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“I am sitting on a field of victory enjoying a few well-earned comforts!” Pippin, LOTR: The Two Towers
The quote above feels like an accurate summary of the past 8 months around our homestead. On top of all the work it takes to manage our forests, flower gardens, and trails, this year I decided to expand my vegetable garden quite significantly. Adding this big new garden had me working outside nearly every single day from March through to Labor Day, even on rainy days (with the exception of a 12 day forced Covid sickness break in August), and burnout was an ever present reality. Although I have never enjoyed the harsh Wisconsin winters, this year I have come to appreciate so much more the rest that comes with the change of seasons. It’s no wonder that God ordained a day of rest for humanity from the very beginning, there is something quite unique about resting the body after long times of physical and mental exertion.
“Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” – Genesis 2:3
The Hebrew word for rest is “Nuakh”, which is also synonymous with the word “shabbat” (or sabbath). The Greek word is “Anapauo” and the essence of both mean to be at peace, stillness, quiet, ceasing, and refreshment. The words for rest occur 257 times in scriptures, so clearly the idea of resting is a big deal. But why does it matter so much? Besides the obvious aspects that we personally experience when we become stressed, tired, anxious, or depressed, there is also a deeper component to protect us from a sinister world. By purposefully choosing to rest in the way God designed for us, we are in fact rejecting the life-weary state which the machinations of the world desire to enslave us to; life is work(for their benefit), then you die. In essence, to rest from striving and seek times of quiet with He who ordained it is to be an activist for your own physical and mental health!
Often times for me, life has seemed to revolve only around the work that needs to be done around the property, and while the work truly is never done, I am reminded now to rest and be filled up. Allowing my body to recover, my mind to restore, and my spirit to be refreshed now helps me see clearer and with greater thankfulness all the blessings that my garden yielded through the months of toil, and the meaning of Thanksgiving is truly illuminated.
“My soul finds rest in God alone.”Psalm 62:1