Our modern world is, by and large, a chaotic and frenetic place. We tend to live life in fast-forward, always moving and never stopping as we live out our days on the proverbial hamster wheel. Many find themselves exhausted, hollowed out by the unrelenting pace and demands of life. There is no stopping. No respite. No reprieve. We are overwhelmed, oversubscribed and burnt out! If we are not working long hours, we are busy consuming; spending our time, energy and money on things that don’t truly satisfy. Add to that the noise of a myriad of voices, all vying for our precious attention: news feeds, social media, Netflix and the endless advertising that comes at us, whether we like it or not. Ours is a noisy world! Peace and quiet seem elusive, and yet, if we still ourselves long enough to listen, we may hear the eternal invitation of our loving God. His words come like water in a barren landscape, or like a feast for the hungry soul. They echo through the millennia, resonating deeply with
our tired souls:
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to
me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join
your life to mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that
I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find rest and
refreshment in me. For all that I require of you will be
pleasant and easy to bear.” (Matthew 11: 28-30 TPT)
God’s plan for man has always included rest. In fact, it seems that, with Him, “rest” is a strong theme woven right through scripture, from Genesis, through the prophetic writings, the Psalms and the epistles of the New Testament, to Revelation. At the dawn of creation, we see God Himself resting, and instructing Adam and Eve to make it a practice too. God has always wanted His
people living rested as He knows our fragile beings and how our intricate design depends on quality rest. Of course, work is very much part of God’s plan for mankind too, and He remains interested in the delicate balance between the two entities in our lives.
So, if living rested is in the heart of God for His people, what does it even look like? Quality rest is way more than leisure, power naps, a day at the spa or an occasional holiday. More accurately, it is an attitude of heart and an expression of faith in Him. Resting well means we de-emphasise our own efforts and look to our God for all that we lack. It is childlike trust rather than self-importance. Rest is a way of life. Where a “secular” rhythm of rest involves flat-out work until it’s vacation time, a “sacred”
rhythm of rest is all about regular periods of rest and replenishment. These regular rest periods should find their way into our diaries on a daily and weekly basis. Larger breaks, such as annual or biannual holidays should also feature. Living this way means that we don’t come to our longer holiday periods on the brink of utter exhaustion. Rather, we have tended to our well-being on a consistent basis, and have enjoyed a beautiful rhythm of regular physical, emotional and spiritual replenishment. We have
built good margin into our lives and our diaries reflect that.
The kind of rest that our loving Father wants us to enjoy is an antidote to performance-orientated living, chaos, emotional/relational fall-out, and to fear as we learn to rest in His perfect and complete love for us. It is a powerful
weapon against the enemy too! Tiredness and exhaustion leave us vulnerable, while living rested keeps us strong.
Isaiah 30:15 says this:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
Perhaps you are feeling the need to change your life and find a new rhythm. Where does one begin?
Start with the daily. Do you know the ebbs and flows of your energy? Why not work with these, rather than against
them? If at all possible, take a “mini-break” when energy may be flagging. Leave the office, or your desk and put
your feet up. Make yourself something good to drink and sip it slowly. Allow your mind to wander or read something
that will inspire you. Take in some sunshine or close your eyes. These tiny pauses yield great results! They are like
reset moments, giving us stamina to carry on with the task at hand.
What about the weekly pattern of work and rest in your life? From the get-go, God’s command was a rhythm of
work for six days, and rest for one. The concept of an entire 24-hour period for rest, reflection, and celebration
was conceived in the mind of God. It was His (genius) idea. Historically, His people have known this as,
“Shabbat”, which simply means, “to stop”. No working, no rushing around, no worrying, but a conscious choice to
rest in Him, reflect on the week that has been (and the one to come) and celebrate His goodness. Setting aside
a day in one’s week for rest may seem out of the question, but if our Maker recommends it for our well-
being, ought we not to take note? This is not some religious hoop that we have to jump through, but is rather
a practice that brings life, and life in abundance! Your Sabbath may look very different to mine. Choose a 24-
hour period that works for you. Intentionally design this time around rest, enjoying things that “fill your tank”
(reading, connecting with friends, taking a walk in nature or trying out a new recipe). Enjoy slow meals with your
people, spend time in prayer, do something to beautify your home, go to bed early, explore a new coffee shop or
visit an art gallery. This weekly pause will invigorate you and set you up wonderfully for the new week.
Lastly, if at all possible, budget time and finance for a decent annual break. You’ll find that if you are disciplined
about the daily and weekly pauses discussed above, you won’t get to this chunk of rest in a state of complete
depletion, but will be able to use it for that deep, holistic re-set that is so necessary at least once a year.
In closing, ponder the words of Charles Spurgeon:
“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh
strength. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the
long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”
By Angela Morgan – Guest Blogger