Pity our beleaguered souls! For optimal health they need both rest and focus: rest from calendar overload, rest from information overload, rest from responsibility overload, rest from future-angst overload. And focus on whole life: life in Jesus, life in the Word, life in prayer, life in family, life in work, life in nature. And all this rest and focus requires intentionality lest our souls’ ‘immune systems’ become malnourished, dry, and susceptible to destructive lifestyles (i.e. many, if not all, burnouts and scandals have rest-less souls at their origin).
One specialized furniture company says this about their chairs: “The benefits of our Zero Gravity Chairs go beyond just relaxation. Studies have shown that these chairs can also improve circulation and reduce muscle tension, making them a great choice for anyone looking to improve their overall health and wellbeing. They work by helping your body relieve pain and pressure by putting you in a neutral spinal alignment – pure bliss!” I would borrow from that ad’s claim, stating God’s goal for us as, neutral ‘soul’ alignment, truly, the purest bliss of all! There, our souls are unpressured, unhurried, non-anxious. Like a soul plumbline, perfectly aligned.
Jesus’ beautiful invitation, as translated by Eugene Peterson in The MESSAGE, Matthew 11:28-30, is the epitome of blissful, non-stressed living: “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.” Millions today would answer, ‘Yes!’ to those three questions and on surveys about religious affiliation, they check the box ‘NONE’ (they are, tragically, referred to as the Nones). Jesus’ invitation still wants to reach them through us as we infectiously live lives with souls at rest and focused. Ahhh! PD