Real Rest

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

When I say that this blog is a way to witness to myself, rest is one of the main subjects. I work in athletics, which means I don't get weekends at home to clean, redo the flower beds, or shop for groceries. Many times an "off day" is just a day that I don't have practice after work. If you're a parent, you have a second full time job when you get home.

I used to eye roll at the thought of rest. I always told myself I didn't have time or it was for lazy people. I never correlated poor rest with how many times a year I got sick, how many fights I started with my husband, and, ironically, how behind I got on my work. After several stints of sickness, drama, and poor performance, thoughts like "maybe this job isn't for me" or "I don't know if I can do this anymore" began to creep in. In my last post, I talked about how life is seasonal, rest must be part of every season.

It wasn't until I realized that rest is a holy practice that should never be ignored. Mark Pettus gave an amazing sermon on rest that I often refer back to. Many people have heard wonderful verses on rest such as

Mark 11.28-30

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

and Psalm 127:2

"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants rest to those he loves."

I know God wants to carry the weight of my problems and if I'm being honest, my prayer time has been spent giving God things that He can help me accomplish because, you know, we're a team. Then, Pastor Mark dropped the hammer...

Hebrews 4:8-11 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

*gulp* I thought for a minute.... God created the earth and rested. If we don't do the same, we are...disobedient? I didn't understand that. What about all the stuff the Bible says about the harvest being plentiful but the workers are few and being the hands and feet of Jesus? Doesn't that mean rise and grind? Seize the day, right? How can working hard be disobedient? Here's what I figured out in the following weeks...

1. I wasn't working hard, I was wearing down. I not only used to pride myself in always being "on," I also judged others who new how to be "off." I fueled my own fire by thinking I was outworking everyone. After about a month of that, I would find myself completely bed ridden with strep, the flu, or a virus, while everyone else sailed by me. Not making time for rest was me living my life without boundaries. I thought rest came during downtime that someone else gave me. I never thought it was something I had to create and protect. God tells us to remember the Sabbath because we are likely to forget it.

2. There is no refocus without rest. How can you refocus your thoughts and efforts without stopping and taking a breath? My first year of being a Director of Operations, I felt like I was drowning the entire time. I never got ahead or even caught up, which made me feel like I could never avoid my phone, set aside time to get organized, or prioritize any tasks because they all seemed urgent. I wish I had known that what I really needed was a meaningful rest. A time to collect my thoughts and refocus on what is important.

3. I become disobedient by filling myself with things instead of God. Less rest means more tasks. More tasks feeds the idea that I need to use my rest time to get more things done. More things equals less time with God. Literally putting the weight of my own life back on my own shoulders. Then, I am crushed under the weight and I come crawling back to God begging for His help, guidance, and mercy. #whyamilikethis

That's where the disobedience comes from--the part of us that thinks achievement is what makes us most like God. We lose our way in effort to do good and we end up burnt out, confused, and thinking about making a life change that we might regret later. All because we are undisciplined in rest.

Rest is a time to reflect, rejoice, relax, and recharge. God's plan is not for us to sprint ourselves to death. A life that never seems to slow down looks more stressful than peaceful. When we are tired we have to learn how to rest instead of quit.

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