Our first Lenten discipline may not seem like a discipline at all. It is rest. I can hear my conscience say, “But Lent is about doing something. I have to give up something or take on a new discipline.” This year let it be rest. We are so busy doing that we have little time for just being. Let us give up busyness and take on the discipline of rest.
When we rest we allow ourselves to breath. We allow our bodies to release the stress of daily life. We set aside chores for respite. We allow ourselves to feel our body, to hear our heart beat, to feel the intake of breath, the filling of our lungs, to work of our diaphragm, and the release of the breath back to the world.
Rest also allows us to relax our mind. Our brain is like a monkey in a cage jumping from side to side, bouncing off the floor and ceiling. It is responding to stimuli from all around us. It never has time to settle. Screens only make it worse as respond to rapid fire images, messages, and sounds assailing us from all around. Our brain needs time for peace, silence, observing the clouds or stars, and daydreaming to clear the clutter and rest.
Give yourself the gift of the discipline or rest this Lenten season. As you do you will find yourself refreshed in body and mind. You will also find that you are more attuned to your inner world and to God. Even God when the creation was finished allowed time to rest. That gift of rest was bestowed upon humanity in the form of Sabbath. Whether it is a weekly or daily discipline, Sabbath is an acknowledgment of God’s gift, and a celebration of God’s love for you just as you are, and you don’t have to do a single thing.