Archives For Rest

RESEARCH DATA ON HEART ATTACKS

Recently, researchers from University College London compiled data on the relationship between working hours and heart attack risk in over 600,000 workers, as well as similar data on stroke risk in over 500,000 workers. They found that those who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack, and were 33% more likely to suffer a stroke, compared with those who worked 35-40 hours per week.

MY RECENT WAKE-UP CALL

Honestly, when I read those stats it was a wake-up call to me. So much so that I unplugged from technology for the entire week of Thanksgiving. Why?

I’ve been pushing a pace well beyond 55 hours a week on an endless pursuit to search for validation from others and my heavenly Father. It was day four of our getaway, as I was listening to worship music, I stumbled upon a random tire pictured below.

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I immediately heard the words,

“Ricky, my son, you’ve been concentrating so much on your fuel, move, and lift tires that your rest tire is completely flat. In fact… it has a gaping hole in it. Today, I want that to change in your life.”

I sat down on a log beside the water and journaled the two pages below.  My handwriting suffered on this day.  I blame it on the wind.

Rest 1

Rest 2

The Lord has continued to confirm those words in my early morning devotional time. On December 10 I read these words,

“Finally, the earth is at REST and QUIET.” Isaiah 14:7 NLT
“In that wonderful day when the Lord gives his people REST from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains.” Isaiah 14:5 NLT
“Worry weighs a person down.” Proverbs 12:25 NLT

I was reminded that God told his son, Jesus, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” He spoke those words before Jesus did one act of ministry. Let that sink in.

WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT IT?

I love the mantra Rick Warren uses to find his own rest. What is it?

Divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually.

For me practically:

  • I plan on being very intentional during my 52 Sabbath’s this year by escaping away for an extended time with the Lord and getting in nature.
  • I plan on scheduling a monthly retreat day and four quarterly solitude retreats
  • I have already scheduled in my 2016 calendar multiple family vacations and family camping trips

Can I ask you something? Do you feel like you are pleasing the Lord? Do you know what would please him more than anything right now?

Be secure in knowing that you can take your foot off the pedal and rest. It’s OK. Remember, unless he builds the house the labors labor in vain anyway.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FIND REST?

  • if you’re a parent maybe you can tag team with your spouse and escape away for a few hours
  • if you’re an entrepreneur pencil in an entire morning to unplug, go on a nature hike, or take a nap
  • if you’re a pastor take out your calendar and schedule your 2016 vacations
  • if you’re a missionary schedule a block of time to do absolutely nothing and just breathe knowing the Lord is in control of your finances.

Do me a favor huh? Comment on this article to commit to action what you will do to find rest before the end of this week or email me back I’d love to hear about what you do!

I leave you with these lyrics from a song called “My Grace” from the album Future Bright & Free.

“I’ve seen your weakness and I am powerful. I’ve seen your failures and I am merciful. I’ve seen your heaviness and I will give you REST. I’ve seen your loneliness and I am with you. My grace my grace is yours.”E My Grace, Album Future Bright & Free

*Thank you to John Ross M.D. for writing this article that originally woke me up from my slumber and where I got the research.

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A little over two weeks ago I went over my handlebars on my mountain bike…. that I had…. for….. a day!  Rewind a month previously.

I’d been hunting for a Yeti and landed an incredible deal on Craigslist.  I dropped weight to get down to my ideal race weight, just signed up for a Cross Fit class and attended one session, and landed the bike to give me an opportunity to build relationships with some neighbor guys and do a little cross-training.  All that to say my fall season was prime & ready to tackle some fitness goals.  Then it happened.

I was so focused on my clip pedals and adjusting to a shorter stem, hit some hills to quick, lost focused, pushed on the brakes to hard, and went face first into the rocky trail.  Long story short – separated my AC joint in my shoulder and required surgery a few days later.  Why am I sharing this?  Life happens, injuries happen, and you can let it get you down or you can bounce back.  Many people get depressed when an injury happens but instead of focusing on what you can’t do, how about focusing on what you can do.  It’s been a little over two weeks since surgery and I’m feeling great!  Here’s five keys that I firmly believe have helped cause post-surgery recovery to go so well:

1.  PRAYER – bottom line.  The moment the incident happened my boys prayed over me, then Amy, and then others via social networks.  I’ve laid hands on my shoulder almost daily and asked God for strength and to put me back together again just as he created me.  Nothing trumps prayer when it comes to injury!

2.  TOP-NOTCH ORTHOPEDIST – He told me multiple ways he could perform the surgery but went with his past record of over 95% success rate.  Did I mention right before he took me back to put me under I told him directly, “I believe in the power of prayer doc.  I believe God has already begun the healing process.”  His reply?  “I believe in prayer too and I believe God has given me a gift set to help you, let me pray for you now!”

3.  SUPPORTIVE WIFE – For the past couple of weeks Amy has waited on me for every beckoning selfish little need, all the while prepping our boys for first day of school and still taking care of baby squish at 9 months old.  Can you believe she set her own alarm to wake me up in the middle of the night to give me my pain medicine?  She did this full well-knowing that Ainsley could wake up anytime.  Praise God for my partner!

4.  SLING IN PUBLIC – I was told I need to wear my sling for six weeks.  I wore it faithfully for the first week and a half, but now only wear it going out in public so my buddies don’t give me a bear hug and make me whimper.  I believe it has helped take the pressure off, stabilize, and bring rest to my shoulder.  However, I have found that now since I’m letting my arm hang it is causing me to use it for tedious tasks and forcing me to move it causing strength to come back and recovery to speed.  If it was in a sling most of the time I wouldn’t use it, therefore not gaining strength.

5.  POSITIVE ATTITUDE – I got all negativity out the moment it happened.  I remember thinking “Dang this sucks!!”.  I was ticked from all the progress I had been making and plans for the fall.  Then I left it on the trail and got up determined.  I set up a bike trainer in the garage and am spinning, push baby squish around the block for 30 minutes, and have begun core work again.  I’m limiting pain med to once a day now.

I’ll be real I have a few moments when the enemy wants to drag me down and remind me about the setback.  It stinks not to be able to sleep on my side.  It’s not fun to go to the bathroom and be left-handed!  Just keeping it real.

You know what though?  I’m thankful.  I’m thankful that something worse didn’t happen.  I’m thankful this is only temporary.  I’m thankful God is going to use this to allow me to coach others through injury.  I’m thankful for God’s hand on my life.  I’m thankful that this blog post is going to encourage others.  I’m thankful for all of you that have said a prayer for me.  Let’s do this!

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After asking athletes over the past few weeks what they are struggling the most with any guesses?  It’s not the motivation to move, lift, or fuel even though those always need maintenance.  It’s one of the four tires I encourage people to keep aired up so that their vehicle can stay on the road to health…. REST.

I’m not talking about the weekly Sabbath, but sleep kind of rest.  Do you struggle with this?  Do you lack a quality night sleep or have you battled it for years?  Some of us don’t have the luxury of sleeping in like the college days provided, so it’s important to make the most of what your schedule allows so that your body rejuvenated and regains lost energy.

Many factors can cause disruptions in sleep, like stress, illness, or worry; but while we can’t magically make those extenuating factors disappear, there are some simple tips to possibly help.  I’m not an expert like these guys, but on this but I’ll try to help:

1.  Stay on Schedule

Whenever possible go to bed around the same time each night, as well as getting up around the same time so that you can reinforce your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.  How much sleep do you really need?  Here’s a great article on common sleep myths.  Right now I attempt to get my boys tucked in and prayed over around 7:30pm and this leaves me a window with Amy, Ainsley, and time to watch a show or read.  I highly recommend this app to use so you can learn your sleeping patterns and it has awesome alarm music I might add.

2.  Get Into a Routine

Create a cue for your body when it’s time to hit the pillow.  This could involve a warm bath, drink some hot decaffeinated tea, listen to relaxing music, or read a book.  I’ve often heard looking at bright screens such as an I-pad or computer can damper your ability to fall asleep quickly.

3.  Keep Your Bedroom for the Main Thing

I will speedily by-pass what most men were thinking here, by saying limit distractions that prevent a sleep focus.  I’ve not had a T.V. in my room for years to avoid the last part of #2, and eliminate access to face book or emails.   This has been huge in not adding any undue stress or that nagging “need to respond” feeling right before I go to sleep.

4.  Move or Lift

Try and commit to working out in the mornings while you have the energy and the time possibly.  I often sneak in time early before my kids go to school while no one needs me yet.  I don’t recommend getting in a workout 30-minutes before you go to sleep because your adrenaline will still be pumping and you might be too energized to sleep.  Moving your body and lifting weights not only relieves stress, there’s tons of research that it helps you sleep better.  Can I also add the more overweight you are, the harder it is to breath, and chances are you are snoring which will cause you to wake yourself up often.

5.  Fuel in Moderation and Avoid Caffeine Intake

Don’t go to bed either too stuffed or too hungry, as that discomfort can keep you awake. Check caffeine consumption, too, as it is a stimulant that can also contribute to disrupted sleep. Effects of caffeine can last up 8 hours, so stop caffeine intake at least 8 hours before bedtime or longer. Better yet, forgo caffeine altogether until you get your sleep back on track. I have a friend that avoids caffeine after 1pm because it affects him that much.

6.  Set the Mood

Make your bedroom ideal for sleeping: Dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable. Turn the lights off, try some heavier curtains, black-out shades, or an eye-mask to block out light pollution; earplugs, white noise (like a fan or soft, quiet music) to block out distracting sounds — just create a peaceful sleep environment that works best for you.  Amy made our boys eye-masks for nap time that I love to use when I can on days I sleep in.  Here’s a great app to use in case you don’t want to buy a huge fan.

7.  Get a Check-Up

If you try these things and are still struggling to get a good night’s sleep you may want to talk to your doctor.  I’ve mentioned just a few solutions, but chances are if you are dealing with sleeplessness it could be something more serious.  I’m not a fan of pills, but for a brief time to get you the rest you need to get back on track it might be the remedy.  Here’s an interesting article “Do Sleep Aids Really Work?”.  I’m by far an expert on sleep so I follow this guy, this guy, and these guys on twitter.

Have you ever struggled with quality of sleep?  Do you have any other tips you’d like to pass on?  Which one or two of these can you apply in the next couple of nights?

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Amy had just shared the Prodical Son story of the jealous older brother. Camden’s eyes began to tear up as he knew what was coming for Cale. He says these words that shook my core, “Daddy, I don’t want Cale to get spankens. Can you give him three of my marbles?“. As I went to sleep my eyes filled hearing these words,

“Ricky, this is what I wanted for you today. You aren’t in control. You wanted a perfect day. This day wasn’t about what you wanted, but what I wanted for you. More than anything you could have received from your hike, the mountains, the conversations, I wanted your family to have grace. None of you are perfect and “It Happens” and “It” will happen again, but my grace is sufficient. Stop trying to plan your perfect day, and look to the one that is perfect, and what I want to show you.”

Sabbath….. is more than I can describe. It is an adventure, an escape, a day of surprises, it’s a day to stop doing, so He can do. Sabbath is a lesson awaiting to be learned. Sabbath is food for the soul. Sabbath can also be painful, because it can involve a change of plan, pruning, thwarting, and surrendering control.

What can you do to establish Sabbath in your life?  These last three posts aren’t to share with you how I’ve nailed it down, seeking perfection, but to encourage and challenge you to seek REST in your own life.  I’m still trying to figure it out and wish I could say every single week “It Happens”, but it doesn’t and I pay the price.  I’m trying to be intentional about fleeing away for some “Personal Retreat Days”.  I’m trying to figure out how to get sips from the living water and how to encourage Amy to do the same…. not an easy task with three small kids.

So try it yourself.  Pull out your calendar and pick one day a week where you will stop….. doing and just simply be.  I promise it will be worth it.

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The worst explosion in Van Pay history….. in the pants…… of my 5-year old Cale. I will spare the details but for the next 20 minutes perfection was gone…. the hike I had envisioned was gone. Our friends took advantage of this beautiful opportunity to continue down the trail, and we finished cleaning up the poop of the century. We drove back down off the mountain and an hour later I found myself washing our car as I pouted.

Why did we work so hard for this day, this perfect day, when “It” was going to happen and the “then’s” were going to happen? Why was this day thwarted? Why?

I had prepared for it. I had planned for it. I was in control… or was I? Was God teaching us a lesson? Were we being sharpened or pruned? The answer would come later in the evening as our family joined together for our new traditional “Family Church” on Sunday nights. We sang songs, we prayed, we shared scripture, and then the moment came.

We were discussing rewards and consequences with the boys. Camden had seven marbles in his jar that he could exchange for his reward. Cale was negative three marbles and the agreement is that this means spankens. I won’t take the time to go into our philosophy of discipline, but this is what was going to happen. It was breaking my heart. It was also breaking the heart of Camden.