When we search the Word of God, often we can focus upon one or two areas only that the Lord is teaching us about and inspiring us in, but forget that the whole of it is important. I am a master at this!
If done unto the Lord….
- Hard work is important…
- Service to others – important.
- Not having idle hands – important.
- Sacrificing our time, money, desires – important.
And guess what else is deemed as important by God?
Jesus lived it…walked it….breathed it. Rest and Jesus go hand in hand.
By the way: I STINK at this! I’m getting better, but I still STINK!
So, I am going to do a series on rest through this blog. You ideas are beyond welcome! I want them!
Today, will be the day I share the big picture the way I see it playing out in my own little life. Then I will narrow things down for the next few posts.
All of my life, I have valued hard work. I mean hard, as in giving it my all when there’s a task before me. The times I have not given my best have usually been when I am either burned out, or I see no value in what lies ahead and choose to give my energy to something that is more important. This has not always been out of good motivations or inentions either. Sometimes I was performing for the wrong reasons. Other times, I really just had the best of intentions and want to give my best to all that I do. Either way, I usually found myself neglecting rest in some form or fashion though.
Yes, an area I have failed utterly and completely in is the area of consistent rest.
“Rest: You are a friend of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Why have I not welcomed you into my life sooner? Why do I greet you in fleeting ways, then dismiss you completely? How can I nurture this relationship and give you the time and attention that you deserve? I feel like I should know you better by now, but clearly I have not been a good friend. I have shunned you, berated you, devalued you, put you aside and pulled you out for a rainy day only, and minimized how very great that you really are.”
Many of us are guilty of this, I’m sure. We hear about it all the time. Life is too busy. We work full time, so where’s the time to get everything else done? I don’t have time for this…yada yada yada.
It’s hard when you are well-intentioned. That’s where the enemy gets us. Even if we can find a block of time to “rest” sometimes our mind is not at rest. So it’s not really rest then, is it?
Here’s part of my own list of sorry excuses. Maybe you would like to see if you relate to any of these?
- I work all day long outside of the home and when I get home, I drain my brain and “rest” it a little, but there’s still quite a bit to get done before I can go to bed. I find myself leaving some things and still feeling pressure to do others. I plan to use my days off to get the bulk of it done, but there’s still only so much you can put off. Or could I, but I am still choosing not to? I think we all know the answer to that one.
- On the weekends, it’s all I can do to get to church (which I want to do), clean the house so it’s in order for the next week, do laundry for the family of five, and run errands. I sneak in pockets of time to play a little game, read part of a book, but it’s always sandwiched in-between all the other stuff. I long for blocks of time to rest versus just squeezing it in. Again, I need to make some choices here – clearly. And I’m being stubborn. Probably sinfully so.
Yes, this is how we “busy” folks tend to do daily life. But God has given me one thing here that He’s helped me to work on – and that’s good.
Here it is: This is part of the key of daily rest – finding the little crevices of time in which we can wedge a little bit more in there.
But that’s till totally fragmented. It’s still not giving my full attention to a block of time in which that is all I do…
“Rest: I hear you moan and cry out for your friend. You have been neglected and you have such wonderful things you wish to share with me. I hear you when you say you appreciate that I check in with you in the little spaces throughout the day. But I hear you too as you share that you wish I could find some time to focus upon you and me – JUST you and me for a while.”
So, I clearly have figured out how to check in with my friend a little here and a little there. That’s more than I could say compared to how I used to be. Wow…I’ve come a long way, baby. NOT.
Does that make me a good friend – the BEST one that I can be? Does that mean I am nurturing that relationship to the fullest, or just keeping it going as much as I can since it has to take a back seat to all the work and toil? Where is my value in life – where’s the majority of my focus and time and effort? Hint: It hasn’t been upon rest.
Here’s what I think: I think both rest and work (all unto the glory of God – not just work for the sake of work) are important to the Lord. BOTH are important. BOTH deserve our attention, love, time, investment.
Obviously, we can’t just step away from our responsibilities. (Or can we?). Maybe some of them. Some stuff needs to be discraded. Some stuff needs to be revamped, or approached differently. But then I find myself spending time revamping and reprioritizing. I spend too much time planning for where to find rest that I don’t rest. Ha ha. It’s a mess! I’m a hot mess. Oh, I’m so happy Jesus gets me. And He loves me anyway.
It is clear that we must do what lies before us and do it with excellence. It should be an honor and a privilege and something we are highly motivated to do if we can bring glory to God through such things. Yes, it’s creative to run the stairs on break at work, step aside to pray or text a friend, take a moment after work to check notes from friends, do some yoga in-between laundry loads, but it’s also important to find blocks of time to concentrate our focus upon our good friend, Rest.
Just to sit. Just to listen. Just to drain the junk and fill it with Jesus and Him alone. This is where the monks in Tibet might have a leg up on all of us. Just sayin’.
Rest from work – all forms of it for a block of time. More often.
Rest Refills – Rest from constant output, and not taking time for input.
Rest from busy – running around – errands – meetings – appointments.
Rest from chores.
Rest from planning.
Rest from schedules.
Rest from only giving and not accepting opportunities for receiving.
Rest. Plain, long, thought out and lingered in Rest.
“Rest: You are calling my name – I hear you clearly. I need to spend time with Jesus and you together. My greatest rest, small or big is found in that. I need more time in the Word that is not fragmented or hit and miss….longer blocks of time in which I can linger there…soak it in. To do this, I sometimes have to sacrifice physical rest….sleep time. I feel in my gut that’s not the way. But I know the answer lies in God’s word and my communion with Him in prayer. You are found there. Jesus is found there. Love is found there.”
Maybe Jesus will enlighten me as to how He did it – stepped away in prayer, recharged, for blocks of time as well as throughout the day. I don’t think we hear much about how much sleep Jesus got, but we sure do hear about how much time He spent in prayer and with His Father. I don’t know if Jesus learned to sacrifice sleep in order to step away from it all and spend time “resting” in the Lord in prayer and devotion….I don’t know.
But I do know one thing: He just DID it. The “how” must be found by just doing it.
I’m doing it wrong, friends. I’m doing it wrong.
It’s hard for us, isn’t it? We need physical rest for our bodies, and I struggle to find even that (enough of it). Something always seems to have to give. But I won’t give up. God’s put this desire firmly in my heart. I just haven’t been a very good girl. Listening without action….not okay.
Here are some of the ways I have found to spend time with my friend, Rest. Also on the list are things I know I want to do and haven’t figured out the “how” of it yet. I’m going to spend even more time in the Word and in prayer and look for Jesus there – He will give me the How.
Rest through Reading the Word of God and praying – typically I take 30 minutes to 1 hour at night before bed to spend uninterrupted time in the Word of God, and intermittently I find time during at least one break during the work day. I feel like it’s not enough for me right now. But I also have hope….God will deliver.
Rest through Connecting with Others – I am recharged when I spend time setting aside a chore to connect with others at the end of my work day – through an email, a chat, or a text. Talking with someone in my family about their day and not rushing the process is always awesome when we can get together and make it happen. And then throughout the day at work, I get little bits of this too. This, has been something that has changed my life…doing more of this.
Rest through Exercise – I used to be GREAT at this. Over the last couple of months I have neglected my friend in this area – not found the time block where I can be consistent. This girl tends to throw up her hands in this area if she can’t be consistent. The pain in my body has also been a wall I have put up here. This time was a block that I could use to rest and recharge while doing it. It also cleared my mind so I could better meet with rest throughout the day. I am struggling to find consistency here now. My friend is screaming at me to bring this back into my day to day for at least an hour. Where will I find the time? I do not yet know. How can I work through the pain? By the grace and mercy of Jesus – He will help me. I know it.
Rest through Service –It sounds funny, but it’s true. When I am able to serve at the church once a week for a season, I find time with rest there. It’s hard work to serve, but at the same time, it’s a way to recharge other areas in life. Stepping away from the chores and focusing upon another group’s needs can revitalize them, as well as ourselves. Giving is receiving.
Rest through Prioritizing Better –What will cause my mind and heart to be more at rest throughout my day? Is it more stressful to get all of the chores done, or leave them and step away? Do I listen to that inner voice telling me which is more important today? Do I think I can simply make my plan for the week and stick with it for the sake of saying that I did, or am I flexible based upon what God has for me TODAY?
Rest through writing, blogging, reading or hobbies –Do I find rest when I blog and share with others? When I don’t, I stop doing it. Is it a way to serve, yet recharge my own heart, my own mind at the same time? Do I listen? Blogging is a way to share with others, commune with God, get the junk out with Jesus, and create community all at the same time. Journaling in general, is proven to offer mental and emotional rest – if done with the right motivation and intention, it can be a way to serve others too. I haven’t made the time to blog as much as before – and my stress level has definitely increased as a result of it.
I look at my list above and all the areas in which I fail or don’t fail, and it always comes down to those two things.
Here’s a thought: If we aren’t spending enough time in the Word, and in prayer, how can we attune our ears and hearts to be able to truly listen? That needs to come first.
“Oh, Rest: I know I have neglected you greatly. Oh Jesus…I have also neglected YOU. You, dear Jesus – You are my rest. I know that when there’s a doubt, I can find you both in the Word and in time of prayer with my Savior. I have been a bad friend. You are so good for me, yet I neglect you both. Oh dear Jesus, dear Rest, thank you for always being there and being ready to meet me through any time. As fickle as I am, you are constant and true. I pray you will help me to match my actions up to my heart in regard to time spent with you. Can you help me?”
Might you share some of your list with me in the comments below? I would love to hear about how you successfully find and make time to rest in Jesus, but also the areas in which you are not doing so.
What stops you from resting?What helps you to make rest a priority? What topics on rest would you like to hear about?
AND, the key question: How do you balance it all? How do you give the attention to work and rest that they both deserve?
Making Jesus number one in the face of it ALL. Is that possible? It must be…with God.
For He tells us so.