What does it look like to rest in a way that truly refreshes you? Several Grace staff weigh in on their favorite practices for finding rest this Advent season.
Refresh Your Mind with Poetry
I rest my mind by reading. I read all kinds of things from scripture to books on psychology, business and science. But when I’m really exhausted, and empty, I read poetry. I’ve always loved it — it can open worlds for you. My favorite poets are Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth, Blake…I’m drawn to the school of English Romantic Poetry. Here’s one I love that’s actually about rest.
Mike Adkins, Senior Pastor
“The Day is Done”
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
Restore Your Space
When I need to reset during a busy season, sometimes I take a 20-minute nap, sometimes I read a magazine, or sometimes I grab a coffee and just go for a drive alone (especially at Christmas, when there are lights to see!). But if I’m really in a place of overwhelm, I quiet my mind most quickly by quieting my environment from the noise of clutter or distraction. I listen to an encouraging podcast or calming music while I slowly and methodically restore order to my kitchen, office, or bedroom — whatever needs it most. My mind untangles itself as my surroundings do, and God often speaks clearly here while I work with my hands to restore spaces and things to beauty.
Kelly Adkins, Experience Director
Combat the Chaos with Tradition
For me, the holidays can feel overwhelming. It seems there are so many expectations from family and friends, not to mention the ones I place on myself. I find that if I don’t invest the time to map out the holidays in advance the weeks feel stressful and when they are over regret replaces joy. A few years back, I realized I simply need to sit down with a calendar and block out the important dates and events before they happen. Prepare for the chaos and somehow it becomes less chaotic. Annually repeat those you and your family enjoy, look for new opportunities to try, and then keep it simple. You don’t have to do everything, but if you can find the events and traditions that work, you will have an endless supply of memories and joy to look back on through the years.
Rick Garrett, Executive Pastor
Get Active to Get Out of Your Head
There’s a difference between feeling exhausted and feeling depleted. When I’m exhausted, I just need to sleep. But when I’m depleted, I need to find a way to shut my brain off. That’s why I love going to the gym. When I’m engaging in a high intensity workout, I can’t think about anything else, and it’s extremely refreshing for my mind. If you’re someone who gets in your own head a lot, being active can be very restful. It doesn’t have to be the gym. We often go outside for family walks or to hit a volleyball around and everyone comes back inside calmer.
Clint Harrison, Oviedo Campus Pastor
Ask for Input
As a parent, I spend a lot of my time during the holidays trying to figure out what would be fun experiences I could share with my kids. But oftentimes that turns me into Clark Griswold and then at the end of the day rather than spending quality time with my kids we’ve just checked another holiday event off the list. Which of course leaves us all feeling drained rather than refreshed. So one thing that’s most refreshing to me during this season is spending time really connecting with my kids in a way that’s unique to them. So instead of telling them what I want us to do together, I stop and ask how they want to spend time together. Those moments always leave me and all of us feeling more refreshed and connected.
Grant Nixon, Winter Garden Campus Pastor
Challenge Your Creativity
I recently learned at a leadership conference that if I’m going to finish the race well … and upright (not crawling toward the finish line), rest must include weekly rhythms of refueling too. So what fills me up/inspires me to get back to the grind? Creativity — especially in the kitchen. Like an episode of Chopped, can I fling open my basket (pantry doors), see what ingredients I have, and create something wonderfully delicious? When my mind is busy concocting and my hands are preoccupied with measuring, mixing and more, there is no other option but to relax!
T Munroe, Communications Director