What Do Children and Rest Have to Do with Each Other?
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Welcome to another warm one! We are enjoying our summer of being made well together. Our walk at Piedmont Park last Saturday included a surprise farmers-market discovery and a lot of great conversation. And, we are looking forward to our first book club meeting tonight. You are still welcome to join us there for dinner, yoga, and conversation!
Another thing we have been enjoying is the To Be Made Well Contemplative Circle, where we are praying the Prayer of Examen as we reflect on postures and practices for healing from the Scriptures. We want to share some of that goodness here in the next few weeks.
Last week, Saranell led our contemplative time by sharing the posture of childlikeness and the practice of rest. You who have small children may be thinking, “How on earth do those two things go together? Kids and rest are not synonymous!”
Ha! Yes! We know! Little humans are masters of going until the gas runs out and then crashing. Zero to sixty or sixty to zero without any warning at all!
But children are also masters of living in the present, trusting that someone else has “got” whatever comes next. The non-anxious reality of a child who is unaware of anything beyond the now is a beautiful way to think about what rest could look like for those of us whose bodies may actually be still much of the day but whose minds are always racing…back to the past, forward to the present, and frantically in the now.
Assuming a childlike posture of presence and trust settles us into restfulness, acceptance of our limits, and it reminds us that God will care for us. God will tend to yesterday’s wounds, today’s needs, and tomorrow’s unknowns. To come to God in this way, as a child who is certain that they are cared for, allows us to practice rest so that our frazzled places can resolve. We can be made well.
So today, we offer you a Scripture passage for reflection and then a few simple questions that will lead you through examining, over the last 24 hours, where you have either welcomed or resisted God’s invitation to you to remember that you are his child and to practice rest.
Matthew 11: 25- 30 - The Unforced Rhythms of Grace
25-26 Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
27 Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
This passage reminds us that God desires to not only give us good gifts, but to engage us in relationship. He says, “Come to me, just as you are. Get away with me. Come into Father-Child intimacies. You are made in love, by love, and for love.” Jesus wants to do life together. He wants to recover, walk, work, and watch with you. He wants you to know you are not alone. You don’t have to do anything on your own strength.
Jesus wants to draw us out of our false selves into our true selves, setting us free from patterns, habits, and tendencies that keep us from our awareness of God’s presence.
With this in mind, here are some prompts from Spiritual Director Kate Hasteltine to lead you through a Prayer of Examen. Move slowly through the prompts. Between each one, pause to be with what the Spirit is showing you about the last twenty-four hour period.
God, thank you.
I thank you, God, for always being with me, but especially I am grateful that you are with me right now.
God, send your Spirit.
God, let the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and warm my heart that I may know where and how we have been together this day.
God, let me look at my day.
God, where have I felt your presence, seen your face, heard your word over the past day?
God, where have I ignored you, run from you, perhaps even rejected you over the past day?
God, let me be grateful and ask forgiveness.
God, I thank you for the times this day we have been together and worked together.
God, I am sorry for the way that I have been faithless by I have done or what I have not done.
God, stay close.
God, I ask that you draw me ever closer to you this day.
God, you are the God of my life—thank you.
Today, may you be open to the rest of God because you are his child.
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Curious about the Prayer of Examen? Here are some guided prayer times from one of our favorites at Kaleid, Contemplative at Home.