Tag Archives: Rest

Lent is a Time of Rest

At the time of writing this, we are almost two weeks into the Lenten season of 2023. Some people have already given up what they’ve given up for Lent, others are deep into extra prayers, services, and readings; while others are somewhere in between.

In the weeks leading up to Lent I began to feel a sense of anxiety. What book would I read this year, what app was I going to choose to help me stay on track with additional scripture readings, and what was I going to give up for 40 days of torture. My regular daily schedule had already left me feeling overwhelmed, how much more could I take on in the name of Lent? 

I attended a women’s prayer breakfast that focused on preparing for the season of Lent. I started the morning with racing thoughts about how I would ready myself for the holiest season of the liturgical year and ended the day with a sense of peace and surrender.

I was reminded that Lent isn’t about filling my already busy schedule with “holy activities”. Lent is about temporarily, or perhaps permanently removing things from my daily life to make room for being in my own desert time with Jesus. It’s about joining Jesus in remembering through our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving that God is who sustains us. God is who we live for. 

This year for Lent I decided to put aside my false idea that I, or anyone else needed to pack our schedules with activities, no matter how holy they may be. 

In order to be with Jesus in the desert we might need to do less things. 

We might only make it to church for regular weekly Sunday services and Good Friday. It’s alright if we only maintain our regular bible reading and prayer times. So far, slowing down for Lent has allowed me to have more time to engage in reading the book that I’ve chosen and time for reflection. My time isn’t spent trying to attend church concerts, compline services, Easter choir practice, and whatever else I thought needed to be part of the season. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities, they are a beautiful and blessed part of Lent. My point is simply this: it is alright to include rest in our time of Lent

Reflection Questions:

What are you fasting from during Lent? Do you feel its absence has brought you closer to God?

What have you learned about yourself during Lent? 

Is Lent a time of rest for you, or do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the seasonal activities? What can you consider removing or reducing from your schedule to make more time for rest?

At Christmas, Free Time is Precious

The Christmas season involves a lot of food, not just any food, but good food! Plenty of drinks, lots of baked goods, and appetizers galore.

I can’t complain about the abundance of food, I enjoy it as much as the next person. I enjoy consuming these festive treats, but I certainly don’t enjoy making them. I, like many other people in my age group and demographic, are more likely to purchase ready made goods rather than make them at home.

Photo by: Helen C athcart

I enjoyed making apple cider this year, but I cheated. I started off wanting to make it from scratch, but the recipes seemed time intensive. Who knew making a beverage could take so much time and so many apples? I decided that my free time was more important than the end product. I have a feeling there are others who feel a similar way.

I believe food is absolutely necessary at any Christmas get together or function, no food, no fun. Others would argue that alcohol is necessary as well, but I don’t drink, so I will peacefully disagree on that point.

All this to say; don’t feel pressure to make home made goods for holiday parties. If it is less stressful for you to go into a bakery or grocery store and walk out with everything already prepared, then go for it! After too many stressful holiday seasons trying to fit in festive events, I learned that I enjoy Christmas much more when I’m not having to spend too much time in the kitchen.

I have to continue watching how much I eat because all my weight loss and discipline can be easily lost to the mindless eating that occurs when hanging out with others. I intentionally make an effort to bring healthier treats and food to gatherings. The last thing I want to do is waste mental space worrying about how much I’m eating and what I’m eating. If food consumption matters that much to you, bring some tasty fruit and vegetable dishes to potlucks; there will always be people who want healthier options as well.

My desire to save time by purchasing ready made items extends to crafts and decorations as well. If making hand made Christmas decorations doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of department stores selling items to suit every taste. I eventually got rid of my Christmas crafts board on Pinterest, it was too tempting. They were great to look at, awful to make. If craft making leads to frustration, then give it up. Again, the idea is to make the best use of your free time and energy.

As a child I remember stringing popcorn for the tree. It was a fun activity as a child, but as an adult, I know that I’d rather eat the popcorn. What I find more exciting is going out and purchasing decorations. I save both time and money as well.

Don’t forget to have fun during the holidays. Time is precious and vacations at Christmas is short for most of us. Allow that time to be restful, fun, and fulfilling; only you can define what that is.