“Once again Jesus went again to walk alongside the lake. A large crowd came to Him, and He began to teach them.”
Mark 2: 13
N.I.V. The Message Bible
How To Handle Stress: 5 Lessons from the Life of Jesus
Lesson #4: Take time for Recreation
“Recreation” – An activity that refreshes the mind or body. Something that restores one’s strength, vitality and spirit.
“Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick of the devil, which he employs to deceive good souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything.”
St. Vincent de Paul
Priest and Philanthropist
Do I include a time for “recreation” in my daily schedule?
“There is no such thing as a sudden heart-attack. It takes years of preparation.”
Growing up in the desert, with summer heat reaching 120º or greater on occasion, it isn’t difficult to imagine that we tried every way possible to keep cool and often our attempts involved “water.” Whether we went swimming in a pool, creek or lake, relaxing and recreation that involved water sports was at the top of our list.
In fact, my favorite activity as a teenager was to take my grandfather’s boat out to Saguaro Lake and spend the day water skiing. When we arrived, we’d navigate the lake to find a “beach” where we’d unload all our stuff and stake out an “occupied” sign! Then into the boat and out on the water. What fun!! Before we left the lake in the evening, we’d take one slow ride around the glassy smooth lake. It was quiet and calm. And need I add, so peaceful. After a day of exercise and fun in the warm sun and cool water – I always felt refreshed. Whether it was the beauty of nature or the invigorating feeling caused by cool water spraying in your face, a day spent in relaxing recreation always left me feeling re-created.
This may be why we see, in a life filled with the constant needs of ministry, Jesus sought to incorporate time for recreation. Not some frivolous ride at a carnival (not that this can’t be fun!) but recreation which found Him walking on the shores of Galilee. Isn’t it interesting how many times we find Jesus riding in a boat, walking on the beach, or teaching outdoors on a grassy hillside? In a life filled with human demands, Jesus refreshed Himself with nature’s beauty.
This is why Lesson #4 on relieving stress is about including time for recreation in our day. And it doesn’t have to be some regime that leaves you tired as a dog after chasing a speeding car. Following Jesus’ example, walking by a lake, relaxing around a campfire, or eating lunch on a grassy slope – may be inexpensive activities that can “recreate” us.
Several weeks ago, I was very tired and my husband suggested we go for a short drive. He pulled into the parking lot of a local hotel that has a beautiful walking path which follows the flow of Oak Creek. We walked slowly down the path – breathing deeply the creek side smells. Oak and cottonwood trees set the soft tone as the wind whistled through their leaves. A mother duck with six babies floated by, carried by the lazy creek current. White fluffy clouds dotted an azure blue sky. A time for recreation. A slow, peaceful walk – a lesson from the life of Jesus.
Rhythms of Rest and Renewal
“In order to grow towards wholeness,
accepting our brokenness
and gradually becoming more compassionate,
we need the power of the Spirit.
But we are humans
and must also know the ways of our own bodies and beings…
Each one of us must find our own secret rhythm
of how to rest, relax and find re-creation
for each one of our bodies is different.
We need personal space and time…
Each of us must discover our own
We must learn
not just to free ourselves from tension and fatigue…
We must learn
As the mother must learn
in front of the never-ending needs of her children,
how to respect our energy
and relax in all the moments of our day
filled as they may be with arduous work
or often tiresome meetings,
and crises of all sorts,
and the hundred and one things that have to be done.
To do this we must discover how to harmonize
the active and the passive in us.
If we are just doers,
feeling terribly responsible and serious,
we will crack up one day.
We must nourish the passive part of us,
our hearts made for a personal love,
learning to listen to others,
to marvel at nature,
to rest a moment in the presence of Jesus,
to receive the love of those around us
and be nourished by their trust,
enjoying the little things of each day,
not taking ourselves too seriously,
accepting to become like little children.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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