From the Benefice – A letter from Andrew Bladen A church Lay Elder

We are approaching holiday season again, perhaps a time to go away, or to simply holiday at home, perhaps taking time to go to the beach or simply to go out for walks. Taking time out every now and again is a good thing and we all need a break of some kind.

Now, I wonder when you last had a Mars bar?  No- I haven’t gone off subject, but in thinking about work-life balance – I had a sudden flashback to the old television adverts for Mars – ‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’. This was a fabulous slogan first adopted for the chocolate bar in the 1960s, dropped in 1997 but re-introduced briefly ten years later. The premise of the advert was that eating a Mars bar ‘aided exercise’, which the nutritionalists amongst us might take dispute with, but nevertheless, the original slogan has remained memorable. 

We all need work, rest and play, and getting the balance right is important for our physical and mental health. None of us can go flat out at work without risking ‘burn- out’ and none of us can just rest without losing the ability to move and be productive, and if life was just play I’m not sure what we might achieve in life. But many of us find it difficult to get the balance right.
And what about our spiritual wellbeing? How often do we consider our spiritual needs? I wonder if we are achieving the right balance there, or just ignoring our spiritual needs completely?

Getting the right balance in our lives is important for our overall well-being. Time out or a break of some kind helps to restore that balance.

As a Christian I like the fact that Jesus knew how to find space and time, he often withdrew to ‘just be’, to connect with God and to pray. He knew the importance of getting the balance right and in doing so was better equipped for life and better equipped to be there for others too, helping them to find inner peace and rest. These are some of the words he used to encourage those around him to find that space and that rest too.

Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

(Matthew 11:28-30)

This Summer, why not re-evaluate your ‘work, rest and pray’ balance and see if any adjustments need to be made. Perhaps you might like to pray about it and ask Jesus for the ‘rest’ that he speaks about.

Enjoy the holiday season whatever you plan to do; I hope it’s filled with all that is good and refreshing and some rest too.

Andrew Bladen (Lay Elder)