Rest, Restoration and Resilience
What do you think of when people talk about the three Rs? Perhaps you thought of the 2022 Indian language movie, RRR. Or maybe it was the three Rs of learning: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. (Still not quite sure how they are all R words, but that’s for another day!)
Lately, I’ve been thinking of three other R words: Rest, Restoration and Resilience. In May I was privileged to attend a Salvation Army directed spiritual retreat held in the Wairarapa. The theme for the week was Behold, shifting our gaze to God based on Psalm 105:4. We each were encouraged to slow down, to rest, yes, even sleep if that was what was needed, and to reconnect with God.
Rest is so important for our wellbeing, our relationship with ourselves, others and with God. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’. Although stopping and resting is good, more is needed for there to be restoration of our wairua (spirit). At the retreat, as well as rest, we reflected on God’s Word, practised a variety of spiritual disciplines, had extended times of silence and had the opportunity to journey with an experienced spiritual director. Those who attended testified to the strong sense of restoration, answers to prayers and deeper relationships with God.
The third R is resilience. Matt Bloom in his article, ‘Flourishing in Ministry: Clergy, Ministry Life and Wellbeing’, writes ‘Resilience is the capacity to respond to challenges and the capacity to grow and learn from those challenges at the same time’. In a world that is fast-paced and ever-changing, our wellbeing is crucial. One way I have discovered to build resilience is to remember the acronym PENS: Pleasure, Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep. Have you done something this week that brings you pleasure? Have you exercised and eaten well this week? And are you getting enough sleep?
How are you doing in the areas of rest, restoration and resilience?
Lt-Colonel Liz Gainsford
Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development