Love those 3 words, those really are the 3 R’s of life. My church has been focusing on rest lately too, which has been a huge blessing, very affirming and validating.
Rest is hard in the Western world, it is counter intuitive, counter cultural. We are a “go, go, go” people. Achieve, succeed, accomplish. Be productive. Be sure you got texts coming in every 30 seconds, color coded sticky notes everywhere, and you are busy, busy, busy.
Sometimes people are even too busy to go to church.
I have become an absolutely ninja master at the skill of “rest.” I have a multitude of other weaknesses, but the need for rest I fully understand. Rest is not just about getting a good night’s sleep, although that is certainly priceless. The whole world can look totally different after a good night’s sleep.
Also, never underestimate the power of just having a juice box and a nap. We know to do that with toddlers, but sometimes we forget that we ourselves are really nothing more than grown up toddlers. We still need a juice box and a nap. Naps are Divine. When the storm was brewing, Jesus laid down to take a nap. Very wise.
Rest is often more complicated that that however, it is more like resting at His feet. Choosing to be like Mary who chose the better way. Sit at His feet and rest.
Rest in His abiding love. Rest in His grace. Rest in His promises. Rest in the finished work of the cross. Rest in His healing. Rest in His wisdom. Rest in His sovereignty. Rest in His strength. We heal when we are at rest.
To this day the number one way the enemy comes after me is simply by saying, “So what are you going to do about it? How you gonna fix this?” Well, I’m going to just sit here at His feet and rest in the Lord. God’s got this thing. That doesn’t go over very well. The enemy will even try to speak to you through friends, family, acquaintances. Everybody loves to have a color coded flow chart and plan. Anxiety also tends to get extra anxious if you aren’t responding to it with anxiety yourself.
The Disciples get a bit cranky when Jesus takes a nap. Like, hello, we’re all dying here and you’re just…..resting? A little panic would be nice! We tend to equate anxiety, fear, and panic with caring. If you loved me, you’d be freaked out and racing about! I actually care deeply about people, which is why I focus on rest. It’s kind of like being in an emergency room. It wouldn’t be helpful if a doctor just started freaking out, parroting your anxiety, and hollering, OMG! What are we going to do?
So rest isn’t selfish at all. It’s actually a tool that makes you effective for serving others.
I did not become a master of rest because I am smart. I did not even pick up on the significance of rest all through out the Bible, until I had already learned how to rest. What does God do on the 7th day? He rests.
It’s also taken a lot of discipline. LOL, not my own discipline! You may laugh about having a juice box and a nap but that is no joke. I had to learn that the hard way. Resting can feel like having to take a time out, to go stand in the corner. I’ve gotten into trouble with God over and over and over again, until I finally began to catch on. I really was clueless. I could tell He was asking something of me, that He wanted something from me, but it didn’t make any sense, I couldn’t hear it.
I’ve had several incidents that are the result of epic fails to hear God and “rest.” One Christmas I was dashing about, trying to finish one of those endless “too do” lists. I heard the Lord so clearly say, “rest,” but I was like, that doesn’t make any sense! I ain’t go no time for that. No sooner did I have that thought, than I clotheslined myself off the back porch and landed in two perfect holes the dog has dug. There was very little pain, if any at all, but I sure couldn’t walk. Instant rest. Also, instant panic. I mean OMG, everyone is going to die if I’m not the one doing all this stuff…
(OMG, oh my God, is not meant disrespectfully in this context, but it’s a genuine childish wail of complete dependence and distress. I always find it fascinating how our exclamations of anxiety, even our cursing, are really just crying out for God. Nobody ever uses their own name or their neighbor’s. Nobody ever curses Buddha.)
Rest no longer feels like a giant time out. It’s fun, it’s pleasant, I look forward to it. It’s actually the highlight of my life. I spend lots of time reading, writing, praying, talking to God. Sometimes praise and worship is rest, sometimes taking a class or a Bible study is rest, but that can be a sticky wicket. Sometimes those things are really just “work” or “service,” so more like pseudo-rest. You can’t fool God however, He know when you’re actually filling your own cup and when you are just pretending to fill your cup by serving others. Some people, like me, can find serving others restful, and so we can fool ourselves into believing we are actually resting as God wants us to rest. Kind of like that kid who squeezes his eyes shut and pretends he’s sleeping.
Be still and know that I am.
Being still can be very challenging. At least, it is for me. Physically I can sit still for a very long time, but being still emotionally, intellectually, spiritually? Pffttt, not quite so easy. Takes some real discipline.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten several key points, but I just want to get that message out there, that rest is kind of critical, kind of foundational to our faith. You don’t necessarily have to be still physically. Sometimes I like to rest while having a leisurely stroll. Rest is simply about taking the time to let the Lord pour His goodness into you, so you can share the over flow with others.