The Rewards of Rest

I usually blog every Tuesday, but today it comes to you on Wednesday. Not because I forgot or because I was busy or under the weather. The delay was intentional. Here’s why…

Every Monday I work 8-14 hours writing, putting the newsletter together, creating graphics, and getting social media together for the week. This Sunday night I realized I was dreading my long Monday. I enjoy the work I’m doing. I love sharing my words and my work. The dread was coming from a need I couldn’t quite articulate, but the answer came with clarity.

Take a rest. A God-ordained rest.

As soon as the notion crept into my heart a bit of peace and joy accompanied it. Rest sounded wonderful! But still, my fleshly inclination toward works threw out a roadblock.

“But how can I take a rest? I just did a podcast talking about the importance of momentum, of consistency.”

“Rest,” the reply came.

“But I’m a builder! I can’t take a rest. I’ll be inconsistent. People will stop reading. All my hard work will be for nothing.”

“Rest. And trust.”

And with those words a measure of faith was given to me: God can accomplish more in my rest than I can accomplish in my doing.

Author Inspired Blog - Heather K. DuffI decided to “unplug” from technology Monday, and instead of working twelve hours, I rested. I set up an auto-responder on my email telling people I would be “out of the office” on Monday. I let my friends know on Facebook that I was unplugging, and to call me if they needed me. I was off social media for the day, off my computer for the day, and I didn’t answer text messages (with the exception of my aunt who texted me from the airport, leaving the country for a couple weeks.)

The night before I unplugged I did a Google search on “unplugging from technology.” A host of articles came up. I read a few. Many talked of the challenges, gave tips, and cited great rewards. I was eager to learn from my own experience, so I woke up Monday morning with a happy expectation.

Unplugging was much easier than anticipated. And much more rewarding, so much so that I plan to “rest” from technology every Monday. This rest isn’t just the absence of Social Media, the demands of the almost 100 emails waiting for me on Tuesday morning, or the pressure of having to keep everything going. Unplugging from the busyness and demands of the world created a space for me to

  • Connect with God
  • Connect with people face to face
  • Connect with God’s creation
  • Be fully present

I’m not saying when we’re busy at work we’re away from God. Hopefully, God is very present in our work as the Author and Inspirer of it. But something happens when we come to God in solitude, away from the crowds.

Jesus withdrew often to commune with God alone. And if Jesus needed that time alone, can we thrive without it?

My interactions with people have been more pleasant since my day of withdrawing to rest. I am gentler, kinder, and able to focus on meeting their needs with a cheerful heart.

Stopping to “smell the roses” acknowledges the Creator. God uses His creation to teach us about Himself and ourselves. One of my favorite Scriptures is Jesus’ instruction to consider the lilies. These flowers of the field blossom with lessons in wisdom. When was the last time you considered the lilies?

And lastly, the gift of being present showed me how fragmented and disconnected all my “connecting” had made me. I don’t have to tell you what a rarity it is these days to find people who are fully present. We are attached to our phones, our email, our news alerts and sports updates. We have been deceived to think we must respond to every ding, ping and ring. In so doing, we have given our lives away.

Monday I left my iPhone in my bedroom for the day. By the end of Monday night I felt as though I had control of my life back. Not in a selfish manner, but in a manner that freed me to serve others in the way God intended. To see an illustration of this, read Jesus’ response to Peter when the crowds came looking for the Healer. People tried to deter Jesus with their overwhelming needs. They will try to deter us too.

Rest seems counterintuitive. To earn, we must work. To accomplish, we must do. But again, God can accomplish more in our rest than we can accomplish in our doing. This kind of rest isn’t thoughtless or lazy. It is purposeful and empowered by faith. It is a rest that trusts. And honestly, apart from trust there can be no rest (because worry is exhausting!).

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I am convinced there is much to learn about rest. Jesus’ call to “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me” is tender and sweet. I feel like I am just beginning this lesson of rest, but already these words bring hope and refreshing.

Consider this your invitation to consider the lilies. What will your rewards be? I’d love to hear about them…use the comments below to share!

How to Nail Your Next Author Interview

Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with someone who killed the dialogue immediately with one word answers? As writers we have to give interviews to promote ourselves and our books, but we’re often guilty of being a conversation killer. We don’t practice being interesting to others.

Are you a conversation killer?

Interviewer: When did you start writing?
Author: “I’ve been writing all my life.”

Where does the interviewer go with that answer? He might say, “Really, tell us about it.” But that statement puts the burden on the author who has already stuck a knife into the conversation. Why not keep the dialogue going by giving more information and interject a little personality as illustrated below?

“I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. When my mom gave me my first box of crayons, instead of coloring with them, I told her I wanted to write a book. I grabbed the red one and started printing in my Big Chief tablet.

The interviewer knows immediately this author has some fun tales and a personality.Author Inspired - Jessica Ferguson: How to Nail Your Next Author Interview

In my experience, a writer can’t give too much information in an interview. Of course, don’t be a chatterbox and monopolize the conversation but don’t clam up either. Every interviewer is looking for a good story—interesting quotes, unusual experiences and something that hasn’t been printed two hundred times before.

“Essential 5: Author Home Base”
by Heather K. Duff

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Author Inspired Podcast

hkd-circleEpisode 5 of Heather’s series Greater Things: 5 Essentials for doing the work you were made for.
Time: Approx. 4 minutes

Listen on my iPad/iPhone

Top 3 Good Intentions

I love making to-do lists. They keep me focused and help me keep track of all the projects I have going. It doesn’t matter how much I get done, at the end of every week there are always a few things left on the list. They keep getting rolled over to the next week. And ignored. I have the best of intentions, but these poor little things remain neglected.

Here are my top 3 Good Intentions

  1. Start walking in the mornings. (Like, farther than the coffee pot…)
  2. Write a blog post for my fiction website. (Maybe putting this here will give me some accountability on this…)
  3. Bathe my dog. (I think he’s glad I keep “forgetting” this one.)

So, there’s my list for the week. That’s what I’ve been procrastinating about.

How about you? What have you been putting off?