‘Rest coaching’ is not something I expected to acquire from my study in Pioneer Mission at CMS, but it has proved highly valuable and thought-provoking. It started as a one-off teaching day and has led to a small group of us meeting with Christian ‘Rest Coach’, Kerry, for some ongoing sessions. It makes so much sense but not many of us are very good at it, especially, perhaps, when it comes to working in Christian ministry. We seem to place high value on being busy all the time, as if this is a mark of successful productivity. I think we need to be counter-cultural in this way. Sabbath is part of God’s intended rhythm for us, not just an optional extra. I include a photo below of our garage chapel at 8SC (the house we run in Shrewsbury), which provides a place of rest and peace for the community:
As part of this coaching, we have been encouraged to consider how depleted or rested we feel in five areas of our life: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. We then explore the different types of rest that might be required to replenish us in these areas. I had never considered what ‘type’ of rest I might need at a given time. It has been helpful to be reminded of my need for rest in order to function well and not be operating from a place of exhaustion which is of no help to anyone and, in fact, leads to lower productivity overall.
In mine and Alex’s work with the guys at 8SC, the inevitable ups and downs can be draining emotionally at times. I have been given little ‘rest-bite’ tips to help replenish me in a busy moment such as simply taking ten minutes to wander round the garden with a mug of tea and noticing and admiring what is growing there. Of course, it is also good to plan longer periods of rest as well as these small moments.
I referred to the inevitable ups and downs in the community. To expand a little, some of the highlights since I last wrote include the arrival of two new residents who joined us straight from two different local prisons (Featherstone and Stoke Heath) and are still with us; an amazing and uplifting week at Encounter, a Christian camp especially for those with addictions and life-controlling issues; and hosting visitors at our Wednesday evening community dinner and worship nights including my parents and a local retired couple who have become good friends of the community.
Some of the more challenging moments include evicting one of our original residents due to using drugs for a second time; helping the guys deal with their frustrations and lows; and facing the dilemma last week of whether to evict someone after drinking alcohol. Alex and I found this decision particularly hard given the circumstances. We initially asked him to leave as didn’t feel he was being completely honest and was minimising his actions. However, over the next couple of days and while looking for somewhere safe to refer him on to, we felt promoted by God to invite him to stay after all. He demonstrated a remarkedly changed and humbled attitude, and he is extremely grateful for having been given a chance.
Outside of our work at 8SC and my work with Yellow Ribbon, we are really pleased to have settled at nearby Holy Trinity church, Meole Brace, and are enjoying helping form a new small group with some others from this church. Alex has picked up his passion for cricket again and has been playing for the Shrewsbury second team, and I have been going along to a ladies squash and pizza night which is highly energetic as well as friendly and sociable! Since last writing, we have enjoyed a trip to visit Alex’s Mum on the island of Alderney; a long-awaited family get together with my side of the family; and a very special trip down memory lane to Yeldall Manor’s open day.
- Thanks for a generally stable and positive community of three committed residents
- Prayers for each of them – to stay focussed in their relationship with God and their recovery
- Prayers for a suitable fourth member to fill the last place
- Prayers for continued strength, wisdom and discernment for Alex and me, particularly when faced with difficult decisions
- Thanks for our supportive church community and new small group
Blessings and love,
Rachel and Alex