July 7, 2009

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent

Rest by Keri Wyatt Kent is one of those books that I was really excited about reviewing. The back cover asks the question, "Is it possible to learn how to rest so that we have the energy and focus to live a meaningful and joyful life?" I was hoping the book would provide an answer to the overwhelming nature my life has taken on recently. And it may have. It definitely gave me a lot of great ideas that I'm planning to try out.

The book goes through six different aspects of the practicing the Sabbath, each piece tied into the big picture of just stopping for a moment (or a day) to regain our strength and push through the next week. Each of the six aspects was covered in a chapter with a good explanation of the concept, examples of how other families made it work for them, and best of all, real life suggestions for making it work for you. Some people can't take an entire day off so she suggests just a couple of hours to start. A lot of great examples and suggestions made me feel as a reader that this was something I could do.

I'll admit, Sundays are the Sabbath for me right now but I could do a lot better with making it more of a defined rest day. I don't go shopping, run errands, or workout. Anything that would be forcing someone else to work, I don't do. But there is so much more I could do to make the day more restful and peaceful, a day to rejuvenate for the coming week. Maybe then I wouldn't feel so burnt out by the end of the week.

The six concepts she emphasizes in her book as part of the Sabbath are:

  1. Resting- I loved this quote, "They say insanity is when you keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting the same results. So if running like crazy equals getting nowhere, then it's a little crazy that more running could ever equal getting somewhere." Just stop and take a break from everything.
  2. Reconnecting- taking the day to reconnect with yourself, the people around you, and God.
  3. Revising- Creating a restful Sabbath takes practice. It's not something that you write down on paper once and do it that same way for the next 100 years. You try something out, revise that plan and try something else. Just start and keep adjusting until you've gotten it right. And when that is no longer right, try something else.
  4. Pausing- One of my favorite parts of the book was an analogy between people and breathing. There are three parts of each breath- breathing in, breathing out, pause. Repeat. This is how our lives should work as well. This section also talks about giving up multi-tasking for focusing on each part of our lives for chunks of time. People are more productive that way and are able to give more attention to that specific thing. Back to the whole just stopping thing.
  5. Playing- I'm good at this one. Kent goes through the importance of playing, really just playing for the fun of it (not to win) and how everyone lets down their guard a little bit while playing games. I completely agree with this and loved this section. I've always been a board games type of girl and really think it's the way to connect with new people.
  6. Praying- Kent brings the book full circle in the final section where she explains the importance of using the Sabbath to reconnect and build an intimate relationship with God. Whether it's through prayer for ourselves, for the poor, or for anyone else, prayer is again a way to just stop and enjoy ourselves without getting caught up in the details.

So overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love Kent's style of writing because not only did she provide facts (e.g., there is a pause between each of our breaths), she also provided every day examples of ways to incorporate these ideas into each of our lives. And even if you're not religious at all, I recommend this book to anyone because all of us can benefit from the reminder to just take a step back and take a break so that you can keep moving forward.

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