The Art of Rest
I was someone who was always doing something -- running from one activity to the next, from one meeting to the others, feeling proud of all I had accomplished in a day. I honestly would get annoyed at myself if I was not productive with my day. I was finding identity in what I did and prided myself on being busy. But, I finally got honest with myself and realized I cannot do it all. Each of us has to accept this.
As I was trying to run, the Lord was telling me to rest. Practically though, what does true rest looks like? I tried not to do as many things, but then I would find myself doing pointless things like watching Netflix or spending hours on social media. Maybe I was physically resting, but I was not resting as the Lord intended me to.
"It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep." -Psalm 127:2
One Friday the Lord told me to take time by myself to just read. So I found a random tearoom and took myself on a little date. I was reading the book Chasing God by Angie Smith, and it was talking about how we just need to sit with the Lord -- to stop trying to find God but sit with Him instead. As simple as that is, it finally clicked. I was able to rest in who He was. I did not even need to rest in His presence to feel restored because some days we just do not feel Him. But I was able to rest in who He is and who He says I am.
Through this the Lord told me I needed to have a Sabbath day every week to reestablish who I am and who He is. So every Friday of the last semester I would not do anything that was work for me. That even included hanging out with people who were draining to my spirit or doing homework. Some days I would read for hours, study the Bible or go play in the park - away from the crowds, empty entertainments, electronics, and the pressures of this world.
"And He [Jesus] said to them, 'Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.' For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat." -Mark 6:31
The Old Testament talks about keeping the Sabbath holy and says to rest on the Sabbath. In Deuteronomy 5:15, the reasoning for the day of rest was to reestablish the Israelites need of the Lord. In Hebrews 4 we see that the Sabbath-Rest is for the people of God. It is a blessing and a promise from God. If our God is a God of purpose and order, which I truly know He is, then the act of Him resting on the seventh day after creating the universe was to show us that we too need rest.
Rest restores and reestablishes who is our Provider. It is refreshing and reminds us that we cannot sustain ourselves...that we are dependent on Him. It gives Him room to show us His faithfulness in restoring us. His rest is light and joyful. It is not striving and seeking. We lay down all our thoughts, fears, worries, and ambitions at the foot of the cross knowing He cares.
"For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” -Jeremiah 31:25
In a microwave generation, finding true rest is one of the least popular things. We want to, but we never have time because we do not know the value of the rest we will enter into. But this kind of rest is valuable, and there is reward in being obedient.
So, find a day this week to rest with the Lord. Remember your Sabbath does not actually have to be a Sunday, but a day to stop and be with Him. Study your Bible. Pray. And then pray some more. Read an edifying novel. Take a nap. Meditate on His promises. Write the word. Explore your town. Write or journal. Cook.