Posted by: pmarkrobb | January 2, 2012

slower …

We are in a season where all … well, almost all … of God’s creation is at rest.  Just as it was an integral part of the creation process, rest is a fundamental part of the rhythm of nature.  At this time of year, the created world is dormant.  Both the landscape, and animals that live within it, are “sleeping”.  It is a period of rest that is critical to the life and vibrancy that will burst onto the scene in spring, and carry through summer and early fall.  It is the way God designed it to be.

So when did we, as created beings, get out of rhythm with this cycle of nature?  Was it the invention of electric light, that extended our “day” past sunset?  Was it the industrial revolution that ushered in the era of progress and what has become the “natural order” of doing more with less?  Or maybe it has its seed in the fruit of the garden.  Whatever the catalyst(s), it cannot be argued that the part of creation that was expressly made in God’s image has broken from the rhythm of his broader creation.  And it is well past time that we recapture the value and practice of rest.

Think of the illustration of a cup of water.  Sitting still, it’s surface is smooth and placid.  The mere activity of picking up the cup begins to disturb the surface, and in shaking the cup, it becomes increasingly agitated.  Place the cup back in its spot, and the disturbance dissipates.  Our soul and full being is exactly like that cup of water.  And I believe that for some time now, we have chosen to live in a picked up and shaken state.  Secretly desiring, but outwardly rejecting the value and practice of rest.  We have marginalized those who desire or value it, and labeled them as lazy.  And we have tipped the scales in favor of the “performers” among us, elevating them in importance, and chasing after their habits and ideals.

I recently listened to a lecture on breathing.  Did you know that we are designed for optimum health and performance at 6 breaths per minute?  It varies a bit from person to person, but a good average is 6 breaths per minute.  And that our bodies are designed to gain 80-90% of its energy through our breathing?  The average American breathes 16-20 times per minute.  And while we might be tempted to laud ourselves as overachievers, at that rate, we have access to only 10-20% of the energy that is available from our breathing.  Try the exercise right now of breathing for a minute or two at the rate of 6 breaths per minute.  Push back from the computer, or put down the device you are reading this on, and become aware of your breathing.  Then begin to breathe in and out, to counts of 5.  At this rate, a full breath will take 10 seconds, and over the course of a minute, you would breathe 6 times.  Try it…

Maybe as you have been reading, your mind has been a bit distracted by the impending “busy” that the new year will bring.  Maybe your soul is best illustrated by the picked up and shaken cup of water.  And maybe within the last minute or two of simply breathing, you have experienced the effect that it can have on a picked up and shaken soul.  We have been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of our Creator.  An all-powerful being who chose to rest after speaking creation into existence.  Don’t miss that truth as you focus on the creation account in Genesis 1.  With complete power at the core of his nature, rest was not demanded as a result of the effort God expended in creation.  Rather, God chose to rest.  And as beings created in his image, so should we.

Our 2012 journey has two themes … slower and deeper.  We firmly believe that it is past time that we recapture the value and practice of rest that was authored by, and modeled by our Creator.

We are in the midst of a season where all of creation is at rest.  The “season” that is our 2012 journey involved an intentional choice to slow the pace of our consumption of scripture.  And an earnest prayer that in doing so, it will result in us knowing God in a deeper and fuller way.

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