For Youth Workers Post

R & R

Ciona Rouse

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for December 1–7, 2014.


“My name is Ciona Rouse, and I take naps—regularly. I almost feel as if I am making a confession because we are a culture that’s always on the go, especially during the holiday season. But I love pressing the reset button on the day. I love siesta, downtime, relaxing. Even if I close my eyes, plug my ears, and take deep breaths for five minutes, I feel the power of taking time to rest. It reminds me that everything is possible if I remain calm and focused. I am not in control; I am called to rest in God’s word. We are called to trust, to remain faithful, to be at rest. Our faith is not anxiety-ridden. We are called to live in rest.” —Ciona


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Ciona D. Rouse lives and naps in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a writer and a yogi.






  • Oceans,” by Hillsong United


Invite the group to R&R: Rejoice & Rewind. Ask group members to sit in a circle. Then ask each person to answer these questions:
       What is something from the past week that you want to celebrate?
       What is something for which you wish you could press the rewind button and do over?
If someone has nothing to redo from the week, the second R can also stand for something so good that he or she would like to Repeat it.


Scripture: Hebrews 4:12

       “Indeed, the word of God is living and active.” —Hebrews 4:12a (NRSV)

Choosing a text that includes the words “living and active” for a session about rest may seem like a joke. But if we truly rest—remain, stay, hunker down—in the word of God, then we are called into action. We are called into trusting, giving, and serving. When the word of God is meaningful for our lives, we are working, moving. And anyone who is active and moving needs time for true rest—time to pause, be still, take a break. I don’t know a single marathon runner who doesn’t need a rest day. Football and basketball games have halftimes that let the players rest. Schools have vacations. Even God took a Sabbath. So this text reminds us why Sabbath rest is necessary. Our faith, like the word of God, is alive, vibrant, and active. Therefore, be alive and active in Christ, and be sure to take the necessary rest in order to remain active in the word.

Questions to consider:
       What does it mean to rest in the word of God?
       In what ways is the word of God alive and active in your life?
       How do you feel when you are truly alive and active?
       In order to maintain an active life, we need to eat, drink water, sleep—replenish and restore. Our bodies require rest. Our spirits also require rest. What does rest look like in your life?
       How do you feel after resting?
       What are healthy ways to rest and relax? In what ways can resting and relaxing be unhealthy? And how do you know the difference?


I love yoga and am often asked what my favorite pose is. There are several, but the best is savasana: You lie on your back, flat on the ground, stretched out, with your legs and arms relaxed. My yoga instructor says it’s the perfect position because your heart is open and waiting for God to pour wisdom into it. In this way, I think of savasana as a prayer. Savasana is also a truly restful pose.

Invite group members to lie flat on their backs. Play some light quiet music. Slowly lead them in a simple prayer such as the “Positive Daily Prayer: My Soul Finds Rest in God.” Encourage them to maintain the pose quietly for another two minutes before saying, “Amen.”


  • Consider hosting a sleep retreat. Youth fill their weeks with school, sports, activities, work, camps, events. And then they busy up their weekends as well. Our youth group used to have a weekend sleep retreat where we took the youth to a farm. We scheduled morning and evening devotions and meals. Everything else was simply rest and relaxation. The youth loved it! And recruiting chaperones was easy! J
  • Sleep retreat not possible? Have a rest night at your regular youth gathering. Set up calm activities like quiet card games, a nail station, a movie station, a labyrinth, a prayer station. Have the youth bring sleeping bags, and maybe dim the lights. Even two hours of intentional relaxation could make a difference in their week.

—from devozine In the Habit (November/December 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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