I think it’s useful, as we head into the final weekend of summer, to be sure we fully appreciate the creative power of rest. It is, of course, the final of the seven creative steps described as the days of Creation in the first chapter of Genesis.
We often think of the seventh day as ‘a day of rest.’ This implies that all the real work of creation happens in the first six stages. The seventh is a chance to chill—to lay back and, perhaps, appreciate what we’ve accomplished.
Not so. Rest is not what happens after our creative work is done—a break between periods of focused effort. It is rather an essential step in that work. It’s the space in which we allow Spirit to take charge.
I’ve had the opportunity to discuss this with many ministers, in terms of preparing and delivering our Sunday messages. The work is essential. I pray, study, think, outline—I create a talk that seems finished to me. And then—very essentially—I relax. Usually I realize as I’m delivering the message that it is not quite—sometimes not even remotely—what I had intended. The work was mine to do. Surrendering to Spirit is my final task. And rest is the essential final step. It’s a surrender to Spirit. That Spirit is, of course, within me—it is me. But I emphatically don’t control it.
What happens on the eighth day, by the way? No one ever says. I think, as one creative process is complete, we simply go back to the first step and start again, becoming more masterful in our work, and more comfortable in our rest.
Spirit will act according to how I’ve accomplished the first six steps of the creative process. It won’t act at all if I’ve not done my work. And it won’t act completely until and unless I’m able to release, rest—and accept.
Today, and through the days of this weekend, I choose to focus on what I’ve accomplished this week, and to totally relax, confident and grateful that my spiritual Being is building on my work, carrying it to heights I can’t even imagine.