It is rest that revives the soul for real life. And it is often rest we neglect while trying to live.
As I mentioned in last week’s post—Finding Life in the Fallow—I refuse to sell my soul for the sake of distorted definition of success. For that reason, I’m completely unplugging for the months of June and July. I will not be on email, Facebook or Twitter, nor will I be blogging. I *might* post an occasional family picture on Instagram, and I’ve prescheduled a few recycled posts on social media.
Honestly, I hope you don’t read them.
The truth is, as a writer, speaker and consultant, withdrawing from the online realm has true implications for my business and ministry. Many of the internet applications I use every day “punish” those that don’t participate, meaning my stats will likely be impacted by my quietness.
Even so, I’m doing it anyway. Because I believe you and I are sprinting down a road toward self-destruction, one from which we won’t recover if we don’t learn a new way to live. And the only way to change the rules is for a few brave someones to do it first.
Want to join me?
I hope you say “yes.” If so, here are 10 ways to rest when the soul requires renewal:
- Shut down the computer. I mean SHUT. IT. DOWN. As in powered off, packed up in my laptop bag, changed password (that only a random stranger knows). Okay, maybe not that last part, but you get the idea. The world will continue to revolve even if you and I don’t check email. Set up an out-of-office email responder, and walk away.
- Remove email and social media icons from the phone. I promise, you will not die. It’s been about two months since I deleted the mail app from my phone, and I have not missed it. Social media is a little more difficult, but I did it last summer. For the first week, I caught myself checking my phone at least a dozen times a day, evidence of my addiction. By the end of two months, however, I didn’t want to get back on.
- Take a nap. Every day, if possible. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes. If you can’t sleep, take 30 minutes in a favorite chair to read a book, soak up the sunshine, listen to music.
- Watch less television (or none at all). Instead, read. Play a game. Sit on the front porch and talk with your neighbors.
- Go for a walk. Don’t try to burn a thousand calories. Just walk, meander, stroll. Breathe in and out. Take in the scenery. Watch nature do its thing, and marvel at the miracle.
- Listen to soul-filling podcasts and books. And by that I mean nothing that has anything to do with busyness and productivity. A few of my recent favorites include Gospel In Life podcast and Desiring God Podcast, as well as the books The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen, The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile, and Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey.
- Observe the Sabbath. I don’t care whether you choose Saturday or Sunday or some other day, but pick one day a week to literally do nothing but celebrate God’s gift of life. Go fishing. Plant a garden. Do a puzzle. Go for a picnic. Take a nap (did I mention that already?). But don’t even think about making a to-do list.
- Play. Smile. Laugh. Dance to your favorite music. Lay in the grass and watch the stars. Hike a mountain, dip your toes in a spring, pick flowers. Build a spaceship with Legos or a hope chest with wood. Do whatever feels the opposite of work for you.
- Fast and pray. I know, it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. But some of my richest times of spiritual renewal have involved diving deep into my relationship with God. Both fasting and prayer are a means to that kind of intimacy.
- Invest in community. Beyond our brief social media interactions, we need each other. We need face time, long conversations, mutual vulnerability, shared accountability. We need the rest and renewal that come from sharing our stories and listening in turn. Although solitude is part of soul rest, being in a safe and life-giving community is, too.
Have a wonderful summer, friends. Rest. Savor. Enjoy. One beautiful day at a time.
[callout]Tomorrow May 31st is the LAST DAY to get the e-book version of I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He is for only $1.99. I know I wrote it, so it’s borderline obnoxious to recommend it. But if you want a devotional that will dig into the soul, this is it. Need further evidence? Check out the reviews on Amazon (or leave one if you haven’t already! THANK YOU!).[/callout]
[reminder]Which one of these 10 ideas will you try this summer? [/reminder]