This week we are talking about how we can meaningfully spend our time when we pause and rest. Each day, we have been looking at a specific action that is part of the R.E.S.T. acronym, which the pastors at each campus had shared with us this weekend.
Today, we are looking at the action step for “E,” which is “Engage Relationally.” When we talk about engaging relationally with others, this refers to spending time with people that need our best. Time with our family and our friends – and not just sitting near one another while we are each engaged with our electronic device of choice. Spending meaningful time with those whom we love should come easily, one would think, because we all, of course, want to do this. But our lives are typically so busy that making time for this is often the first thing to fall off our to-do list.
I grew up with two younger siblings, and my mother was a divorced, full-time working mother. Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate that life would not have been easy for her. Working full-time meant the time she was able to spend with us was limited to the evenings after work and weekends. But despite those circumstances, my childhood was blessed with all of us making many special memories together because my mother chose to use the time she had with us in meaningful ways.
One of my fondest memories is baking Christmas cookies together during the Advent time leading up to Christmas. Baking Christmas cookies or Weihnachtskekse is a big tradition in Germany. We would typically make at least 10 to 15 different types, each absolutely unique in its ingredients and therefore, very different in taste from one another. We kids were tasked with some of the more boring jobs like blanching and peeling the almonds and grinding the almonds and other nuts through an old-fashioned, hand-cranked grinder. But, if we did our job well, we also got to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies. The best part was, of course, the glazing and decorating. During all of this, we would chat and sing Christmas songs – and make great memories.
Proverbs 27:9 The Message (MSG)
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
Spending time with loved ones refreshes our soul. So as an adult, I can now see that for my mother, it was also a way to rest from the busyness of her life. Us spending time together like this was surely no accident. It was something she had to plan and prepare for. Something where she had to choose to give her best to us when we were with her, even though she surely would have been tired after a full day of work. But having experienced the same kind of blessing with my kids, I understand now that consciously and conscientiously making the time to pause and rest by doing activities with my kids actually leaves my soul refreshed and rejuvenated.
When was the last time that you consciously made plans to spend time with your family or friends? How did you feel afterward? How could you incorporate “rest time” with your family into your schedule? What are your favorite activities to do with your family or friends?
Make a list of your family and closest friends. Plan one activity with each of them in the coming months. Put the activities in your calendar so that this time is reserved for you to pause and rest with them. Write down the memories you made with them and how that time made you feel.
Dear father in heaven, thank you for my family and friends. Spending time with them gives me time to rest from the busyness of life and to refresh my soul. Thank you for placing them in my life and for providing me with opportunities to make precious memories with them. Amen.
This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Lutheran church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters and a wonderful man who loves the Lord.
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