These past few days my husband and I have been at a spa. It was a joint treat for our 40th birthdays. This is not the kind of thing either of us usually go in for. We manage to get away just the two of us about once a year but usually we do a city break or similar – something to do. This time however I felt it was important we both had some time out so we looked for somewhere we could go for country walks, hang out and read the paper. What we found was a spa hotel in Wiltshire.

Now we are not the kind of people to loll around in bathrobes being primped and preened for days, but that is basically what we have done and it has been fantastic!

When we left home on Thursday morning it is fair to say that I was asleep by the time we reached the M25 (having only been up for about 3 hours!) We arrived here and on a whim I booked a facial for the afternoon, well you know I am 40 now, better start thinking about those wrinkles… In order to have the facial I had to succumb to the aforementioned bathrobe, oh and don’t forget the nice white towelling slippers. Mmmm, trendy….  Now I have never had a facial but man am I a convert. For an hour I lay cocooned in warmth, with the dulcet sounds of birdsong and gentle guitar riffs wafting over me, while some lovely young thing gently massaged my face and shoulders with creams and potions that smelled divine. Oh my gosh, why oh why have I never done this before? It was sheer bliss and had it not been for the small nap in the car earlier I would undoubtedly have slept through the whole thing.

I came out from this idyll to sit in the ‘relaxation room’ where my husband found me, practically drunk on the atmosphere of calm and serenity, half lying, half draped on a chaise long (I exaggerate only slightly). What is this world? I need more of it that’s for sure!
Meanwhile my husband had discovered his white fluffy robe, the outdoor pool (yes outdoor in March but it was like a bath!) and the sauna.  We had arrived. Rest was upon us. And oh how needed it was.

As Christians we often talk of the importance of rest – after all God rested on the 7th day (Gen 2: 2-3) and set it aside to be holy ‘ And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating he had done’ and yet, we rarely get it! The Seventh day for so many of us is not exactly a holy place of calm and rest. For some it means the round of football matches, rugby training and standing on the touchline in the rain for hours, and of course the early morning rise that goes along with it. Now I do go to church on Sunday of course, but even so it is often not about rest, it’s a work day.  I worship God but I don’t often see it as a restful or holy day.

That’s how it is for so many of us, so when do we rest? It is biblical principal and even if it weren’t I think we’d all agree we need regular breaks, rests or a holiday from all the ‘creating’ we do. Where do you get your rest? How do you get your rest? My husband said  he finds exercise restful, but there is a difference between things that energise us and actually having a rest (both of which we need).

These last few days I have spent hours just sitting. Doing nothing. Not even reading. It’s the kind of thing I would think in advance, oh how dull. And it’s the kind of ting I find hard to do – just sit and do nothing, I can’t even watch the TV without checking my tweets or sorting out the post tray. But no. It’s only when you stop, and I mean truly stop, that you realise exactly how much you needed to.

In this 21st century world, getting real rest is not easy is it? There is always something to do. Even for Christians, actually having a Sabbath, a day of rest, is almost impossible. I know I struggle with balance of work and rest but it has only really been these last few days when I have really stopped that I recognise what rest really is. So here’s to more of it…

Now excuse me while I pop off for a last manicure, darling…

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