Tips for Refreshment

Last week I wrote on the importance of refreshment and maintaining a regular time with God in honest recognition of His reign over your life.  Jesus found it necessary to withdraw to the lake, to the mountain, or beside the road to be alone with God. He needed rest and renewal in order to go back among the throngs of people. If he needed it, we need to make sure that we incorporate a time of refreshment into our busy lives. That doesn’t mean just laying around all day (although it may mean sleeping until you wake up on your own instead of by an alarm clock). But, we should purposefully center our rest and renewal around these suggested areas:

1)  A time to stay at home: Families are going in so many different directions today. Finding some time to recoup as a family by doing something special on a weekly basis helps to reconnect and refresh. You also model to your children the value of family time and the life-long, vital connections that are made early in life (remember the message of Cats in the Cradle).

2)  A time to read, study and write: I talked to someone the other day, who, in the process of writing out her Christian testimony, has been reminded of all the ways in which God was working in her life when she didn’t even realize it. This revelation brought a sense of excitement and joy. Reading Christian biographies and inspirational books will also buoy your spirit. Additionally, with life and societal changes always happening, there is the need to stay current and retool. Do you carve a niche in your schedule for reading, studying, writing, and concentrating on new subjects and new interests?

3)  A time to play and serve: Some playtime should be a part of renewal and rest. Playtime might include long hikes, participation in an enjoyable sport, unstructured playtime with the family, and trips to historic locations. It could also include an outreach work project, such as an emergency disaster project. Serving in ways out of our normal area of ministry is surprisingly energizing.

4)  A time to enjoy the beauty of life: Beauty in nature offers many benefits. Very beautiful scenes are often in quiet places. Beauty stimulates the senses. In such a setting, it is easy to get in tune with the Creator.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour out speech;
night after night they communicate knowledge

(Psalm 19:1-2, HCSB)

5)  A time for Bible study and prayer: This is a very important part of restoration. It can take place along with some of the other experiences at times (as in nature). This is a time to read those things that focus on praising God through inspirational books, poems, and hymns, including meditation and reflection.

These are only a few suggestions, but don’t neglect this vital area of your life. Medical science has demonstrated that the effects of rest are significant, indicating the great role that rest can play in our physical and emotional well-being.

Points to Ponder:

  • If you have a family at home, what are (or have been) your suggestions for ways in which your family has found refreshment together (board games, outdoor activities, camping, etc.) Leave comments!
  • What have you found to be the best way for you to find replenishment for body, soul and spirit?

Finding Refreshment

Our Iowa heat wave has me reminiscing about the heat and humidity of my Tennessee, childhood summers. We had a two-story (split into four-levels) home with only two, window unit air conditioners —one in the dining room (2nd level) and the other in my parents’ top level bedroom.  I guess my father felt the units were strategically placed since cold air falls, but they really couldn’t keep up with the demands of Memphis summers. After some hard, outdoor play, I can remember heading in for a drink of water or Kool Aid and then lingering in front of the window unit. The cold air from condensation-laden vents came as a welcome relief from an afternoon of play outside.  Refreshed, I would head back out for some more games of baseball, kickball or army with my friends, Steve and Kendall.

What are you doing to find refreshment for your body, soul and spirit? I have received some unsolicited (but caring) advice about my need to make sure I have some times of refreshment built into my schedule. The fact of the matter is, we all need to make sure we have that refreshment…not as an excuse for laziness but as a way of re-energizing for service to the Lord. In Exodus 31, Moses concludes his time with God on Mt. Sinai and the Lord said this:

16 The Israelites must observe the Sabbath… 17 It is a sign forever between Me and the Israelites, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.

If God “rested and was refreshed,” might we not also need to experience the same?

The most essential and primary way to experience refreshment comes from repentance. Peter said in Acts 3:19:

Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

Repentance from sins is a necessity for ongoing, unrepentant sin causes our fellowship with the Lord to be interrupted. Intimacy with God is compromised just as it is in a marriage when a spouse will not admit and make steps of restitution following an indiscretion. Thus, repentance may be your first step back to needed times of refreshment.

More on “refreshment” next time.

Points to Ponder

  • Are there any actions or attitudes in your life from which you need to turn in order that a floodgate of needed refreshment might open onto your life, enabling you to experience the presence of the Lord, again?
  • Think of a time of personal, spiritual refreshment. Did repentance precipitate the refreshment?