Rest

Do you ever have a day when you have a lot to do? You have to go to this appointment, this class, that meeting, that dinner, that event… You have a full plate. Your schedule is packed with items that you have to accomplish. You feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. Sound familiar?

“Busy.” That is my most common response to people who ask me how things are going. I am not saying this to seem important, but it is the answer. I am busy with work. I am busy with ministry. I am busy with school. I am busy writing for the blog. I am always busy with something.

Why is that? Why do we choose to say yes to another task, event, meeting, group, team, etc.? Why do we allow ourselves to be drowning and over scheduled?  I don’t know about you, but for me, I am addicted to being busy. A part of me is validated by my own busyness. When I have a ton going on, I can justify letting other things slip with the excuse of “I just have so much going on.”

Here is how bad it is… Even when I have completed every task, I still stress myself out just relaxing. I always feel like I need to be doing something productive. I can’t JUST watching Netflix; I need to be doing some blog research, or some sermon prep, or something while I watch Netflix. Otherwise, I am just wasting time. There isn’t enough time in my day for relaxing.

I do not understand rest. Rest is so vital to us, but as Americans, we have a hard time accepting it. We are so obsessed with this need to be busy that we miss rest completely. Rest isn’t something we just need when we’re sick. Rest is something we always need. God modeled this for us at creation by creating for 6 days, and then resting on the 7th day. God actually commanded the nation of Israel to rest in the 10 commandments too:

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.You have six days each week for your ordinary work,10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.

Exodus 20:8-10

See, rest was so important to God that He made sure to include everything. Servants don’t work. People traveling through the city don’t work. Even the animals don’t work. The Sabbath was designed to be a day of rest dedicated to God. A day to worship and praise Him. A day to remember how much He has done. A day to bring honor to Him. A day to rest in His presence.

There are multiple times the Bible refers to rest, and that is because it is important. We need rest. And just incase we see the Sabbath as an old, archaic practice, Jesus made sure to talk about rest too. Jesus said this in Matthew 11:

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

We are addicted to being busy, and that is ultimately going to hurt our relationship with Jesus, not help it. We need to be able to step back from life, and just rest. Along with our busyness, we carry a heavy load of stress, worry, and we are worn out. That’s why Jesus’s invitation is so incredible. He is saying that He will take our feeling of being overwhelmed on His shoulders, and He will allow us to rest.

We usually think that the ways to get closer to God are to pray more, wake up before the sun rises to read your Bible, buy a devotional to go through, volunteer at church, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I agree these are all good and right things, but they are also not the only things. I believe that learning how to rest is equally important. Learning how to lay down your burdens and let Jesus carry them is a vital part of our christian experience. Don’t neglect it to stay busy. Part of following Jesus is taking up your cross, but another part is placing your burdens on Him and resting. There has to be a balance between the two. 

This week, I my challenge to you is to rest. Mark that time down in your calendar for it. For some of us, that is the only way it will happen. I don’t think you need to even necessarily to anything spiritually based in your rest time, but just simply rest. Hang with the family instead of doing some form of work. Set aside the work and do something you actually enjoy. Whatever it is, just rest. It is that simple.

This will not be easy for me. I am writing this on a day that I don’t have much going on, where I could be resting, but I’m not. I am writing, which is hypocritical in a sense. However, I am taking this challenge on as well. I am bad at keeping a calendar that includes rest, but I am going to do it with you this week. It is too important to skip. My prayer is that I allow this time to stir my affections for Jesus, and to grow my faith by trusting Jesus with this command. Jesus has commanded that we rest. Do we trust Him enough to do it, or are we too busy? The choice is yours.

Trust the process. Take your next step. Now is your moment. 

Remain.

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