****This article was originally published at an earlier date on the same website. It has been reformatted and retitled, but the content remains the same.
As Christians we are challenged to be unique from the mainstream culture. To look a little weird at times as we embrace an upside-down lifestyle. We manage money differently, we do marriage and sexuality differently, and just generally hold different ideas of what is important. The world has gone absolutely mad with its pace of life. Although we have more ways to interact than ever before, Americans are somehow experiencing less connection. While harried activity and frenzied schedules are normal, quiet evenings are obsolete. Opinions are flowing, but listening is ebbing. Gone is the margin that once existed to respond to a discouraged neighbor. Gaps in the schedule now tend to be filled with the smartphone.
Curiously, Christians tend to be right there with the rest of the culture in this madness. But the Bible speaks extensively about stillness, silence, and waiting (Psalm 46:10, Proverbs 17:28, Lamentations 3:26, Habakkuk 2:20, James 1:19, Isaiah 30:15, Zachariah 2:13). Jesus frequently retreated to still, quiet places to find refreshment (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35). He also routinely observed a Sabbath or day of rest (Mark 2:27, Luke 23:56). What can we give when we ourselves are empty?
It tends to be my secular friends who talk about “self-care.” Buddhists speak often of “mindfulness” and “meditation.” But I rarely hear Christians speak about maintaining life rhythms that include rest. If we are to be followers of Jesus, we must also follow Him in establishing and maintaining healthy margins in our lives. Consider pausing for 10-15 seconds before exiting your car at a parking lot. Think about leaving your iPhone on a shelf for 2-3 hours each evening. Slow down enough to notice the subtle things. I predict that such soul-care will prove to increase the peace, joy, and contentment that you experience.