Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Different Thoughts On Rest

Hey Friend,
It seems to me lately that a lot of Christian bloggers and writers have been writing on the topic of "rest".  It is apparent that in this hustle-bustle, keep busy all the time, immediate gratification world of ours, that people don't know how to get off the merry-go-round. 
Ironically, lately, I have been experiencing the flip side of the coin and have been asking myself, "Is there such a thing as too much rest?"  Just a year and a half ago I had major knee surgery that took me out of the starting lineup for many months.  Unable to do much of anything, God beckoned me to begin this blog.  Okay, score one for the case for "rest is a good thing". 
Now I am out of the saddle again due to foot surgery and I will confess that I had a royal pity party.  I watched the happy people running, biking, walking their dogs from my front door and the tears began to flow.  Why Lord?  Why am I sidelined yet again?  Just when I was getting into a really good exercise routine and was thinking of starting a small group at church and, and, and.
I've lived the hectic busy life.  I remember well the days of leading Bible study while teaching Sunday school and volunteering at school and running to hockey  games and dance team practice, while serving our local MOPS group, and, and, and.  I also remember all too well hitting the wall with exhaustion.  Why do we go at such a pace?
I have a couple notions:  Self worth. Instead of finding our worth in God's view of us, we turn to the world and its accolades for jobs well done in order to find our worth.  Fear.  Fear that if we stop going at break neck speed we will have to be alone with our thoughts (which sometimes aren't pretty) or we might have to be alone with God and He just might want to point out our weaknesses.  Or perhaps fear that others will view us as inadequate if we take time to slow down.  Pride.  I have to laugh that Americans rarely take more than a few days vacation or perhaps a week at a time for rest and relaxation because we think that somehow the world at work, home, etc. will not be able to get along without us.  We also get the notion that no one can do all these things that we do better than we can.  I don't like to admit it, but shear pride kept me going at a lot of the things I was doing.  I was serving myself; I was not serving God.
So back to my forced rest.  I'll admit I'm squirming.  I'd rather be mindlessly running on all cylinders than to take time out for God's plan for me.
So what to do with all this spiritual "whitespace".  Psalm 119: 12-16 has some good answers.
Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Teach, Recount, Rejoice, Meditate, Consider, Delight, Not Neglect
When was the last time you gave yourself time to do all these things...I mean really do them?  I fool myself into thinking a quick ten minute devotional is fuel enough to get me through the day.  I think, truly, in actuality I am neglecting God's word.
I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing(John 15:5)
In order to be Kingdom changers we need to be plugged into the Vine - the life source.  It doesn't say that without Christ we can do 85%, or 50% or 25%.  It says apart from me you can do nothing. 
I am a stubborn learner, so I believe that God often needs to bring me to long periods of rest because He knows that on my own, I will keep going until I hit a wall.
Psalm 23 recounts: He leads me beside still waters.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. 
Why?  Because the prosperity of the Lord's servant brings glory to the Lord.
If we are exhausted all the time, we cannot bring glory to the Lord.
Last of all, I know with all my heart that God is Love!  His desire for rest for us is born out of His great love for us (Boy, I must really be loved lol.)
God brings us to a deliberate place of rest so that we can fully realize that we are loved just as we are.
When we are doing nothing but resting, we cannot earn or strive or prove; we can only just be.  We don't have to "DO" to merit God's love, we just have to rest and "BE".

Christ brings rest for the soul, the mind, the body, our peace, our anxiety, our trouble, our work, our ministry, our life.

Christ says, "Rest in me," over and over again in the Bible. 

And when we rest, we have time to be in relationship with Him.

Oh what love.  Oh what a blessing.  I'm going to try to view this time of rest as a blessing to be with my Lord instead of being a curse.  Will you pray for me that I won't squirm under his prescription for rest?  Will, you take God's invitation to rest as an invitation into a loving relationship with Him?  I pray so.  God sacrificed so much so that we could live in relationship with him.  He invites us to rest...will you take Him up on His invitation?

In His love,


ps.  If you read my blog, please know that I pray for you every morning and every evening.  If you would like specific prayer, please feel free to contact me.  I am honored and humbled to pray for you.