This is a hard one. We all dream about being able to rest. It sounds so luxurious. But so many of us think we just don’t have time to rest. “Oh yeah,” we think,” someday I’ll finish this project… the kids will grow up… I’ll get my degree… I’ll retire…”. The list is endless. And someday never comes.
But rest is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
We are created to rest. We NEED to rest. My friend, if God Himself rested after creating the world, who are WE to think we don’t need, or can’t, rest?
If we aren’t resting, we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Without rest, our bodies wear out faster and are more open to sickness. Without rest, our minds become overwhelmed and we become less able to reason and think clearly. Without rest, our souls can’t find peace, we can no longer hear the whispers of love and guidance from our Heavenly Father.
First we have to agree we need rest. Do you? Of course, you do, and you know it!
“But, But, But!!!” I can hear the screams. I was one of those screaming people. OK, full disclosure: I still struggle with it. But it’s worth the effort to work on it!
Please, just stop a few minutes, take a deep breath and consider…
In order to make a change, we need to be intentional, to set a plan. And it needs to be in small, do-able steps. So the first thing necessary to adding rest to our lives is to plan a small amount of time to set aside. Then, guard it like your life depends on it, ’cause it does!
Nobody is asking you to take an entire day, as in a Sabbath. Not yet. Just once a week, plan 30 minutes with no electronics, no disturbances. Lock the bathroom door and take a bubble bath. Lay down when the kids take a nap or do homework. Read the Psalms. Take some deep breaths and relax. Unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding to death, it can wait. REALLY. It CAN wait for 30 minutes. At first, it may seem like you’re gritting your teeth, watching the minutes tick past. That’s fine. Don’t give up.
Think thirty minutes feels like too much? How about 10 minutes for starters? Do what you can!
The Bible says we “labor to enter Rest”. In our busy, do-everything-right-now world, it is surely laborious to carve out time for rest. As we continue the practice, though, we will get better. Did you fall off the bike when you first tried riding it? Yep. It takes practice. Did you play Bach the first time you sat at the piano? Nope. It takes practice.
No one is going to help you do this. Oh, they might SAY they agree you need to rest, but are they going to stand guard while you are sequestered in your prayer closet? Maybe. Maybe not. Don’t let that stop you. YOU are going to have to go to bat for YOU!
And when (I didn’t say “If”) you forget or allow yourself to be sucked into the drama, don’t despair. Call for a Re-Do and try again. Pray! Ask God to help. He is the one who invites us to rest in the first place. Practice until that 30 minutes feels natural. Then add to it.
Rest is an invitation. Rest is a command. Rest is a gift.
There are so many things I planned to say about rest. However, when I sat down to polish this up today, an entirely different path presented itself. Perhaps I’ll write more about Rest later this week. It is definitely the word for these days. In fact, Pastor Dave* spoke on it yesterday. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I opened my planner and realized Rest is the Self-Care Tool for this week!
Now it’s YOUR turn! What small thing are you going to do this week that is a step toward more Rest in your life? How are you going to use your new Rest tool? Please share! I’m sure you have a your own personal interpretation on the subject. Maybe you already take a true Sabbath. Do you? Please tell me/us how you got there. My goal is to take a whole day, a Sabbath-unto-the-Lord- kind of day.
Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for more about Rest a little later this week!
God bless you with Rest!
* Pastor Dave is our pastor: David Newell, River of Life Church, 5508 Munford Road, Raleigh, NC 27612, riverofliferaleigh.com