Rest for the Weary
It's that state of life that occurs when busyness crowds out wisdom.
I usually don't realize it's happening until my head has had a slight ache for a couple of days, I've forgotten an appointment or two, and my car looks like someone might have been living in it. It's at these times, if I look a little closer, that I usually realize my patience is running thin and my complaints are spilling over. The laundry basket is full, yet my kids' love tanks are empty. The phone has been overused, but the Bible hasn't been touched.
How many days have passed since I've had a sabbath? For a pastor, Sundays don't mean rest. We've tried to make Saturdays mean sabbath. But, how long since we've accomplished it?
I stop to count.
Not last Saturday. That was the day of the wedding and the crush of trying to get everyone dressed and smiling.
Not the one before; that was the week we took the trip to visit my grandma, rushing to get home in time for the birthday party.
And it won't be next week, either. That will be my son's game and the big church event that I've spent weeks preparing for.
And everyday in between filled. All good things. All necessary things. And still all things that leave me dry and spent, with nothing in reserve.
And without a sabbath to replenish, my soul withers and my joy fades.
So, the Lord of the universe knew what He was doing when He commanded me to rest. He knew my weakness, my fragility, and my need.
He created me so that my strengths would only shine to the measure that I depend on Him, making way for the beauty of who He is to rise up out of my flesh.
He made a way for my heart to connect with His through rest--- rest with purpose. For He is a God of purpose.
When I was nineteen, I taught a Sunday School class in a little country church. My class was made up of about five or six little country boys. I made a timeline and started from the beginning, determined to give them an overview of the Old Testament in one semester.
The first week, I taught on creation. Day one, God made light. Day two, God separated the waters. Day three, God made the earth. Day four, God made the sun, moon, and stars. Day five, God made the birds and the sea creatures. Day six, God made the animals and mankind. But, on day seven, God rested.
"And why do you think God did that?" I asked those small boy faces, all looking at me with serious eyes.
There was more than one quiet moment before one little guy ventured, "Well, ma'am, maybe He wanted to give it a day and make sure it all worked."
I admit I laughed before I explained the reason God rested was to teach us how to rest. He knew it would all work, but
He knew the way
would work the way we were designed to work would be to rest, and then to rise again with new purpose
And when I obey, I discover my mind can think clearly again and my creativity can flow again. I often find the solutions to problems I have been mulling over are dropped into my lap after a day of rest, His love-gift to my overworked brain.
And the next day, I have renewed energy to tackle the to-do list, yet I am more in-tune to the needs on my children's faces than before, as if my vision has been cleared from the fog of urgency.
How wise He is, and how loving. Why do I ever fight Him, thinking my way is better? My way that leads to burn-out and emptiness-- it could never measure up to the fulness He offers with a hand out-stretched and a lap ready to receive me.
“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.”
Ways to rest today:
- lie in the hammock without feeling guilty
- turn off the television
- work on the creative project you've been itching to try
- paint, even if you can't
- read your favorite book in the Bible and journal all the reasons you love it
- make your favorite meal and eat it with your family by candlelight
- bubblebath after the kids are in bed with your favorite music tured low
- snuggle with your spouse and tell each other why you love one another
- have a joke-telling contest with your children
- put on a worship album and listen to the whole thing in one sitting
- ask the Lord why you avoid silence and listen for His answer