Scripture calls us to rest in God, but if I did a poll right now, I have a feeling quite a few of you would tell me you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, frustrated or frazzled; especially especially after the holiday marathon that most of us just ran. Add that in to an already busy life, and you’re likely to feel anything but rested.
I’ve been leaning into this word rest. It’s my Word for 2015, and pushing the pause button couldn’t have come at a better time.
Ceasing of motion or action of any kind, applicable to any body part. Rest from mental exercise; a body is at rest when it ceases from movement, and the mind is at rest when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated. A quiet repose, a state free from motion or disturbance, a state of reconciliation to God.
I’m not sure I really understand how a busy woman, wife, mother and friend can really just cease from all the doing that goes on everyday. Even thinking about it is exhausting.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion. Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Jesus said come. Get away with Me. Watch Me. I’ll teach you how to rest.
Jesus knew our earthly bodies needed more than physical rest, which is why He often forsook sleep and made it a practice to withdraw from the crowds of people that followed Him to spend time alone with God (Luke 5:16).
Meeting with the Father was a priority for the Lord above everything else, and it should be for us as believers, too.
The key to rest is spending time with Jesus. The two go hand in hand.
Of all the things the gospel asks me to remember, rest is the most easily forgotten. Over committed, overloaded, and overwhelmed. That’s how the last leg of 2014 felt to me. Perhaps that’s why God chose rest to be my one word anthem this year. He’s calling me to get rid of the idea that pausing for a moment from doing is merely a pleasant idea, a non-essential, or a luxury that is unaffordable. In fact, according to Scripture, rest isn’t just a good idea; it’s a command from God.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”
Most people I know will tell me that they want to slow down, but they just don’t know how. We’ve created a culture that feels an overwhelming amount of pressure to fill the social calendar with stuff, including overdoing it with commitments at church. We drive fast, eat fast, read fast, serve fast and multi-task fast, and then wonder why we feel burned out at home and in ministry. Perhaps it’s because we’ve lost sight of what’s truly important.
“If you find that Christianity exhausts you, draining you of your energy, then you are practicing religion rather than enjoying a relationship. Jesus said that a relationship with Him would bring rest to your soul. Your walk with the Lord will not make you weary; it will invigorate you, restore your strength, and energize your life.”
How do we escape being under Satan’s yoke (a.k.a. being busy)?
Embrace your relationship with Jesus.
I began this year by saying no to busy and saying yes to God. When I didn’t see white space on my December calendar, I realized I had a problem. It’s like busy had become an expectation in my life; like I was incapable of saying no to anyone other than the people that should get my best yes…God, my husband, and my family.
Oddly enough, when I get busy, I start depriving myself of the things that are good for me, like eating right, getting plenty of sleep, spending quality time with my family, and meeting with the Lord. Is it any wonder I need a refresher course on resting?
Jesus carried the weight of the world on His back (literally) but you and I were never meant to. The only thing that should be overwhelming us is the Spirit of God.
Jesus left us an example, that we should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21). He sought the Father before doing anything else. Even as His life was swirling with people, needs, and opportunities, He made God first each day so He could refresh, refocus, and refuel.
Come to me, and I will give you rest.
These are the words that God longs to whisper into our ragged souls. Won’t you be good to yourself in 2015, and make time to rest in the Lord?