By Kerry Rohman
My daughter Ava turned 6 years old this week. The main event of her unicorn themed birthday party was a combination bounce house and water slide. My husband Jake and I played referee to over 20 kids that were bouncing and going down the slide. To manage this we formed lines and allowed only 5-6 eager kids in at a time to help prevent any emergency room visits. Well, I am happy to say that during the three-hour party, there was only one bloody nose and tons of fun. I would definitely not describe the party as “restful”. After the last table was put away, I was more than ready to put my feet up and relax.
If you ask someone “How are you doing?” It’s not uncommon to hear something like “busy, but good.” Rarely do we hear “rested.” Is saying “rested” just an awkward answer or are we as a society having a difficult time finding rest?
I read a Christian book a few years ago about busyness. It was a turning point for me in praying and obeying how the Lord wants me to use my time. This Includes when to come back to a place of rest and refreshment. Many people can say ‘yes’ to where Jesus is calling them to go, but I truly believe there are less individuals who can say ‘no’ to where He is not sending us (which often leaves us more depleted). The book went on to provide a biblical example of Jesus resting with His Father.
In Mark 1:21-39, the whole town gathered at the door where Jesus was staying. This looks like a great opportunity for Jesus to share the Love of God and to heal. However, the next day He went to spend time with His Father and then left for another town where the Lord was calling him to go. This is despite the people wanting Him to stay
Nowhere in the Bible does the Lord encourage excessive busyness, but rather there are verses on rest such as Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.” (NASB)
Here is the Message version:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest…” (Matt. 11:28-30, MSG).
I have to confess, I used to think that resting meant being lazy or unproductive, or that I needed to use all my time to sacrifice myself. But, I got stressed and burnt out really easily. I wanted to sleep as soon as I got home and dreaded waking up because of my mile-long “to do” list. “There are not enough hours in the day” to get everything done I thought and I was short-fused to those closest to me. I had a problem, and that dilemma was not getting filled back up, staying in a place of emptiness.
Then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, trusted mentors, and some good resources, I learned how to set healthier boundaries. I learned how to exercise my “no” muscle. And I discovered how to rest in the Lord’s presence in many different ways according to His leading.
I even started finding rest in everyday activities, as long as they were not out of balance of the Lord’s will. In doing so, I experienced a peace and connection to God and others that I had never experienced before.
God does encourage working hard, so I am not advocating being a couch potato every day, all day. But there is a difference between working hard at what you’ve been called to do vs. a restless busy lifestyle. Just as the kids at Ava’s birthday party sometimes were bouncing, and sometimes had to “rest” in line, I am continually learning how to balance out life and rest.
My prayer for you and myself is that we run after intimacy with Jesus, tuning down noises/distractions in our own lives to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. Just as in Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus was asleep during a storm, we can be in a place of peace no matter what is going on around us. That we soak in the presence of God, and go to Jesus frequently to find rest and tranquility.
Psalm 46:10 BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD