Soul Rest with Curtis Zackery
We live in a fast-paced culture. Everything from our work demands to home-life, results are expected instantaneously. Waiting for something is out of the question. With so many responsibilities and distractions vying for our attention, too many of us have built unhealthy cycles of rest. We often work hard until we are exhausted or burn out and then try to take a day off or vacation. As a result, we burn ourselves out, striving and straining against God’s intent for our lives. We can only sustain a life of purpose if we learn to truly rest. Author, Curtis “CZ” Zackery wrote Soul Rest after encountering followers of Christ who were exhausted and burnt out.
In Soul Rest, Zackery reveals how our misaligned view of rest has its roots in an identity that is out of rhythm with God. Taking steps toward understanding Sabbath in the way that God intends can dynamically affect every aspect of our lives. This thoughtful reflection on rest calls us to the hard work of self-examination, helping us move towards a purposeful and sustainable life with Jesus.
Zackery shares why he wrote Soul Rest.
“I encounter followers of Jesus who say that they don’t know if they can ‘do it’ anymore. They’re flat-out tired. This can manifest in a growing sense of disillusionment with God and the church. And we think that next vacation, that next long weekend — or even that next ministry conference – – will be the one that finally provides us with the rest that will recharge us. But, when it’s over, we start counting down to the next one, never finding real, true soul rest. God designed us to live and thrive from a restful place. So, how do we get there? How do we stay there?”
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
Former American Idol Contestant and Contemporary Christian Recording Artist, Mandisa reflects on her experience needing soul care.
“I was in the “valley of the shadow of death” from 2014-2016. According to the charts and the awards, it was the biggest and most successful time of my life. According to my soul, it was the darkest and most hopeless time of my life. There were several factors that contributed to my descent into this pit of depression, including the death of a friend and my utter exhaustion from my travel schedule. But now that I am “Out of the Dark” I know that I need to put some things in place to ensure that I never go back there. Reading Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath by Curtis Zackery felt like a sweet whisper from God showing me the importance of true rest for my soul. To be honest, I never thought much about the importance of Sabbath. Reading CZ’s personal stories made the valuable lessons he was teaching me less like a professor standing at a chalkboard, and more like a friend sharing his story over a cup of tea. In our busy, rushed, American Dream-driven society, Soul Rest is an important book every Jesus-follower should read.”
Slow Down. It is important to take time and slow down. Turn off your cell phone and computer. Put your out of office on for a day. Take a couple days away from everything if you can. Take time to reflect. Go for a walk and enjoy God’s beauty. As you walk, thank God for the things He has created, including you! Read through the Psalms. If you think of something you have to get done, write it down and try to get to it later. There will always be something that “has to get done.” It can also be helpful to let others know that you won’t be available for a couple hours, one day, or however long you choose to step away.
Say “No.” This can be one of the hardest things to do. But sometimes it is important to say, “No, I can’t commit to that at this time.” It can be helpful to explain to people why you aren’t able to commit to something. Share the other things you are already committed to. Instead of taking the project on, help them find someone else who can do it. There will always be lots of great opportunities, events and activities to be a part of. Before you commit to something, pray and ask God for wisdom. Evaluate your current commitments and the time they require. It might also entail looking at your family’s commitments too. It can be helpful to ask, “Is this the highest and best use of my time?”
Have a soul care friend. Each of us needs a friend in our life that can help us remember to take time for ourselves and have soul care. It might be someone in your small group, a ministry leader or friend at church. Check in on each other and ask how you are doing. Pray together. If you notice that your friend is headed towards exhaustion, challenge them to step back and take a day of rest. You can even take a day of rest around the same time and then talk about your experience together.