God has such a great sense of humor. Because I have developed such a fast paced lifestyle, my body (so used to running 120 mph every day)... has not learned how to slow down and rest. Because of that I have many nights that I can't turn off my brain from thinking or I am restless and just can't sleep. It was during one of these nights when I couldn't sleep that I decided to get out of bed and quit tossing and find a book to read. Maybe that would help me get sleepy. So I pick up a new book I had purchased but hadn't had time to start reading. The book is "Walking with God" by John Elridge. So I get comfortable on the couch and open the book to a chapter titled "Slowing down to Listen". As I begin to read the chapter, I find it very amusing. In this chapter, John is on summer vacation and he had made many plans for activities to do on vacation and it starts to rain that morning and he is on the porch watching it rain. He is mentally tired and drained from always pushing. Always doing something. He then realized that God sent the rain so he would "stop". Stop to listen and stop to rest. I just start to laugh. Ok, Lord, I get it now.. I am supposed to stop and listen and learn to stop and rest. Doesn't God have such a sense of humor? Here I couldn't sleep, pick up a random book to read and there God speaks His truth into my heart about rest.
So I resolved to get up the next morning and do research on rest. I wanted to know what God had to say about rest. Because as I began to ponder on the word rest, I realized that I really didn't know what God meant by rest and needed to find out how to rest. The next morning I get up and looked up the definition of rest, looked up scriptures pertaining to rest and God began revealing many truths about rest and the importance of rest in our lives.
Here are the truths that God revealed. First, what is the definition of rest?
Rest means refreshing quiet; sleep, inactivity, relief, freedoms especially from anything that wearies, troubles, disturbs,mental or spiritual calm.
As I studied this definition I began to look at these words, and realized my life was full of the opposite of rest. My life was opposite of inactivity but full of busyness and activities. Calmness reflects a sense of peace and the opposite of peace is turmoil. Turmoil is a state of great commotion, confusion, (disquiet). Now that is definitely the opposite of refreshing quiet. Turmoil is also feeling unsettled and stressed. Stress is physical, mental or emotional tension or worry. That seems to be the opposite of finding freedom from anything that troubles or disturbs and finding relief. Wow! My life was totally the opposite of rest. The constant busyness of my life, full of activities to fill my day, left me feeling totally drained, tired, and just worn out. I realized I was missing the best opportunity to find even a moment of just quietness, just a moment to stop and truly give my body, mind and spirit time to be totally quiet.
Because I had allowed the sin of busyness to enter my life, my whole body and mind was so tired I couldn't really enjoy life. I was tired physically and emotionally and was totally drained. Life did not hold any joy or enjoyment. There was no pleasure because there were too many tasks to be done and I was just too tired to enjoy life. How had I allowed that to happen? I didn't even realize it was happening. I just knew I was so dead tired that I dropped to bed from total exhaustion. I had become so good at being busy that I realized I don't know how to rest or relax. God had alot to teach me!!
God in all his goodness always wants to reveal His truth to us so I began to search scriptures about rest and even surfed the web to see if I could find out "how to rest and relax". I found some great information. I was surpised to find so many scriptures relating to rest.
First of all in Exodus 23:12 we find the divine command "Six days do your work but on the seventh day do not work.... so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed." (Isn't it interesting that God even wanted the animals to rest?) Exodus 34:21 " Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest" God knew us so well... this was a command to rest. He created our body and knew we needed a time to rest and be refreshed. There in the scripture God used word "refreshed". Remember the definition of rest was "refreshing quiet". Isn't that so awsome? We even see Jesus giving us examples of rest found in Mark 6: 31,32 " Come with me by yourselves for a quiet place and get some rest". We find in Matthew 8, Jesus was found "sleeping" in the boat during the storm.
What I found on surfing the web regarding rest was interesting for I knew God needed to teach me how to rest. What I learned:
- Rest is not laziness.
- We must learn to build breaks into our lives before we collapse.
- We must take frequent breaks (for example, take 2 to 3 minute break every hour).
- Learn to take yourself offline
- Learn to find a quiet place with no activity and give yourself a mental break every day.
As God began to deal with me about rest, I was convicted about the sabbath day and God's command for us to rest. Therefore I decided to actually rest on Sunday. So this past Sunday, after church and after lunch, I didn't want to lay down for a nap and decided to try to sew on my quilt. My sewing machine just wouldn't work so out of frustration, I decided to try to embroider something for a friend and started my embroidery machine and it would not allow me to copy the design from the computer to the embroidery machine. All of a sudden, I chuckle as I hear the still small voice, "It is the Sabbath, a day of rest" Ok, Lord, I get it.... I need to rest. So I took a nap instead.
Here are a list of books that I found on the web concerning rest that I intend on purchasing and reading. "Sabbath Keeping: find freedom in the rythmns of rest" by Lynne M Baab and "Permission to Nap" by Jill Murphy Long.
The last scripture I will leave you with concerning rest is found in Lev. 23:21 " On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, whereever you live"
May we truly learn how to rest physically, emotionally and spiritually. May we recognize the sin of busyness and that Satan wants to keep us busy so we will not have the quiet times to stop and listen to God speaking to us. He wants us so busy, so that we collapse from total exhaustion and fatigue. But God gives us the opportunity to find rest, peace, calmness, refreshing quiet in order to rejuvenate our physical, emotional and spiritual beings. Thank you God for commanding us to rest so we may be fillled with your Spirit and find refreshment for our souls!!