1. Schoonover-Shoffner, Kathy

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I don't know about you, but I suspect you have a life similar to mine: busy (sometimes crazy busy). For me, there are e-mails to answer, ideas to develop, problems to address, deadlines to meet, student ministry to support, shifts to work at the hospital, and on it goes. In my personal life there are teens to manage, a husband to love, Sunday school to teach, a house to maintain, exercise to complete, relationships to watch over. These are all good things, important to God and to me, but nevertheless make for a busy life.

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Earlier this year I found myself racing faster and faster, trying to fit everything in. I began to notice a growing weariness in my soul. I started telling myself, "As soon as I get this done, I'll take a break." But things continued pressing, and I went on to the next item on my list. As I edited the July/September issue of JCN and worked on Sonya's Grypma's article about transformation in nursing (volume 26, no. 3, pp. 166-173), I came to the section about Sabbath rest. I thought, "Right, good idea," and sped onward. At the Nurses Christian Fellowship Summit 09 in Dallas this past June, multiple speakers spoke of nurses needing to rest in order to minister effectively over the long haul. I finally started getting the message: STOP, get some rest.


However, a huge problem for me was to figure out how to stop, how to rest. I wasn't doing any more or less than usual. I was getting enough sleep as well as spending time with my husband, my kids, and with friends. I just couldn't stop the sense of being constantly stirred up and the feeling of compulsion to do one more thing. Literally, I couldn't stop.


I went to the Bible for help and examined the idea of rest, gleaning these "resting" principles:


* Rest is part of God's ordered plan for his creation. (Genesis 1, 2:3)


* Rest is commanded by God for his people along with their servants, land, and animals. (Exodus 16:23, 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:14)


* Rest is spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and relational at multiple levels. (Numbers 10:33; 2 Samuel 7:1)


* Rest is good; it isn't laziness. I should value rest the same way I value work.


* Most importantly, rest points to relationship with God. Entering into God's rest is belief and trust in salvation through Jesus Christ, that God made a way to make people and the world right. (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4; Revelation 19-21)



I came to understand that what I need most is the rest of right relationship with God. I need times where my mind and heart are still, where I know he is God (and not me), and I exalt him (Psalm 46:10). Just like the Israelites, I need to keep a Sabbath-focused, reflective quiet time with God every day and extended time every week where I keep a holy day. I need occasional longer times of retreat where I take days or even weeks of rest.


I vacationed this summer camping in the mountains and spent long quiet times with God and his creation. In essence, I took an extended Sabbath. From this God gave me another important insight: Sabbath-keeping is about being disciplined to stop my busyness and engage in rest, to practice the discipline of stillness. It is trusting God will take care of all the "stuff" of my life and acting accordingly, instead of thinking I need to work all the time. Alex Hermelin, a nursing student, explains this well in Student TXT (p. 198), as he urges fellow students to find rest.


I had let "things" run my life instead of God. I'm working on disciplining myself to daily stop and quietly think about God, read his Word, and journal; weekly at church I'm trying to keep my mind quiet and listen. I am learning to enter into God's rest. I hope you'll join me.-KSS