Last week, I talked about what I think I need to do in order to get the weight of work off my shoulders so it doesn’t cause stress and anxiety to me and, of course, to all around me, since my attitude affects my whole family’s attitude (ever hear that great Southern platitude–“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”). First, I need to commit my plans to God, ask Him for wisdom for what I really need to do and for the ability to do that work. Second, I need to get to work and choose to do that instead of something frivolous. However, the last one I feel God has shown me is somehow harder for me.
The last one is rest.
I do need to finish that work that God has asked me to do, but then stop. I think it’s hard to figure out with God what is needful, but once I’ve done it, I sometimes find it even harder not to go on to other work weighing on me. I’m one of those pendulums, swinging between not wanting to do any work to not wanting to stop doing work. I might be hard to set in motion, but once I get started, this train keeps thundering down the line. Someone’s got to pull hard on those air brakes. I need to rest.
By rest, I don’t mean doing the frivolity I mentioned while I’m supposed to be working, all the while giving that work a ride on my shoulders (an image I am very well familiar with, as I’ve given quite a few lately to my ever-growing-heavier children). I not only need to stop when I’ve finished all that is needed for that day or hour or moment, but then I need to surrender the false guilt of all that other unnecessary-for-now work that I let bother me.
A lot of times this means putting all aside once a day to spend a good chunk of time alone with God, worshiping Him, reading about Him in His Word, and praying to Him. Sometimes rest comes in the form of reading a good book. Other times, this rest looks like what happened tonight: an impromptu 80’s dance party in the kitchen with my kids (and husband, for one song!) instead of doing dishes that would (and did) wait. My body wasn’t as rested after that, but my soul was!
Sometimes God will call us to hard work, during which time we might not have much time to physically rest. However, Jesus promised, “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” (Matt. 11:28-30). This obviously doesn’t mean He won’t give us much work to do. If you think that, then take a look at Paul’s life, a man who followed God’s leading very well and yet led a life full of hard work. I think the key here is “rest for your souls.” I might have had a taste of rest for my soul when I danced with my children, but I have true rest even while I work when I look to Jesus for help and when I trust Him.
I have a lot to learn about rest, and I hope God keeps helping me grow in this area.
I would love if you’d comment below if you would share anything God has taught you about rest in your life. May you and I take up His easy and light yoke today!