My friend moved her family twice this year. They sold their home and moved into an apartment while they were building a new home. The second move was from the apartment into their newly built home. They moved into their new home in late Spring and we were able to chat about the move in late June. She shared how traditionally in a move, she would be frantic to get everything in the house, organized, and pictures hung on the wall. She felt compelled to get things done quickly while the excitement of moving was still fresh. She feared that if she took a break that she would never come back to the process of settling in their new home.
I am writing my dissertation for my doctorate of ministry. I write at the library during the weekdays after commuting to downtown Houston to take my son to his internship at the zoo. On Friday’s, I feel this huge push to get more of the writing completed. I can see that if I continue to work through the weekend that I would be in a better position once I return to the library. I fear that if I take a break on the weekends that I will not have the resolve to continue to write when Monday rolls back around.
My friend and I feared taking a break. We feared pushing pause. We feared rest.
We all know we need rest. The body, mind, emotions need a break from the push to restore and recharge. Some people call their rest, Sabbath. Some call it Sunday. In France, they have a different work calendar and so they call rest, May and August😊. For some teachers, rest is called summer. For some of us, we call it a nap or maybe our surrender yoga, a deep stretch class, serves that purpose. In music you have a rest, a pause in the forward flow. In Old Testament Hebrew, the rest observed in the Psalms is called a Selah. I like the definition of Selah because it is a pause that serves to highlight or underline what just came before and to set the intention for what is coming next. It is a moment to celebrate the past, to be present to absorb all feelings swirling around the mind, heart and body, and then to set the intention for what is to come.
The meaning of Selah lifts the fear we have about taking a break because the pause has a purpose. The rest gives us time to absorb what happened before, sit in the present moment, and then set an intention for what is to come.
We find flow within the rest.
This type of intentional rest will lead to renewed energy to pick whatever ongoing task you are engaged in.
My friend chose to be kind to herself and not rush to get everything done. Three months later, she is ready to begin the process of hanging pictures on her walls. For me, I fought against my nature to continue to push forward on the weekends. I took an intentional break to celebrate all that I experienced during the week, to feel the exhaustion, to connect to my sweet family, and to set a new intention for the following week. Taking a break did not cause me to run away from my writing never to return. I found that the Selah offered me sacred space.