Rest, a divine design created by God Himself, is a heavenly refreshment we need in our daily lives. Often times, we overlook the fact that God rested after He finished creation (Genesis 2:1-3). The truth is we overlook the importance that God Himself rested. God, who never needs anything and is self-sufficient, rested. Let that truth sink into your mind and heart. God rested.
What about you? Do you make time for rest or are you constantly running on all cylinders burning the candle at both ends? Do you make time for rest or does something have to happen to you for you to stop and be still? No one can sustain a busy lifestyle without making time for rest. Sooner or later the body or the calendar will scream, "Give me a break!!!"
When I find myself neglecting the need for rest, there are four questions I ask myself. I want to share them with you today. I pray they encourage you!
"Am I making time to stop, be still and reflect on my heart?"
Rest in the Hebrew means, "cessation from motion." It is physically being still. Everyone needs to take time to reflect on their heart. When I ignore the need to make time to be still and reflect on my heart, I continue in busyness which leads to craziness. If no time is made for reflection, chaos sooner or later will take over my heart and I am no good for anything. I have nothing to give for the LORD to others because I am not taking time for rest. Without a time of reflection and being still the heart becomes restless and continues to spiral out of control. Jesus made time to be still and took time to retreat. Many of us know Jesus rested, but we will do well to refocus our mind to remember how he directed the disciples to rest. "And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat" (Mark 6:31 ESV). I have been in that very place where there hasn't been enough time to eat. It's not a good place to be. If this describes your life at present stop and be still. No one else can make you stop. You have to see the need and make it a priority. Ask yourself, "Am I making time to retreat and reflect upon my heart and life?"
"Am I re-charging myself spiritually?
It's impossible to recharge your heart unless discipline and submission are involved. Discipline keeps rest a continual practice while submission acknowledges Christ as to whom rest is found. Both lay the foundation for having a heart that is recharged. When I am still, the only thing that will re-energize my heart unlike anything else is a healthy serving of the bread of life! No movie, magazine, or secular book will recharge my soul like the Word of God. Feeding on biblical truth sheds light on my life. And rest is something Jesus invites us to accept when we come to Him. He made a promise saying, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Rest is not something Jesus flippantly throws around. He invites us to enter into His rest and gives a promise that if we come to Him, we will find it.
"Am I saying, "no" to things and protecting time for rest?"
It's hard to say it, but it has to be practiced. It's OK to say, "no." If you find yourself saying "yes" to too many things, it becomes easier to accept more things and jam pack your schedule which in turn creates more chaos. The issue for many people who have a difficult time saying "no" to things is something to carefully examine. What is the root cause for you to feel like you have to say "yes?" Do you not want to hurt others feelings? Do you feel like someone will misinterpret your "no" answer and think you don't want to help them or spend time with them? Truth is, we can't do everything for everyone and please everyone. "No" has to be a part of our vocabulary. Saying "no" and being able to resist the temptation to please others instead of pleasing God will lead a person to continue on the crazy spectrum toward chaos and toward a feeling of restlessness. It's OK to say "no."
"Am I taking time to just clear my mind and do nothing?"
Yep. That's what I said, "Do nothing." There are times I take a break from blogging, face book and my cell phone. These are good times of quiet reflection. Too many times when we relax, we go and do something. Sometimes even people need vacations from a vacation!! One thing I am learning and God continues to show me is that it is OK to do nothing. Especially on a Sunday afternoon. Making time with my family and enjoying their company is what I am talking about. Sometimes your brain needs a break from schedules and plans. It needs time to refuel and just relax. I used to think relaxing meant "doing something" besides working. But I have found the best days are the ones where there is no agenda, no plans, and no place to be. These days are the ones that help to refuel me the most. Because I like to write, paint, sing, play the piano, taking time for rest is hard for me. I am a doer. I like to always be doing something, creating something, pondering something. But even taking a break from these things, the things I truly enjoy, can prove to help these hobbies become even greater. It's OK to make time to do nothing.
I find people are either on two sides of the spectrum. But God calls us to be disciplined. To come to Him through submission and let Him give us rest. Where are you on the rest spectrum?
Examine your heart. Be honest about where you are on the rest spectrum and ask God to help you become balanced when it comes to rest. Too far to the left is chaos and too far too the right is rest gone bad-laziness. The heart will benefit from a balanced view on rest and the determination to make it a priority in life.