moving versus resting

moving, resting

Written by Mandy Thompson

She’s just a girl with a guitar. And, in a perfect world, Mandy would spend her days writing songs and soaking up the sun. But, life is life. And, while not perfect, her life is good. She serves as Director of Congregational Services at The Chapel, in Brunswick GA. If you asked her about her position, she’d say her main course involves developing worship experiences, with a side of creative design and social media for dessert. Tasty!

May 15, 2012

moving, resting

Photo by Roj Smith

I’m frozen in time. Actually, frozen on my couch somewhere between working on a series of paintings and climbing on my elliptical.

I was thinking about inertia—that stuff smart people say when they’re explaining that an object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest.

All these Smart People Words started with the fact that I shouldn’t have plopped down on the couch if it was “exercise time.”

Oh, but here I am.

Sitting still.

No longer moving away from the brushes and canvases.

No longer moving towards the swish swish swish of exercise.

I’m distracted by my toys: twitter and DrawSomething and Once Upon A Time (don’t judge me).

I remind myself that I want to be doing something else; I want to give my energy and attention to something more important. This is the moment where I ask myself if I’m giving my spiritual energy and attention to what is most important to me, or am I distracted? It’s easier to look away sometimes. Comfortable. Non-threatening. I don’t break a sweat.

Wasn’t it Rich Mullins who said he wanted to live like “an arrow pointing to heaven?”

And remember what Elizabeth Gilbert said about prayer? “I am not actively praying. I have become a prayer.”

And then didn’t Paul tell us to pray without ceasing?

So how do these acts of reaching towards God work in our lives? Do we move? Do we bow? Do we run towards things? Do we walk away from things?

The spiritual life is one of both action and rest. There are moments for both. There are seasons for both. There are days for both. What’s important is that we know the difference.

We move and keep moving and let inertia carry us when it’s time to move. We exert effort to reach for God. To serve His people. To care for those in need. To flee from sin. It’s easier to pray for 30 minutes if we’ve already prayed for three minutes. It’s the starting that’s the hardest part.

We rest and keep resting and resist the urge to “do” when it’s time to rest. We cease striving in order to declare that God is bigger than us and He’s got it in His hands and we are small and insignificant and our works are nothing compared to His power in our lives. It’s easier to rest for a day when we did it the week before, we know the day is coming, and we have released all those nagging “to-dos” that will taunt us. It’s the stopping that’s the hardest part.

Both of these states are worshipful expressions—mandated expressions. And in both the moving and resting, we are praying. We are pointing to God.

Most of us are naturally prone to one or the other. Rarely do both states come naturally. I’m a natural “rester” as is proven in the introduction of this post. But what about you? Are you a “rester” or a “mover?” And what can you do to incorporate more of the other state (rest or move) in your worship lifestyle?

Me? I’m going to finish this post, whine through my elliptical time, and then sit back down for some spiritual movement via The Artist’s Way.





  1. Jennifer Camp

    Mandy, I am so grateful for this post! I am prone towards moving, rather than resting, and I love your wIsdom regarding being intentional about developIng rhythm for both. Just get started–yes. Thank you!

    • mandythompson

      It’s all a matter of balance, and when we understand that, we are freed up to vacillate between moving and resting. Just get started, Jennifer. You’ll find your groove! 🙂 


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moving versus resting

by Mandy Thompson time to read: 3 min