have a surgery in order to feel okay about meeting this basic need.  

Retro things are all the rage.  Let's bring back a regular time of Sabbath. 

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